a Boston-Based Irish TheatRE Company

Almost 30 years ago, Donal O’Sullivan and Cathal Stephens performed together at the Arts & Society Bloomsday in Boston. From that first meeting until today, they have been experimenting with performing excerpts from James Joyce, while expanding their repertoire to include other Irish authors and playwrights. Their partnership expanded into a broad collaboration including many actors, directors, musicians, and dancers. Forming HCE represents a significant step in becoming Boston's Irish Theatre Company.


Photograph, David Costa

Cathal Stephens (aka Cahal Stephens), originally from Dublin, has been exploring the literary work of James Joyce and other Irish authors through performance for over thirty years.  He has performed in theatres, at academic conferences, in street theatre and many other venues in North America and Europe.  In about 2008 he began exploring acting and directing more broadly and working with others, including his friend Donal O’Sullivan to create Here Comes Everybody in 2010.  During the 2020 – 2021 pandemic, he led the company in several different on-line performances which were experienced by a worldwide audience.  As well as directing and/or producing most of the company’s shows, he has also devised many of the scripts and performed in many of the productions.  Some of his adaptations of Joyce’s work have been performed by groups in Ireland, including at the Joyce Tower in Sandycove, Co Dublin.

Donal O'Sullivan began acting in 1985 when it offered him the opportunity to lead an invasion of Italy at night while working as a paralegal during the day. (Napoleon in George Bernard Shaw's "Man of Destiny"). 


In June 1994, in response to an invitation form his friend and colleague Cathal Stephens he performed in a Bloomsday production organized by Arts and Society Director John Crelan. Since then he has appeared in a variety of Joycean shows, his parts ranging from that of a youthful Stephen Daedalus to Johnny Cashman, a "brisk old man" from Cork.


He has also performed in other plays, his favorite being Brendan Behan's "The Hostage" in which he spent the entire first act asleep on a couch.


Along with Cathal Stephens and others he was a founder member of Here Comes Everybody  in 2010.


Donal grew up in Ireland at a time when James Joyce was a pariah and an outcast.  He is grateful for the knowledge and insights gained while working in Boston to interpret the man and his works through the invigorating medium of the Theater.

Photograph, David Costa

HCE Visual History.mp4