December 8, 2023

No Magic Pill

The latest work by the award-winning writer, Christian O’Reilly, will shed new light on the need for more inclusive theatrical productions across Ireland. No Magic Pill is a ground-breaking new play inspired by the life of Spiddal-born activist Martin Naughton.  As the creator of Sanctuary, The Good Father and Inside I’m Dancing, the scriptwriter has developed this new play to honour his long-time friend and colleague. 

So much more than a social commentary, No Magic Pill is a heartfelt and hilarious tale of one man’s quest for justice and love.  And Galway audiences will be the first to see it. Fortunately for us, No Magic Pill premiers at the Black Box Theatre from Tuesday, September 27th to Friday September 30th, 2022. 

From Friendship to Stage:

Writer Christian O’Reilly worked with Martin as a lobbyist at the Centre for Independent Living. As such, he has a unique insight into the life and character of the man who dedicated his life to changing a disabling society.  Discovering at an early age there is ‘no magic pill’ to cure muscular dystrophy, Martin fought for inclusiveness through humour.  Here, he led the Muscies (people with Muscular Dystrophy) and the Pugs (Poor Unfortunate Gobshites – people with Cerebral Palsy) in the War of Independence for disabled people in Ireland.

Ground-breaking Theatre:

This play is ground-breaking for Irish theatre in its casting of disabled actors. In keeping with this, it is presented with additional accessibility considerations, including significantly increased seating for wheelchair users and their companions, and accommodation for guests with visual and/or hearing impairments. “I worked for Martin Naughton as a lobbyist almost 27 years ago,” explains Christian. “Since then, I have wanted to tell his story. In any history of the Irish disability movement in Ireland, Martin’s name deserves to figure prominently.” 

Celebration of Life:

Christian continues, “Although No Magic Pill is inspired by his life, it has evolved into a stand-alone piece of theatre. My hope is that in this form it will be a greater celebration of his life than a literal, chronological re-telling would have been. In the play, we meet the character of Martin at a crossroads, unsure whether to choose love and escape, or continued commitment to the cause of disability rights. While No Magic Pill is the story of an activist, it is also a love story. Martin is a man at war with the Government, with society, but, above all else, with himself – and at this crisis point in his life, which road will he choose?”

A Call To Action:

For cast member Sorcha Curley, No Magic Pill is a call to action, not just for audiences, but also to writers and producers to develop more inclusive works. It is also a chance to showcase the skills of disabled actors. “As a disabled actor, I hope to pave the way for other actors, producers and directors to create work for and about more diverse people. A lot of my life, I’ve been told, ‘you cannot do that’ and my reply is always ‘watch me’. My hope is that No Magic Pill will be a wakeup call for a lot of people.”.

Cast and Crew

Directed by Raymond Keane

Written by Christian O’Reilly

Performed by Sorcha Curley, Mark Fitzgerald, Peter Kearns, Ferdia MacAonghusa, Julie Sharkey and Paddy Slattery

Dramaturg & Disability Consultant: Peter Kearns

Set Design: Ger Clancy

Lighting Design: Sarah Jane Shiels

Costume Design: Deirdre Dwyer

Music and Sound Design: Trevor Knight

Movement Director: Rachel Parry

Voice Coach: Andrea Ainsworth


Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th September* | 8pm

Post-show Talk: Thursday 29th September

Duration: 80 minutes, no interval

Age Guidance: 12+ (strong language)

Tickets: €20 / €18

Accessibility Note: There will be increased seating for wheelchair users, and their companions, and performances with both audio-description and ISL interpretation will take place on Thurs 29 Sept & Fri 30 Sept. 

Note on Language

“The Social Model of Disability was developed by disabled people. Essentially, this model describes people as being disabled by barriers in society, not by our impairment or difference. If modern life was set up in a way that was accessible for disabled people, then we would not be excluded or restricted. Language is an important part of the Social Model of Disability because language reflects the cultural assumptions and thinking of the society around us.”

Booking: Town Hall Theatre Galway / 091 569 777

Leave a Reply