George Shiels (1881-1949) was born near Ballymoney, County Antrim. Shiels emigrated to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1913 he was injured and crippled for life in an accident. He returned to Northern Ireland and set up business with his brother as a shipping agent. His first play - Away from the Moss, was performed by the Ulster Literary Theatre in 1918. Many of his plays, starting with Bedmates in 1921, were performed by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin where he was very popular with Dublin audiences. His plays were also performed at Belfast's Group Theatre. The Collection at the University of Ulster comprises the books, typescripts and correspondence of George Shiels. George Shiels plays are often described as "kitchen dramas". They are very popular with amateur theatre groups. Despite the limited canvas with which Shiels worked it is apparent from his work that he was keen commentator on the changing times in which he lived.
20th century theatre in Ireland.
There are about 350 books, some on Irish history, but mainly of a literary nature. The correspondence covers the period 1909-1957. The typescripts of plays comprises 15 plays, 5 adaptations and some fragments. Included in the collection are photographs, notebooks, pocket diaries, newspaper clippings and theatre programmes.
The books appear on the University of Ulster online library catalogue at - http://www.ulst.ac.uk/library; There are itemised handlists for the typescripts and the correspondence.