Meryl Streep is renowned as one of Hollywood’s legends, but a new role will test her versatility to the limit.
The glamorous multi-Oscar winner is set to portray feisty Northern Irish women’s rights activist Inez McCormack in a new Broadway play.
Although US adaptations of Ulster stories have a chequered history, the Belfast woman has given her backing to Streep’s portrayal of her colourful life.
Inez McCormack became involved in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in the 1960s when she took part in non-violent protests opposing inequality in jobs and housing. She later became involved in the male-dominated trade unions, campaigning for women workers.
Streep will appear as Inez in an ensemble reading of SEVEN, a documentary play developed by Vital Voices Global Partnership — an organisation working to empower women leaders and social entrepreneurs.
Seven award-winning playwrights were commissioned to tell the inspiring stories of Inez and six other women who have worked to bring about change in their home countries.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who co-established Vital Voices, is to introduce the reading, taking place in New York’s Hudson Theatre on March 12. It will begin a three-day Women in the World summit organised by US News website The Daily Beast.
Clinton, who has consistently spoken out on women’s issues, said: “The play powerfully portrays the transformative way that seven courageous women have changed their societies for the better — from peace-building to fighting corruption to combating violence against women.”
Inez told the Belfast Telegraph: “It is very humbling to have your life story represented in this way and a privilege to have an Oscar- winning actress and strong female character like Meryl Streep involved in the dramatisation.”
The other women portrayed in SEVEN are Mukhtar Mai, an education advocate in Pakistan; Annabella De Leon, a campaigner against corruption in Guatemala; Mu Sochua, Nobel Prize-winner for work against sex trafficking in Cambodia; Marina Pisklakova, founder of ANNA, Russia’s first domestic violence support service for women; Farida Azizi, founding member of Afghan Women’s Network and Hafsat Abiola, founder and director of the Kuridat Initiative for Democracy in Nigeria.
Along with the other women, Inez will take to the stage after the reading on March 12 for a discussion. She paid tribute to both the actresses and the playwrights in SEVEN, for their ability to “weave together a story that reads across all our lives”.