Podcast Interview: Actors Barry Ward & Simone Kirby – ‘Jimmy’s Hall’


Ken Loach’s latest film Jimmy’s Hall is set in Leitrim in 1931. 10 years beforehand Jimmy Gralton had built a dance hall on a rural crossroads in an Ireland on the brink of civil war. The Pearse-Connolly Hall was a place where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream . . . but above all, to dance and have fun. As the hall grew in popularity, its socialist and free-spirited reputation brought it to the attention of the church and politicians, who forced Jimmy to flee.

A decade later, at the height of the Depression, Jimmy returns to Leitrim from the US to look after his mother and vows to live the quiet life. But as he reintegrates into the community and sees the poverty and growing cultural oppression around him, the leader and activist within him is stirred. He makes the decision to reopen the hall in the face of the dangers it may bring.

Stephen Totterdell sat down with Barry Ward and Simone Kirby, who star in Ken Loach’s portrait of Irish communist and activist Jimmy Gralton. played by Ward alongside Kirby, who plays Gralton’s former love Oonagh.


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