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Sarah Marie Jones is a Belfast-based actress and playwright. Born into a working-class family, Jones was an actress for several years before turning her hand to writing.
She helped found the Charabanc Theatre Company, an all-women touring group. It was created to help counteract the lack of roles for women, and which produced a series of collaboratively written original works. The group’s first play, Lay Up Your Ends, based on a strike by mill girls in the early part of the 20th Century, was an immediate hit. She remained with Charabanc until 1990 when she left and co-founded the DubbelJoint theatre group in 1991.
She wrote five plays for the Replay Theatre Company, including Under Napoleon’s Nose (1988). The play for which she may be best-known is Stones in His Pockets, a play based on the idea of a Hollywood film company filming a movie in a small Irish village and the resulting impact on that community. This was performed on Broadway to critical acclaim.
She has written a number of stage and television plays, including Tribes (1990), The Hamster Wheel (1991), Fighting the Shadows (1992), Wingnut and the Sprog (1994) and A Night in November (1994). A Night in November, about The Troubles, was performed in London's West End and in New York City off-Broadway. Most recently, she wrote the book for a new musical, The Chosen Room, performed in Belfast in August 2008 by Youth Music Theatre: UK. She then wrote Act 2 of this musical, which was staged again the following year in 2009 at the same venue.
- 2001 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy - 'Stones in His Pockets'
- John Hewitt Award for outstanding contribution to culture, tradition and the arts in Northern Ireland
- 1999 Irish Times/ESB Theatre Award for Best Production
- Awarded the OBE (in 2002)
She is married to Irish actor Ian McElhinney. They live in Belfast.
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