Brian Friel

Brian Patrick Friel (9 January 1929 – 2 October 2015) was an Irish dramatist, short story writer and founder of the Field Day Theatre Company. He had been considered one of the greatest living English-language dramatists, and referred to as an “Irish Chekhov” and “the universally accented voice of Ireland”. His plays have been compared favourably to those of contemporaries such as Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter and Tennessee Williams.

Recognised for early works such as “Philadelphia, Here I Come!” and “Faith Healer”, Friel had 24 plays published in a more than half-century spanning career that culminated in his election to the position of Saoi of Aosdána. His plays were commonly featured on Broadway throughout this time. In 1980 Friel co-founded Field Day Theatre Company and his play “Translations” was the company’s first production. With Field Day, Friel collaborated with Seamus Heaney, 1995 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Heaney and Friel first became friends after Friel sent the young poet a letter following the publication of “Death of a Naturalist”.

Friel was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the British Royal Society of Literature and the Irish Academy of Letters. He was appointed to Seanad Éireann in 1987 and served until 1989. In later years, “Dancing at Lughnasa” reinvigorated Friel’s oeuvre, bringing him Tony Awards (including Best Play), the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. It was also adapted into a film, starring Meryl Streep, directed by Pat O’Connor, script by Frank McGuinness.

Plays authored

Past productions

  • Date of birth:
  • Died:
  • IMDb
  • Wikipedia


Last modified by Violet.


If you have a photograph of this person, please sign in to upload it, or add it to Flickr and tag it with .