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Mary J. O'Malley

Mary J. O'Malley

Mary Josephine O'Malley, born on St Joseph's Day, 1941 is English, of Irish-Lithuanian heritage, and brought up in Harrow, Middlesex. Her early experience of theatre as a child was singing and dancing. In the early 1960s she studied drama at the City Lit and joined a group performing plays created through improvisation. In the early 1970s, after marrying and following the birth of her two sons, Mary J wrote three short plays for the fringe theatre: SUPERSCUM; A BENEVOLENT SOCIETY and OH, IF EVER A MAN SUFFERED - in which, at short notice, she took over one of the parts at the Soho Poly and Hampstead theatres. BBC Birmingham commissioned two half hour TV plays: PERCY AND KENNETH and SHALL I SEE YOU NOW? 

In the mid 1970s, The Royal Court Theatre commissioned ONCE A CATHOLIC, which transferred to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre, where it ran for over two years. Before production this play won a Thames Television award and after production, an Evening Standard award, a Plays and Players award, the first Susan Smith Blackburn award and, later in the USA, a Hollywood Dramalogue Critics award. During the same era, Mary J wrote OY VAY MARIA for BBC TV, which won a Pye Television award. About the ONCE A CATHOLIC, Mary says: "An epitaph - to the fifties, to the teachings of Catholicism before the Second Vatican Council and to the Irish living in London as I remember them with affection". It has since been widely produced, including a run at The Tricycle (now The Kiln) in 2013/4, directed by Kathy Burke.

Following an injury which restricted the use of her right arm in the late 1970s, Mary J wrote LOOK OUT HERE COMES TROUBLE for the RSC, a few short articles, a play for radio and a film script of ONCE A CATHOLIC.  In

1984, Mary J wrote ON THE SHELF for ITV. In 1986, TALK OF THE DEVIL was produced at the Bristol Old Vic and Watford Playhouse. This play was the runner up for the Susan Smith Blackburn award. In 1996 Mary J wrote a stage adaptation of OY VAY MARIA for the Oldham Coliseum.

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