Tuesday, 9 October 2012


With TP's dramatic and acclaimed arrival on the London stage in 'Stephen D' there was the inevitable talk about whether Ireland had just lost another of its' rising stars across the water.

Ireland seemed very capable of producing many excellent acting talents but quite inept at retaining them.  Ahead of TP had gone the likes of Donal Donnelly, Ray McAnally and Milo O'Shea.

This quandary was even the subject of an RTE documentary which pondered if the stars of 'Stephen D' would be just the next names on the list.  

Norman Rodway certainly rarely appeared on the Irish stage again.   TP, on the other hand, while he was glad to make the break with the Abbey, was not contemplating quitting the Irish stage.

His ally in this cause would be a fixture that had been developed by the producer, Brendan Smith, in 1959 - the Dublin Theatre Festival.

First up was the festival of 1963 and a support role in a new comedy by writer Alun Owen, A Little Winter Love, with Ray McAnally and Vivienne Drummond.

The programme pages shown below relate to the 1964 touring production in the UK (Theatre Royal, Brighton) prior to what had been hoped might be a slot on the London stage though that plan never came to fruition.

Subsequent Festival productions for TP would include plays by Eugene McCabe (King of the Castle & Breakdown) and the Irish premiere of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, works by Brian Friel including his translation of Uncle Vanya and Molly Sweeney and a new play by Stewart Parker, Nightshade.

A list of credits which ensure that TP was on the Irish stage every three or four years into the 1990s.

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