Splintered Soul

Spintered Soul by Judie Chalmers and Angela Newman
November 5th – 9th, 2012

An intimate one woman performance based on the extraordinary life of Dr James Barry, performed by Angela Newman.

“Always tell a thing from the beginning, for it is only in the telling do we truly understand.”

The little-known figure of Dr. James Barry was born in Cork City during the 1790’s and was a close relative of the celebrated Irish painter James Barry.

Dr James Barry was one of the most outstanding doctors of the nineteenth century- a brilliant surgeon, a tireless campaigner for medical reform, and a compassionate Inspector-General of the British Army. But throughout a long and distinguished career an air of secrecy, even of scandal, always clung to Barry. The high pitched voice, the diminutive build, the almost ostentatious humanity, all struck a discordant note in the stiff, conventional world of pre-Victorian England. Only after the doctor’s death in 1865 did the incredible truth come to light: Dr James Barry was a woman.

First presented as part of Culture Night 2012, ‘Splintered Soul’ returns to the Unitarian Church for a week long run, due to demand. Through an intimate stand-out performance the history of this extraordinary woman is slowly disclosed to the audience. Revelatory and emotionally charged, ‘Splintered Soul’ examines questions of gender identity, isolation and how the human psyche struggles to assert and define itself within the confines of perceived social order – questions which are as relevant today as they were within the lifetime of Dr James Barry.


“a generous performance with a no nonsense humility.” – Evening Echo

“Fantastic show! Inspiring performance…” playstosee.com