Legendary playwright Brian Friel will be commemorated at this year’s 2016 MacGill Summer School in Glenties.
To celebrate the playwright’s legacy, two additional days are being added to the MacGill programme to commemorate some of Friel’s best work, and there will be daily readings of his short stories.
The tribute, supported by the Arts Council, will involve the staging of a series of readings, documentaries, talks and performances over the weekend.
They will include readings of Friel’s work by actor Stephen Rea during a visit to the home of the McLoone sisters on Sunday, the inspiration and setting for Dancing at Lughnasa.
Mr Friel died on October 2nd last, aged 86, and was later buried in the town of Glenties which he described as his spiritual home and was the home of his late mother Mary McLoone who worked in the local post office.
The celebration of Friel’s work will also mean a poignant trip down memory lane when three cast members of the original Dancing at Lughnasa production, which went on to wow audiences in Broadway, will do a run-through of memorable scenes from the play.
They are Rosaleen Linehan, Brid Ní Neachtain and Brid Brennan, who won a Tony Award for her role as Agnes.
Director of the Arts Council, Orlaith McBride said Brian Friel was, quite simply, a giant, not only of Irish, but of world theatre.
“Since his international breakthrough with Philadelphia, Here I Come! in 1964, Friel earned himself a deserved place at the top table of world playwrights. Glenties was his spiritual home, the Ballybeg of his plays and imagination.
“He chose Glenties as his final resting place. His mother came from the town and each year he attended the MacGill Summer School. This is the first summer school since his death.
“Brian was an inspiration to Irish playwrights, actors, directors and theatre makers. That is why the Arts Council is supporting this element of the summer school – so that people can engage with his wonderful work in Glenties, a place that inspired so much of his work – his extraordinary words through the short stories and his extraordinary characters through his plays.
“We all still remember that special evening in 1991 when the Abbey Theatres Dancing at Lughnasa was performed in Glenties – the home of the McLoone sisters whom the Mundy sisters were based on. A special evening and for three of those superb actors to come back to Glenties and to remember and recount that event will be a truly special experience.”
The week-long MacGill Summer School, which starts on Saturday will include the annual John Hume Lecture which will be given this year by Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin TD.
The official opening of the 36th Annual MacGill Summer School will take place on Sunday evening by H.E. Jean-Pierre Thébault, Ambassador of France.Tags: