Derry’s ‘Dumped Divorcees’ a labour of love for Irene

Local playwright Irene Melaugh pictured at her home in Muff this week reading over the script of 'Whatever You Say, Say Nothing!'
Local playwright Irene Melaugh pictured at her home in Muff this week reading over the script of 'Whatever You Say, Say Nothing!'

One of Derry’s most popular plays, the ‘Dumped Divorcees’ Support Group’, returns to the Millennium Forum in March.

For playwright Irene Melaugh, the show is very much a labour of love. As well as scripting the local comedy classic, Irene also plays a part on stage.

She’s currently busy directing and learning her own lines, but Irene has big news for fans of the play ahead of its return in the spring.

“I think it’s time to let people know that we have a follow up to Dumped Divorcees’ Support Group coming out next year,” says Irene.

“I can confirm that ‘Dumped Divorcees’ Ride Again’ has been written and people will see it on stage in 2018. I wanted to let people know that the story doesn’t end with the first play and that there’s more coming.

“I think March is a good chance for people to familiarise themselves with the characters and to catch up with the storyline.

The Dumped Divorcees’ Ride Again will be a chance to see what happened to those original characters when they left the stage.”

But for this year however, Irene’s Derry characters are back on stage with that first original script.

“We are all looking forward to bringing the play to the Millennium Forum again,” says Irene.

“We have a few new actors and some of the familiar faces from the last time around.”

The plot is equally as intricate as Irene’s previous work ‘Me Da’s Suit’ which toured the country.

Lifelong buddies Maura, Eileen and Rosie are all dumped by their husbands of thirty years for much sleeker models. Distraught, they attempt to cope in any way they can!

Rosie starts knitting Arran sweaters and marking bingo cards six nights a week while Maura takes to partying and the local disco scene.

On one ‘night out’ she discovers she has shoes older than her young dance partner! Meanwhile, the ‘Holy Josephine’ Eileen recites the ‘Seven Day Rollover Novena’ in the hope of getting her better half back.

Desperate for comfort and guidance they start a Support Group for Divorcees – a Derry Support Group.

“It’s safe to say that everyone will recognise someone they know from the characters,” laughs Irene.

“I think that’s why people enjoy it so much. They recognise the people, the places, and that Derry sense of humour.”

For Irene, writing has remained a passion ever since the Dumped Divorcees first made it to the stage in 2003.

“So we’re inviting fans old and new to come along to the show in the Millennium Forum in March to see the play.”

The play opens at the Millennium Forum on Wednesday, March 1 and runs for four consecutive nights with tickets available from the Forum Box Office on 02871 264455.