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Brian Friel

Birth Place: IRELAND

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Brian Friel BIO

Brian Friel was an Irish playwright and director, born on January 9, 1929, in Omagh, Northern Ireland. He was considered one of the greatest English-language playwrights of the 20th century, known for his insightful portrayal of the complexities of Irish life and culture. Friel's work has been performed on Broadway and in theaters around the world.


Friel began his career as a teacher, but soon turned to writing. His first play, "A Doubtful Paradise," was produced in Dublin in 1959. He gained critical acclaim with his play "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" which premiered at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964. The play explores the relationship between a young man and his father, and their conflicting views on life and love. It was later produced on Broadway in 1966 and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.
Friel continued to write plays that explored the complexities of Irish life and culture. His plays often dealt with themes of identity, memory, and language. In 1990, Friel wrote "Dancing at Lughnasa," which won the Tony Award for Best Play. The play is set in rural Ireland in 1936 and tells the story of five sisters and their struggle to survive in a changing world.
Friel was also a prolific director, and he directed many of his own plays. He was a founding member of the Field Day Theatre Company, which was established in 1980 to promote Irish culture and literature. Friel's work with the Field Day Theatre Company included productions of his plays "Translations" and "Making History."
In addition to his work in the theater, Friel wrote several screenplays, including the adaptation of his play "Dancing at Lughnasa" for the 1998 film of the same name. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1981 film "Faith Healer."
Friel's other notable plays include "The Freedom of the City," "Living Quarters," "Wonderful Tennessee," and "Molly Sweeney." His work has been performed in theaters around the world and has been translated into many languages.
Brian Friel passed away on October 2, 2015, at the age of 86. His most recent work was the 2010 play "The Home Place," which premiered at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The play is set in 1878 and explores the relationship between the English and Irish in rural Ireland. Friel's legacy as a playwright and director continues to inspire and influence the theater world.

Brian Friel Productions

 
[Off-Broadway, 1995]
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Brian Friel Awards and Nominations


winner
Evening Standard Awards - 2005 - Best Play

Brian FrielThe Home Place


winner
New York Drama Critics Circle Awards - 1996 - Best Foreign Play

Brian Friel, Molly Sweeney


winner
New York Drama Critics Circle Awards - 1992 - Best Play

Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa


winner
Tony Awards - 1992 - Best Play

Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa

Drama Desk Awards - 1991 - Outstanding New Play

Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa


winner
Evening Standard Awards - 1991 - Best Play

Brian FrielDancing at Lughnasa


winner
Olivier Awards - 1991 - BBC Award for the Play of the Year

Brian FrielDancing At Lughnasa


winner
New York Drama Critics Circle Awards - 1989 - Best Foreign Play

Brian Friel, Aristocrats


winner
Evening Standard Awards - 1988 - Best Play

Brian FrielAristocrats

Olivier Awards - 1981 - Play of the Year

Brian FrielTranslations

Tony Awards - 1969 - Best Play

Brian FrielLovers

New York Drama Critics Circle Awards - 1966 - Best Play

Brian Friel, Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Tony Awards - 1966 - Best Play

Brian Friel, Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Brian Friel News


25 Theater Books for Your Summer 2024 Reading List

From theatre biographies to theatre fiction; theatre books for kids to theatre history; check out our collection of 25 new Broadway books for every theatre lover's Summer 2024 reading list.
Winners Announced For Critics Awards For Theatre In Scotland 2024

Winners were announced today at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow.
Photos: MOLLY SWEENEY Celebrates Opening Night at Irish Rep

Irish Repertory Theatre is continuing The Friel Project with a fourth production, Molly Sweeney. Learn how to purchase tickets.
(PRAY), THE COMEUPPANCE, and More Take Home 2024 Lucille Lortel Awards - Full List of Winners!

The 39th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards will be presented at the annual ceremony which will take place tonight, Sunday, May 5, 2024, at NYU Skirball beginning at 7:00pm. See the winners as they come in here!
Previews: DANCING AT LUGHNASA at City Theatre

City Theater Company gets their Irish on with Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel, April 19-27, 2024 at The Delaware Contemporary.
WET BRAIN, STEREOPHONIC & More Nominated for 39th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards - See the Full List!

Nominations for the 39th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway were announced by Amber Iman and George Abud. Check out the full list of nominees!
Review Roundup: PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! at the Irish Rep

The Friel Project continues at Irish Rep, where Philadelphia, Here I Come! just celebrated its opening night. Check out what the critics are saying about the production here.
Ken Ludwig World Premiere & More Set for Asolo Repertory Theatre 2024-25 Season

Asolo Repertory Theatre, has revealed its 2024-2025 season. See the full lineup of plays and learn how to purchase tickets.
Review: FAITH HEALER, Lyric Hammersmith

Frank Hardy has a problem. He’s an Irish faith healer without faith in his power to heal. It comes, it goes and he only knows for sure when it is not going to happen. With his wife Grace and manager Teddy, their tour of Wales and Scotland in a battered van has seen his abilities steadily failing him. A last throw of the die sees him return to his homeland. What could go wrong?
Writers Theatre Reveals 2024-2025 Season

The Writers Theatre has announced its 2024/25 season. The season kicks off with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 this September. Learn more about the full lineup here!
Photos: First Look At FAITH HEALER At Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Production photos have been released for the major revival of Brian Friel’s powerful stage mystery Faith Healer, directed by Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. 
Photos: First Look At City Theatre's DANCING AT LUGHNASA

City Theatre continues the 2024 season with Brian Friel’s Tony Award winning play DANCING AT LUGHNASA. March 21 – 31 at Genesis Creative Collective. See photos of the production.
Review: DANCING AT LUGHNASA at Genesis Creative Collective

What did our critic think of DANCING AT LUGHNASA at Genesis Creative Collective?
15 New Plays to be Presented at 16th Annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival

The 16th annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival will take place this year from March 23 to April 28 in New York.
Irish Rep Adds MOLLY SWEENEY as Fourth Production in The Friel Project

Irish Repertory Theatre will continue The Friel Project with a fourth production, Molly Sweeney. Learn more about the production and see how to purchase tickets.
DANGEROUS INSTRUMENTS World Premiere & More Set for Palm Beach Dramaworks 25th Season

Palm Beach Dramaworks will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2024-25 with a  roster of plays that epitomize its commitment to “Theatre to Think About.” Learn about full programming and see how to purchase tickets.
DANCING AT LUGHNASA Comes to Austin in March

A masterwork in theatre storytelling about family, honor, hope, and the undeniable power of the past, Dancing at Lughnasa runs March 15 - 31 at Genesis Creative Collective.
Photos: In Rehearsal for FAITH HEALER At Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Take a first look inside the rehearsal room of Faith Healer written by Olivier and Tony Award-winning Brian Friel and directed by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan.
London Theatre Week - See over 50 Award-Winning Musicals and Plays with Tickets from £15, £25 or £35

London Theatre Week is the West End’s biggest promotion, giving you the chance to see over 50 amazing award-winning musicals and stunning plays with tickets from £15, £25 or £35
Spotlight: ARISTOCRATS at Irish Repertory Theatre

Unlock the Drama: Brian Friel’s ARISTOCRATS at Irish Rep - Must Close Mar 3!

Brian Friel FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How many shows has Brian Friel written?

Brian Friel has written 18 shows including Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Playwright), The Loves of Cass McGuire (Playwright), The Mundy Scheme (Playwright), Crystal and Fox (Playwright), The Freedom of the City (Playwright), Aristocrats (Playwright), Making History (Playwright), Dancing at Lughnasa (Playwright), Wonderful Tennessee (Playwright), Molly Sweeney (Playwright), The Freedom of the City (Playwright), Give Me Your Answer, Do! (Playwright), Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Playwright), Faith Healer (Playwright), Translations (Playwright), Hedda Gabler (Adaptor), Lovers (Playwright), The Home Place (Playwright).

What awards has Brian Friel been nominated for?

Brian Friel has been nominated for several awards throughout his career, including Best Play at the Evening Standard Awards for "The Home Place," Best Foreign Play at the New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for "Molly Sweeney" and "Aristocrats," Best Play at the Tony Awards for "Dancing at Lughnasa," Outstanding New Play at the Drama Desk Awards for "Dancing at Lughnasa," and BBC Award for the Play of the Year at the Olivier Awards for "Dancing At Lughnasa." He also received accolades such as Play of the Year at the Olivier Awards for "Translations," Best Play at the Evening Standard Awards for "Dancing at Lughnasa" and "Aristocrats," and Best Play at the Tony Awards for "Lovers," "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" and "Dancing at Lughnasa."

What awards has Brian Friel won?

Brian Friel has won several awards for his plays, including Best Play at the Evening Standard Awards for The Home Place, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Aristocrats. He also won the Best Foreign Play at the New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Molly Sweeney, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Aristocrats. Additionally, Friel received the Best Play award at the Tony Awards for Dancing at Lughnasa and the BBC Award for the Play of the Year at the Olivier Awards for Dancing At Lughnasa.

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