Bealtaine Festival announces Emma O'Grady as the recipient of 2019 Touring Award

Bealtaine Festival announces Emma O'Grady as the recipient of 2019 Touring Award

We are delighted to announce Laois playwright and performer Emma O’Grady as the recipient of the 2019 Bealtaine Festival Touring Award.

Emma will bring her critically-acclaimed theatre show about her grandfather’s secret tape-recordings to 4 venues as part of the Bealtaine Festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age.

What Good is Looking Well When You're Rotten on the Inside? will play at the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny; Áras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet; Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise; and Roscommon Arts Centre in May 2019.

About the Show 

What Good is Looking Well When You're Rotten on the Inside?
By Emma O'Grady

One month before his death, retired civil servant and man of few words Paddy O’Grady had a sudden urge to talk. Using a portable cassette tape recorder, he recorded 15 hours of material: stories about leprechauns, aliens and lonely pharmacists; absurdist political satire; musings on life, love and death; radio shows with advertisements for products that never existed; ballads and poetry; and memories of life as a civil servant.

Paddy’s granddaughter, Emma O’Grady, later discovered he had written plays, poems and short stories in the 1950s and until now his work has been without an audience. This critically-acclaimed show for all ages is an attempt by someone from one generation to understand the previous one and it is especially for anyone who has held themselves back and not allowed their voice to be heard. It examines the fragile personas we present to the world, who we might be behind them and what we could be instead.

What Good is Looking Well When You’re Rotten on the Inside? is about emotional inheritance and grief for wasted creativity and serves as both a tribute and a warning.

The show premiered at Galway Theatre Festival in 2017 and was developed through support from The Arts Council, Galway City Council, Galway Theatre Festival, Laois County Council, Mermaid Arts Centre and Áras Éanna. This tour is co-produced by Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival. The Bealtaine Festival is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and the Health Service Executive.


Written and performed by Emma O'Grady
Sound design: Rob Moloney
Lighting design: Eoin Winning
Costume design: Triona Lillis
Stage manager: Sinéad Cormack/Sadhbh Barrett Coakley
Directed by: Jonathan Gunning, Catherine Ireton, Caroline Lynch, Andy Smith



"Leaves one feeling there is slightly more good in the world than beforehand.” - The Reviews Hub

"...stellar performance..." -

"... beautifully realised... ....a striking piece of theatrical work, which will ensure O’Grady’s well-earned place in the Irish theatre canon. This is a playwright to watch." - The Reviews Hub

"... an intelligent and masterfully crafted piece of theatre that deals with the complexity of emotion, personalities and legacy, but in an accessible and relatable way." - An Áit Eile

“A charming meditation on inheritance” – Irish Times

"...a beguiling memoir..." - Irish Independent

"...compelling, bravura performance" - Galway Advertiser




1. Watergate, Kilkenny Thurs 16th May - 8pm
2. Aras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet Sat 18th May - 8pm
3. Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise Tues 21st May - 12pm and 8pm 
4. Roscommon Arts Centre Weds 22nd May - 8pm

Tickets available from each venue.

Captioned performance on Tuesday 21st May, 8pm at Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise - please let box office know if you require a seat suitable for captioning.

A pre-show Touch Tour and Introductory Programme Notes (large print and audio) will be available for all performances - please let box office know if you would like to book a Touch Tour or receive Programme Notes.

Accessible performances are provided in partnership with Arts & Disability Ireland.