Agnes Bernelle


Agnes Bernelle, one of Ireland’s best-loved stage performers, was born Agnes Bernauer in Berlin in 1923, the daughter of a renowned Jewish-Hungarian theatre impresario. Inventive and resourceful, Agnes performed impromptu cabaret in Barcelona, befriended cat burglars, summered in Cannes and received the affections of, among others, Claus von Bulow and King Farouk. In 1956 she became the first ‘non-stationary nude’ in London theatre. Her original satirical cabaret, based around the work of Brecht and Weil, became the first solo show at Peter Cook’s Establishment in Soho, and later had a three week run in the West End. In 1963 Agnes and Desmond moved finally to Ireland, where they found themselves facing into a troubled decade.