Staging the novel



The Big Chapel is an award-winning novel by Thomas Kilroy – set in a fictionalised Callan (Kyle) of the 1870’s.

In August 2019, Asylum Productions, in association with the Kilkenny ARts Festival and the people of Callan, supported by the Abbey Theatre staged a theatre production of the novel, adapted by Kilkenny playwright John Morton in collaboration with Donal Gallagher and Medb Lambert in promenade on the streets of Callan in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

What happens when a town takes on the retelling of its own dark history?

Come with us on a promenade adventure into an alternate world of gods and monsters.

A future town, where truth and lies are interchangeable and public opinion is formed by dangerous rhetoric.

A place where the only hope for the future is the voice of a teenager…

This could be my town, or your town…or any town.

Thomas Kilroy’s Booker-nominated novel is a fictionalised retelling of the real events surrounding the notorious ‘Callan Schools’ Affair’.

This radical adaptation saw the people of Callan retelling their own story, using the town of Callan as its stage. Supported by an exceptional team of professional theatre artists, The Big Chapel X was a unique theatrical experience and the culmination of a year-long series of events celebrating the work of one of Ireland’s greatest writers.