Mikel Murfi: how I made The Man In The Woman’s Shoes

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 by Tricycle

Mikel Murfi is returning to the Tricycle in June, following his sell-out success here last year. Mikel will be presenting his new show, I Hear You And Rejoice, as well as additional performances of his 2016 hit The Man In The Woman’s Shoes. We spoke to Mikel, who told us how he created The Man In The Womans Shoes

Mikel Murfi in The Man In The Woman's Shoes, 2016 | Photo: Mark DouetSome time back, I began a journey around my home county of Sligo, in the west of Ireland. I was gathering stories. I was meeting groups of older folk, retirement groups, active age groups, history groups, all with the intention of researching a play with them, something which, later that year, I was to bring back to them. I had been commissioned by my local theatre The Hawk’s Well and the Sligo Arts Office to make a theatre piece for Bealtaine (the Gaelic word for the month of May) — an annual national festival which celebrates creativity in older age groups. And I met with the most wonderful people.

Irish people like two things mainly: talking and tea. So, over that month and copious amounts of tea, we celebrated living and people and stories — shared thoughts on ageing, talked characters and notated vernacular. When my ‘visitations’ were done I went away and wrote The Man In The Woman’s Shoes. Some months later I returned to my new friends and performed the play for them. The process was, I suppose, to give the groups I was working with an opportunity to engage ‘with the actor fella’ and to see their creative input take to the stages or floors of their halls or community centres or in the case of the ‘world premiere’ — in the foyer of St John’s Hospital Sligo.

I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to make a work at home and with people who had no particular interest or background in theatre. I hope that the spirit of these people comes through in the play. I hope I’ve
made something of who they are. It’s nostalgic and purposefully sentimental.

I wanted to reflect back to these groups their own lives – to show them themselves – to celebrate them, to document them and to honour them. They were a delight each and every one of them. And I’m still on the journey, gathering stories and recording folk as I go.


The Man In The Woman’s Shoes will be at the Tricycle for selected dates from 5 June, and I Hear You And Rejoice for all dates from 10 June — 1 July (excluding Sundays). Book your tickets today!

3 Responses for “Mikel Murfi: how I made The Man In The Woman’s Shoes”

  1. Michael Sinnott Says:

    A very sincere thank you to Mikel Murfi for a most enjoyable afternoon spent watching him perform his one man show (The Man in the Woman’s Shoes)

    Outstanding performance from a gifted actor

  2. Marian walsh Says:

    In 2016 the man in the woman’s shoes was wonderful. I got tickets for I hear you and rejoice immediately but had a niggling worry that it couldn’t be as good. It was. Thank you.

  3. Roger Hyams Says:

    My friends and I saw the final matinée of The Man In The Woman’s Shoes yesterday, but sadly missed the evening sequel. It was an instantly-riveting piece of complete theatre. Very funny, of course, and Mikel Murfi’s virtuosity is beyond question, but more importantly this virtuosity is drawn in to the service of a generous and moving poetic about life lived. Wonderful. Thanks. Please come back soon so that we can see the second show!

Leave a Comment