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Fortune’s Wheel Presented by Irish Arts Center and Irish Film Institute Directed by Joe Lee

  • Tuesday, May 17, 2016
  • 7:00 PM
  • Donaghy Theatre Irish Arts Center 553 West 51st Street New York, NY 10019

Fortune's Wheel

Directed by Joe Lee

Fortune’s Wheel brings to life the remarkable, implausible story of Bill Stephens, an ordinary young Dubliner in the 1950s with an extraordinary ambition: to become an international circus star as a lion tamer.

The documentary tells the love story about Bill and his young, beautiful wife Mai, from East Wall. Their double act, "Jungle Capers, Bill Stephens and Lovely Partner," was a series of death-defying feats with a troupe of lions and dogs designed to thrill audiences in the circus tent and on the theatre stage. With this act they hoped to move to the United States, but things went terribly wrong when, in November 1951, one of their animals escaped. The story gained national and international attention and also set in train a series of events that would lead to tragedy. It is only now – after 60 years of both myth making and silence – that two families and a community have come together to tell the story in full.

76 minutes, Ireland, 2015

Fortune’s Wheel

$12 general / $10 members 

Free for Young Patrons ($125) members and higher

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