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Ruby Murray play back on The Lyric stage

LOOKING BACK: Libby Smyth as Belfast chart-topper, Ruby Murray LOOKING BACK: Libby Smyth as Belfast chart-topper, Ruby Murray
By Ciara Quinn

FOLLOWING its critically acclaimed sell-out run earlier this year, Ruby! about Belfast singing star Ruby Murray will return to Lyric Theatre in February followed by a countrywide tour.
Written by Michael Cameron and starring Libby Smyth as Ruby Murray, Ruby! is an intimate, fact based one woman performance which celebrates Ruby’s life, music, triumphs, as well as exploring the darker side of her story.
Born in Belfast and raised from humble beginnings on the Donegall Road, singing star Ruby Murray went on to become a huge star. Topping the bill at the London Palladium in the 1950s she remains the only artist in history to have five records in the UK top twenty in the same week. However, with major cultural shifts in the sixties coupled with poor management, difficulties in her personal life and an increased dependence on alcohol Ruby’s career was relatively short-lived. She died in 1996 at the age of 61.
Former civil servant turned writer Michael Cameron was inspired to write Ruby! – his debut play – when he saw a painting of Ruby Murray by local artist Christine Trueman at a pop-up gallery in Belfast’s Corn Market. The passing of a mutual friend brought artist and writer in contact, which spurred Michael to research Ruby’s life. The play was developed with access and support from Ruby’s immediate family including her first husband Bernie Burgess, their son Tim Murray as well as creative support from, the late, well-known writer, director and actor Sam McCready.
Looking forward to reviving her role as Ruby, actress Libby Smyth added: “It’s been a privilege for me to bring Ruby’s story to a wider audience and also to meet her family and hear their stories at first hand. I’ve loved seeing the responses of audiences as they hear Ruby’s story unfold. It’s a wonderful part to play as an actress as Ruby’s life story covers a range of emotional episodes, some of which are quite dark and upsetting. I’m very excited to be bringing her back to the stage in 2020.”
Ruby! Will be performed as part of a celebration of the Life of Sam McCready at Lyric Theatre 11 – 16 February. For ticket information visit www.lyricthreatre.co.uk

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