The Portable Theatre

The Portable Theatre

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Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage





24min 05sec




British Film Institute, Peter McDonald, Terence McDonald

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Peter McDonald

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Meet the McCormick Players and experience one of Ireland’s last travelling theatres before it falls victim to the TV epidemic.

The McCormick Family find themselves in a hinterland as they compete with Bingo, showbands and TV. Thanks to Terence McDonald we can enjoy their variety show, see behind the scenes and hear their stories. Puppetry, melodrama, songs and sketches will keep you entertained between the family’s moving reflections on this vanishing tradition. The film was reportedly pulled from the RTÉ schedule as the Apollo crash put Burt’s song ‘You’ll Never Reach the Moon’ in a new light. 



A Derry teacher by trade, Terence McDonald was an innovative and prolific amateur filmmaker. His remarkable body of work includes sensitive documentaries, dystopian fiction, slapstick comedy and promotional films for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Northern Ireland Resurgence Trust. The Portable Theatre is just one of many gems by Terence McDonald that you can watch on the BFI Player. This material is courtesy of his son Peter Mc Donald.


A Fairview Films production.

Produced and Directed by Terence McDonald. 

Narrator: Gerry Wills

Cast: Colum McCormick, Coral Patterson, Burt Patterson

Music: Tommy McCully

Puppeteer: Harry McCormick

Lighting: Aubrey White

Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage.



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