South of the Tyne Irish Drama Group part of the Felling Irish Association


Finnegan’s Wake

New community theatre based on an old Irish song. Followed by a ceili with

The Geordie Shamrocks

Thursday 10th July 2014, Felling Community Centre

Friday 11th July 2014, Holly Hill Sports & Social Club

Finnegan’s Wake

A new piece of community theatre, created by members of the South of Tyne Drama Group, part of the Felling Irish Association and The South of the Tyne Irish Society, tells the story of Tim Finnegan, an unfortunate Irish bricklayer, through song, dance, poetry and music. After an evening at Dirty Nelly’s Tim is late for work. Eventually he makes it to the construction site only to have his day take a turn for the worse as he falls from a ladder. Grief stricken his family and friends gather for Tim’s wake. However all is not what it seems.

Can whiskey and porter raise Tim from the dead?

All for Me Grog

All for me grog me jolly jolly grog,

All for me beer and tobacco,

For all I spent all my tin on the lassie drinking gin,

Far across the western ocean I must wander.

Finnegan’s Wake

Whack fol de da now dance to yer partner,

Around the flor yer trotters shake,

Wasn’t It the truth I told you?

Lots of fun at Finnegan’s Wake.

Cap-a-Pie have been working with the Felling Irish Association to devise, write and perform a new community play – Finnegan’s wake. People of all ages have been exploring their history and heritage and taking inspiration from a traditional Irish song – Finnegan’s wake to create a new performance drawing on their musical, dancing, acting and singing talents.

Created and Performed by

Ambrose Woodhouse

Betty Law

Celia Doyle

Charley Rutland

Dave Sloan

David Cowell

Dominic Rutland

Eilish Lowdon

Gabriel Greeves

George Law


Jake Abbott

James Frater

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Rutland


Maggie Frater

Matthew Rutland

Patrick Lowdon


Rebecca Rutland

Saoirse Glynn

Sheena Greeves

Sian Frater

Simon James

Turns at Ceili performed by

Jenni Pascoe

Nancy Kniveton

Sky Hawkins

Peter Gordon

Harry Gallagher


Brad McCormick: Director

Katy Vanden Hehir: Musical Director

Matthew Jones: Musician

What is a ‘Wake’?

George Law – local historian

In Ireland, the traditional wake is still carried out. Soon after a death, word of mouth will spread te news and neighbours, relations and friends will attend the house as soon as they hear. Neighbours will help in preparing food and tea as well as alcoholic beverages. The corpse will be laid out, normally covered in a white shee and laid on their own bed. The corpse is never left alone, A wake was an occasion that mixed gaiety with sadness. Clocks were stopped and mirrors either removed or turned around. After the corpse had been laid out the women would begin to wail ‘Why did he have to die?’ and other similar comments. Music and singing made the week feel more like a party. Cards were often played – with a hand dealt for the deceased.

Thanks to

This project was kindly supported using the public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Gateshead Council. The team give special thanks to the Felling Irish Association, Peter Mole MBE, Gem Arts, Regional Youth Work Unit, Gateshead Council, Hollyhill Social Club, Felling Community Centre,  Ouseburn Farm for lend of high vis vests, Gateshead Diversity Forum, Windy Nook Methodist Church, Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, Gateshead Heritage Group, NE1 Irish, The Irish World.