Guest Host Stranger Ghost

Three 30-somethings temporarily and cheaply rent a house owned by an elderly woman now living her last months in a nursing home. The house is in limbo, abandoned in a sudden health crisis, never again to be occupied by its owner, but held until their death as dictated by the State, rented out by her children, to be sold posthumously as a condition of the Nursing Home Support Fair Deal Scheme. The lives of its 3 current occupants go on, surrounded by the stuff of this woman’s entire life.

Guest Host Stranger Ghost began as an impulse to tell a story about the transience and impermanence that faces my generation, and an understanding of our current housing crisis as a full spectrum that reaches into the lives of every inhabitant. An urgent story about our culture and environment, it is concerned with the steady loss of social housing, the rapid growth in the need for nursing home places, and a contemporary housing anxiety where the only permanence is transience.

Written by Kate Heffernan. Development made possible by an Arts Council Project Award, and the support of Mermaid Arts Centre and Project Arts Centre

Live at The Montague

The Montague Hotel is a real hotel – was a real hotel. On the far reaches of the rural town I grew up in, on the flat plains of Ireland’s midsection, my parents celebrated their wedding there in 1975. The Montague was the centre of things, where people celebrated everything, all of life and death – christenings to funerals and everything in between. It was a hitching-post on the Country–and–Western touring circuit, filled with the music of outsiders: frontier ballads of exile and emigration, outlaws and open plains, heartbreak, loneliness, loss. Closing its doors in 2000, it reopened in 2008. But not as a hotel. Taken over by the Reception and Integration Agency, it was now a detention centre for asylum seekers.

This weird spiderwebby place. Disjointed narratives trapped like air bubbles between layers of old wallpaper in its ballroom. I am preoccupied with the complexity of culture, society, history – in how story and history is told, recalled, contained – and so am less interested in telling the real stories of this Montague than in taking a sideways glance at it, exploring how a refracted, fictionalised Montague could exist next to the real thing, whose political situation is present and pressing. In a weird confluence of real and unreal, I’ve been searching for this story and a form for its telling.

Written by Kate Heffernan, commissioned by Mermaid Arts Centre. During 2015, I was supported by mentor Tim Crouch through Pan Pan’s International Mentorship and Bursary Programme



In a puddle in the path on the street outside a flat, a man finds a lost doll. Dolly is the story of this encounter and the unlikely friendship which follows. A play for young audiences, age 5+. Development continues.

In the meantime, here’s Louis Armstrong. 

I said hello, Dolly, well, hello, Dolly
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
You’re lookin’ swell, Dolly, I can tell, Dolly
You’re still glowin’ you’re still crowin’
You’re still goin’ strong
I feel the room swayin’
While that ole band keeps on playin’
One of your old favourite songs from way back when
So take her wrap, fellas, f
ind her an empty lap, fellas
Dolly’ll never go away again

Written by Kate Heffernan. In August, 2016 Theatre Lovett and I worked together on Dolly during a week-long development at Rough Magic HQ as part of Theatre Lovett’s Time to Play initiative.