Fifty Key Irish Plays  book cover
1st Edition

Fifty Key Irish Plays

Edited By

Shaun Richards

ISBN 9781032066493
Published August 25, 2022 by Routledge
230 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $36.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Fifty Key Irish Plays charts the progression of modern Irish drama from Dion Boucicault’s entry on to the global stage of the Irish diaspora to the contemporary dramas created by the experiences of the New Irish.

Each chapter provides a brief plot outline along with informed analysis and, alert to the cultural and critical context of each play, an account of the key roles that they played in the developing story of Irish drama. While the core of the collection is based on the critical canon, including work by J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, Teresa Deevy, and Brian Friel, plays such as Tom Mac Intyre’s The Great Hunger and ANU Productions’ Laundry, which illuminate routes away from the mainstream, are also included. With a focus on the development of form as well as theme, the collection guides the reader to an informed overview of Irish theatre via succinct and insightful essays by an international team of academics.

This invaluable collection will be of particular interest to undergraduate students of theatre and performance studies and to lay readers looking to expand their appreciation of Irish drama.

Table of Contents

1. The Shaughraun (1874) by Dion Boucicault

Scott Boltwood

2. The Importance of Being Earnest (1893) by Oscar Wilde

Ben Levitas

3. The Last Feast of the Fianna (1900) by Alice Milligan

Catherine Morris

4. Kathleen Ni Houlihan (1902) by Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats

Eglantina Remport

5. John Bull’s Other Island (1904) by Bernard Shaw

David Clare

6. The Gaol Gate (1906) by Lady Gregory

Eglantina Remport

7. The Playboy of the Western World (1907) by J. M. Synge

Hélène Lecossois

8. Harvest (1910) by Lennox Robinson

Shaun Richards

9. At the Hawk’s Well (1916) by W. B. Yeats

Michael McAteer

10. The Plough and the Stars (1926) by Sean O’Casey

James Moran

11. The Old Lady Says "No!", (1929) by Denis Johnston

Ruud van den Beuken

12. Youth’s the Season - ? (1931) by Mary Manning

Ruud van den Beuken

13. Katie Roche (1936) by Teresa Deevy

Chris Morash

14. Purgatory (1938) by W. B. Yeats

Chris Morash

15. An Apple a Day (1942) by Elizabeth Connor

Ian R. Walsh

16. Tolka Row (1951) by Maura Laverty

Deirdre McFeely

17. Home is the Hero (1952) by Walter Macken

Ian R. Walsh

18. The Wood of the Whispering (1953) by M. J. Molloy

Lisa Coen

19. Waiting for Godot (1953) by Samuel Beckett

James Little

20. The Hostage (1958) by Brendan Behan

Michael Pierse

21. Over the Bridge (1960) by Sam Thompson

Michael Parker

22. Stephen D (1962) by Hugh Leonard

Christopher Murray

23. The Field (1965) by John B. Keane

Lisa Coen

24. Famine (1968) by Tom Murphy

Hiroko Mikami

25. Translations (1980) by Brian Friel

Kelly Matthews

26. The Great Hunger (1983) by Tom Mac Intyre

Marie Kelly

27. Tea in a China Cup (1983) by Christina Reid

Lisa Fitzpatrick

28. Northern Star (1984) by Stewart Parker

Marilynn Richtarik

29. Bailegangaire (1985) by Tom Murphy

Csilla Bertha

30. Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985) by Frank McGuiness

David Cregan

31. Ourselves Alone (1985) by Anne Devlin

Lisa Fitzpatrick

32. Double Cross (1986) by Tom Kilroy

José Lanters

33. A Handful of Stars (1988) by Billy Roche

Victor Merriman

34. The Lament for Arthur Cleary (1989) by Dermot Bolger

Victor Merriman

35. Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) by Brian Friel

Joan Fitzpatrick Dean

36. Digging for Fire (1991) by Declan Hughes

Patrick Lonergan

37. Eclipsed (1992) by Patricia Burke Brogan

Charlotte Headrick

38. The Steward of Christendom (1995) by Sebastian Barry

Christina Hunt Mahony

39. The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996) by Martin McDonagh

Eamonn Jordan

40. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson

Clare Wallace

41. By the Bog of Cats (1998) by Marina Carr

Melissa Sihra

42. The Walworth Farce (2006) by Enda Walsh

Paige Reynolds

43. Terminus (2007) by Mark O’Rowe

Ondřej Pilný

44. The Playboy of the Western World (2007) by Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle

Patrick Lonergan

45. I (Heart) Alice (Heart) I (2010) by Amy Conroy

J. Paul Halferty

46. No Escape (2010) by Mary Raftery

Luke Lamont

47. Laundry (2011) by ANU Productions

Miriam Haughton

48. Quietly (2012) by Owen McCafferty

Shaun Richards

49. Broken Promise Land (2013) by Mirjana Rendulic

Charlotte McIvor

50. Spinning (2014) by Deirdre Kinahan

Mária Kurdi

View More



Shaun Richards is Emeritus Professor of Irish Studies at Staffordshire University. Publications include Mapping Irish Theatre: Theories of Space and Place (Cambridge University Press, 2013), co-authored with Chris Morash, and Contemporary Irish Documentary Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2020), co-edited with Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos.


"The canon of modern Irish plays ought to be as fluid and debatable as Ireland itself has been. This lively, stimulating and pleasantly surprising re-thinking of the repertoire cracks open the hard shell of assumptions to reveal the rich variousness of a dynamic and contrary tradition." Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times, Ireland