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donnelly poster

The Donnelly Re-Trial
June 5 - 29th, 2006
The Old Courthouse
399 Ridout Street North, London, Ontario


"an engrossing, even haunting, theatrical experience"
Noel Gallagher, The London Free Press

"rivetted my attention...superbly performed...authentic"
Ray Fazakas, The Donnelly Album

"stupendous, an event not to be forgotten"
Adrian Shuman, CBC Radio

"entertaining and long overdue"
Peter Edwards, Night Justice: The True Story of the Black Donnellys

"compelling and mesmerizing...a masterful dramatic pleasure!"
Kenneth Chisholm, Theatre in London

What is The Donnelly Trial?

The producer of the hit production The Donnelly Trial is pleased to announce its return to the London stage for the summer of 2006.

Following the savage murders of the Donnelly family in Biddulph Township near Lucan, one man was brought to trial for the crime. The proceedings created interest across North America as it was learned the killings were the product of simmering civil unrest and rampant vigilantism.

Based on trial records and contemporary newspaper accounts, The Donnelly Trial re-creates the tension of the original court proceedings and attempts to determine what happened during the early hours of February 4, 1880. The play is staged in the same room where the original trial took place, the former London and Middlesex Courthouse.

The Donnelly Trial contains the actual words of these participants, carefully researched and edited to create an engrossing, living theatrical experience. At the end of each performance a jury consisting of audience members will reach a verdict of guilty or not guilty, based on the original evidence presented to them.

Sold-out before its first performance, the original production of The Donnelly Trial was hailed by critics and audiences as "engrossing, even haunting" (Noel Gallagher, The London Free Press), "superbly performed" (Ray Fazakas, author of The Donnelly Album) and "compelling and mesmerizing" (Theatre in London). The show was the first play on the Donnellys to ever be presented in Lucan and went on to play before capacity audiences for three weeks in London.

The Donnelly Trial will premier at the old London Middlesex Courthouse at 399 Dundas Street on June 8th and run until June 29th with previews running on June 5th, 6th and 7th. Tickets for both general and jury seating will be available starting in November through the Grand Theatre box office at 519-672-8800 or and range in price from $25 to $55, plus GST.

Like the legend it created, the characters involved in The Donnelly Trial were larger-than-life. They included:

James Carroll, the local constable who had once vowed to run the Donnelly family out of the area even if it cost him his life.

Johnny O'Connor, the 14-year-old boy who witnessed the savage murders and was forced to move out of Lucan to protect his family

William Donnelly, who escaped death and lived to testify at the trial of his family's alleged killers

Prosecutor Aemilius Irving who built a meticulous case against the Biddulph Vigilance Society, an alleged vigilante group which incubated the murder plans

Defense attourney William R. Meredith who attempted to paint the Donnellys as hoodlums who deserved their fate

Click here for ticket information on The Donnelly Trial
Click here for a Donnelly Chronology

Click here for information on the play's characters
Click here to view the photo gallery
Click here for the official Donnelly website
Click here for The Donnellys: Before the Murders - a new play