Allison Gregory

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Burning Bridget Cleary

Burning Bridget Cleary“So you think witch trials ended back in the 1700s? Does Seattle playwright Allison Gregory have a tale for you. ...It concerns one Bridget Cleary, of Ballyvadlea, Ireland. As Gregory's searing new docudrama "Burning Bridget Cleary" details, this feisty lass was 26 in 1895, when she took sick with influenza symptoms. But she didn't heal quickly, and her husband, Michael, fell prey to local superstition.”. - Misha Berson, Seattle Times

“(The play's) greatest strength is its haunting story -- of the fatal storm of fairy lore, Christian fervor, Irish nationalism, and the small-town gossip and resentments that converge on Bridget Cleary and set her on fire.” - The Stranger

Cast & Synopsis

9 Actors (4 Women, 5 Men); 2 Acts; 1 Set (open playing area representing various locales)

Conceived as a language piece, Burning Bridget Cleary is based on events that took place in 1895 Ireland, when the body of a young woman was discovered in a shallow grave near her family’s tenement cottage. What happened to Bridget is debated over in the courtroom, in headlines, and in the private rooms of the people who knew her. Religion, paganism, politics, and family are all suspect in this story thatexplores myth, mystery, jealousy, humor, and loyalty in a small village—and the international repercussions that followed.

Development | Production History

Empty Space Theatre (reading)
Lady Killers Productions (workshop)
Capital Hill Arts Center (premiere, Seattle)


New Play of Distinction 'Footlight Award' (Seattle Times, Misha Berson) Critics Pick, Seattle Times Published by Rain City Press in their Manifesto Series, Volume 2: Vivid Impact

Burning Bridget Cleary received a workshop/reading at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Summer Lab series 2013, Lue Dothit, dramaturg.


The Seattle Times: Theater & arts: "Burning Bridget Cleary
Burn Baby Burn - The Stranger
Seattle News and Events | This Lady Is for Burning

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Featured background photo by Stephanie Busing.
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