The Box

The Box

The premiere performance of The Box took place in the Ulster Museum 5th – 19th June 2016 alongside the #MakingHistory 1916 Creative Centenaries exhibition.

Cast & Crew

Writer: Carlo Gebler
Director: Paula McFetridge
Cast: Gerard Jordan and Abigail McGibbon
Set Designer: Elle Kent

AV Design: Stephen Quinn
Production Manager: James Kennedy
Stage Manager: Elaine Barnes
Producers: Zoe Fox and Dominic Montague

The production was revived in January 2019 when Maria Connolly took over the role of Olive Swanzy. Touring Rosetrvor Presbyterian Hall, Sean Hollywood Arts Centre, Down Arts Centre and Market Place Theatre.

Whilst serving during World War I, Co. Down nurse Olive Swanzy kept sketch books documenting her time and the people she met. Filled with poems, paintings and cartoons, these books lay forgotten for years in a Rostrevor attic.

When they were finally unearthed their secrets were revealed. Within their covers were poems, jokes, comments, cartoons and sketches by wounded soldiers in Olive’s care. Alongside her own beautiful paintings, these books tell a fascinating story of very real people during extraordinary times.

See the below film by Northern Visions which explores the making of the production for more information.

“Love the theme of the impact of war on life, art, love”


This remarkable archive of material lay forgotten for decades in a box in an attic in Rostrevor before it was discovered again. The nurse’s house was sold after her death but it was only when when the new owner was downsizing and selling everything left in the house before going to live abroad that artist Marie Claire Douglas noticed the watercolours for sale, bought the box for £50 and framed the paintings.

Years later, she decided to take a more detailed look at the contents of the box.

“I was staggered by what I read, I was in floods of tears and I realised I would have to do something about this,” said Douglas. – The Irish News