Deevy, Teresa

Teresa Deevy
Teresa Deevy. Image source

Teresa Deevy was born on January 21, 1894 in Waterford.

She was training to be a teacher when she lost her hearing through Méniéres disease, after which, in 1914, she went to London to learn lip reading. It was while in London she that developed an interest in theatre. In 1919 she returned to Waterford, joined Cumann-na-mBan (the women’s auxilliary to the Irish Volunteers), and began writing plays.

Her plays include Reapers (Dublin, The Abbey Theatre, 1930); A Disciple (one-act, The Abbey, 1931); Temporal Powers (The Abbey, 1932); The King of Spain’s Daughter (The Abbey, 1935); Katie Roche (The Abbey, 1936); and The Wild Goose (The Abbey, 1936).

Her play Wife to James Whelan was rejected by the Abbey in 1937, and despite being profoundly deaf from an early age, she thereafter wrote extensively for radio, her work being broadcast on Radio Éireann and BBC Northern Ireland.

In 1939 two of her plays were broadcast on the new BBC Television service.

Her plays are published as Selected Plays of Irish Playwright Teresa Deevy, 1894-1963, ed. Eibhear Walshe (New York, Edwin Mellen Press, 2003).

She was elected to the Irish Academy of Letters in 1954, and having lived for many years in Dublin, returned to her native Waterford where she died in 1963.

Teresa Deevy at Hell’s Kitchen
Teresa Deevy at Irish Playography
Eileen Kearney’s Thesis on Teresa Deevy
Teresa Deevy at The National Library of Ireland