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The Donnellys:
Before the Murders

June 15 - July 9th, 2006
The Lucan Area Heritage Donnelly Museum
192 Frank Street, Lucan Ontario

What is Before the Murders?

The production team which brought you last summer's sold-out hit
The Donnelly Trial is pleased to announce a prequel which will be staged on the family's home turf - Lucan, Ontario - in the summer of 2006.

Before the Murders re-creates the feud that simmered in Biddulph Township for over twenty years before it finally boiled over into the mass murders of five members of the Donnelly family on February 4, 1880. The play will be staged in front of a mock-up of the original Donnelly cabin in Lucan and will re-created the family life of the township's most infamous clan.

Before the Murders marks the first time the complete run of a play about the Donnellys will be presented in the family's home town, a concept that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago.

Based on historical text and quotation, Before the Murders contains the actual words of these participants, carefully researched and edited to create an engrossing, living theatrical experience.

Before the Murders will premier at the Lucan Area Heritage and Donnelly Museum in downtown Lucan on June 15th and run until July 9th, 2006. Tickets for general seating cost $25, plus GST and will be available beginning in February through the Grand Theatre box office at 519-672-8800 or

Like the legend they created, the characters involved in Before the Murders were larger-than-life. They included:

James, the family patriarch who would rather give up his own life than leave the land he called his own in Biddulph Township.

Johannah, his wife, who held her young family together, even when her husband was serving a seven-year prison sentence

Thomas, the youngest and most volitile of the Donnelly boys, who backed up every one of his threats with his fists.

Bridget, the young niece from Tipperary Ireland who was drawn into a web of bloodshed and terror - only because her last name was Donnelly.

Click here for a Donnelly Chronology
Click here for media release on The Donnelly Trial
Click here for the official Donnelly website