Ian McElhinney and Eileen Atkins in There Came A Gypsy Riding
World Premiere

There Came A Gypsy Riding

By Frank McGuinness
Ticket prices: £6 - £29.5
Thu 11 Jan 2007 - Sat 3 Mar 2007

"A magnificent and harrowing play"

The Spectator

"Exquisitely acted"

The Guardian


The Observer

The McKenna family convenes at their remote West Ireland holiday home to mark the 21st birthday of their late son Gene. 


Eccentric cousin Bridget appears along the causeway, inviting herself for birthday cake and conversation, and ready to expose a family secret.  Even Margaret, the unstoppable mother, and Leo, the ever-calm father, can’t hold things together in the face of an unexpected visit from the past.


There Came a Gypsy Riding is written by Frank McGuinness, best known for Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (also directed by Michael Attenborough) and his recent adaptations of Phaedra and Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse. 


Almeida Artistic Director Michael Attenborough’s  critically acclaimed productions include Playing with Fire at the National Theatre, and The Mercy Seat, The Late Henry Moss and Enemies for the Almeida.


 Cast Includes: Eileen Atkins, Elaine Cassidy, Aidan McArdle, Ian McElhinney, Imelda Staunton


Download the production programme as a PDF document

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The Cast
photo of Eileen Atkins

Award-winning actor Eileen Atkins will play Bridget. As well as extensive work for the National Theatre (most recently Honour) and the RSC (including The Unexpected Man, which transferred to Broadway), her London theatre work includes The Birthday Party at the Duchess Theatre, A Delicate Balance at the Haymarket and Vita and Virginia, her own play, which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

photo of Elaine Cassidy

Elaine Cassidy plays Louise. Her theatre work includes the RSC's production of The Crucible, Scenes from the Big Picture at the National Theatre, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Garrick. Her film work includes The Others, Felicia's Journey, Disco Pigs, and The Truth. On television her work includes The Ghost Squad, Fingersmith, Uncle Adolf and The Lost World.

Aidan McArdle

Aidan McArdle plays Simon. His theatre work includes Shadow of a Gunman at the Tricycle, Under The Curse at the Gate Theatre, Great Expectations at the Bristol Old Vic, Shopping and Fucking for Out of Joint, A Prayer for Owen Meaney at the National Theatre and extensive work for the RSC including Richard III and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Picture of Ian McElhinney

Ian McElhinney plays Leo. His extensive theatre work in Ireland includes many performances at The Gate, Dublin, and  The Lyric, Belfast. His London Theatre work includes Pygmies in the Ruins for the Royal Court, Michael Attenborough's production of Amphibians for the RSC and Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme for Hampstead Theatre. His film credits include Closing the Ring, The Front Line, Omagh, The Boxer and The Michael Collins Story.

Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton will play Margaret. Imelda's theatre work includes Life x 3, The Beggar's Opera, A Chorus of Disapproval and Guys and Dolls for the National Theatre, The Wizard of Oz for the RSC and Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre. Her extensive film work includes Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,Vera Drake - for which she received many awards worldwide including and Academy Award nomination - Nanny McPhee,Bright Young Things and Shakespeare In Love.

creative team


Michael Attenborough


Robert Jones


Paul Pyant


Paul Arditti 


"Top-notch performances" **** (4 stars)

Benedict Nightingale, The Times

(19 Jan 2007)

Read this review in full


"Elegantly written, exquisitely acted" **** (4 stars)

Michael Billington, The Guardian

(19 Jan 2007)

Read this review in full


"Eileen Atkins and Imelda Staunton make this evening unmissable" 

Kate Kellaway, Observer

(21 Jan 2007)

Read this review in full


"There Came A Gypy Riding holds one's attention from the first to the last, now as sheer entertainent, now as acute drama" **** (4 stars)

(23 Jan 2007)

Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times


"Imelda Staunton is excellent...Atkins's performance is marvellous"

Paul Taylor, The Independent

(22 Jan 2007)

Read this review in full


**** (4 stars)

Jane Edwardes, Time Out

(24 Jan 2007)

Read this review in full


Press Articles and Interviews

Read Imelda Staunton's interview in The Times 

(15 January 2007)

Read Frank McGuinness's interview in The Metro 

(2 January 2007)

Read Eileen Atkin's interview in The Telegraph 

(6 Jan 2007)

Arts Council England ASP Group