throughly researched, highly entertaining, and ultimately moving one-woman
with the 4th-5th grade curriculum.
Mary Margaret began working in the mills when she was 15 years old, and she speaks directly to children about how her parents immigrated from Ireland and settled in The Acre the Irish section of Lowell. She describes the details of her life in Lowell: the pigs she chases through the streets; the little house her father built using an empty flour barrel for a chimney; the childhood sicknesses she survives; the spelling lessons in the basement of St. Patricks Church; and her mothers work washing floors in the big Yankee houses across the bridge.
Sharon Kennedy, who portrays Mary Margaret, is well-known as a storyteller for children, but this is her first historical piece written especially for 4th- through 8th-graders. It was written in response to many requests over the years for a historical piece suitable for elementary school children, and has been performed for over 400 schools, museums, libraries, bookstores, and historical organizations. Amazingly, adults have fallen in love with Mary Margaret, too. She now performs for ages 8 to 108.
Presented in costume by Sharon Kennedy, mill girl Mary Margaret tells many stories:
her parents immigration from County Cork, Ireland
her fathers job digging the canals
the little house her father built, with a flour barrel for a chimney
her mothers work washing floors in the big Yankee houses
the childhood sicknesses she endures and survives
her own toil as a weaver in the mills
her school years at St. Patricks Church
the day-to-day life of the Irish in The Acre section of Lowell.
Praise for Mary Margaret OConnell: Lowell Mill Girl
The star of Peabodys first Womens History Month celebrations in March, 1992, was Sharon Kennedys Mary Margaret. Audiences young and old were moved and mesmerized they experienced 19th-century Irish-American life. Thank you, Sharon.
Sudi Smoller, co-founder, Cultural Clearinghouse, representing 10 Peabody schools efforts to promote cultural arts and womens history
Tremendous performance. Great acting. Historically on target. Brings an awareness to all of the difficulties faced by new people in our country. As a Irish-American, it brought back many memories of the stories my grandparents told me about their difficulties in a new land.
Jim Coady, Principal, Morse School, Cambridge
Thank you for Mary Margarets visit to the bookstore last Sunday. It was an exceptional performance.
Robert E. Mitchell, Jr., Longfellows Bookstore, Sudbury
A thoroughly enjoyable performance. The kids were enthralled. I think they were disappointed to find out at the end that you were not really Mary Margaret OConnell.
Mary Jane Williams, The Boston Tea Party Company
Mary Margaret OConnell brings history to life. The show is equally educational and entertaining. It was well received by both students and faculty. A brilliant performance!
Alan Jaffe, Principal, La Liberte Jr. High, Raynham, Massachusetts
Mary Margaret is the daughter of Kate OConnell, the title character
in a critically-acclaimed show for adults by Sharon,
originally commissioned by the Lowell Heritage State Park
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