Marie Jones was born in East Belfast and as an actress worked with James Young at the Group Theatre before co-founding Charabanc Theatre Company in 1983.
She co-wrote the company’s first play, Lay Up Your Ends and then produced new work from community research with Charabanc on an annual basis until 1990.
The productions toured to the USA, Russia and Europe as well as UK and Irish tours, receiving acclaim and media coverage of Charabanc as a women’s company from Northern Ireland.
She co-founded DubbelJoint Productions with whom, A Night in November and adaptation, A Government Inspector toured Ireland and to London’s Tricycle Theatre.
Women on the Verge of HRT has won popular success and as A Night in November, has been often revived and produced by managements internationally.
Jones has written for other independent theatre companies and has often been commissioned by BBC NI.
Her best-known work is Stones in His Pockets, which transferred from Belfast to London’s West End and Broadway as well as having been produced internationally.
Jones won Evening Standard Award for Best West End Comedy, an Olivier Award, and Irish Times Award (Best Production) for Stones, while its actors were awarded Tonys (US).
Dr Jones has received Honorary PhDs from the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, Belfast and other awards. She is married to actor/director Ian McElhinney
“As an actress I always wanted to perform in plays, which replicated the people I knew, which, seemed relevant to me and the people around me. A familiar idiom and relevance to culture in Northern Ireland as opposed to that of London or wherever has always been important. I do not think that this is parochial, except in Patrick Kavanagh’s terms which define ‘parochial’ as a positive in knowing and representing the minutiae which differentiates cultures and lives.
My early days with Charabanc were possibly more about ‘penning’ scripts on which we would improvise towards a honing process and even experiment in performance. I learnt a craft from necessity, from our process and with engagement with many wonderful natural storytellers within communities. Then I gained confidence to write my own imaginative communities and characters together with cultures, histories, settings and dilemmas. While ‘The Troubles’ has been a backdrop my focus has always been on the remarkable ingenuity, which allows survival, humour and fulfillment in the midst of injustice and hardship.”
Now You’re Talkin’ 1985
Somewhere Over the Balcony 1988
The Government Inspector 1993
A Night In November 1994
Women On The Verge Of HRT 1995
Stones In His Pockets 1999
The Blind Fiddler 2004
A Very Weird Manor 2005
Rock Doves 2010
Dancing Shoes: The George Best Story 2010
Fly Me To The Moon 2012
Mistletoe and Crime 2014
Anthony Roche, Contemporary Irish Drama from Beckett to McGuinness Pub; Gill & Macmillan Dublin 1995
Imelda Foley, The Girls in the Big Picture: Gender in Contemporary Ulster Theatre Pub; The Blackstaff Press Belfast 2003
Christopher Murray, Twentieth Century Irish Theatre: Mirror Up to a Nation Pub; Manchester University Press 1997
Tom Maguire, Making Theatre in Northern Ireland: Through and Beyond the Troubles Pub; University of Exeter Press 2006
Anna McMullan, Irish Women Playwrights since 1958 in eds. Trevor R. Griffiths and Margaret Llewllyn-Jones, British and Irish Women Dramatists since 1958 Pub; Open University Press 1993