Druid was founded in Galway in 1975, its foundation marking the establishment of the first professional theatre company in Ireland outside Dublin. Since then it has been at the forefront of the development of Irish theatre: its regional touring pioneered the Irish touring network and its international success has been unparalleled by any other Irish arts organisation. Recent international touring includes visits to London, Edinburgh, Sydney, Perth, Washington, D.C., New York and Tokyo. The company has had two artistic directors: Garry Hynes (1975–91 and 1995 to date) and Maeliosa Stafford (1991–94).
Druid consistently brings groundbreaking productions of classic and new dramatic works to the world stage and, as such, has drawn extensively from the Irish dramatic repertoire and has worked with celebrated Irish and international playwrights. Productions that have gone on to gain international recognition include The Playboy of the Western World (1982), At the Black Pig’s Dyke (1992), Conversations on a Homecoming (1985), and Bailegangaire (1985) featuring Siobhán McKenna in one of her finest dramatic performances. The latter two productions formed part of a major association between Druid and Tom Murphy who was Writer-in-Association with the company and had four of his major works première in Galway.
In 1996 Druid premièred Martin McDonagh’s debut work The Beauty Queen of Leenane, in a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre. The Beauty Queen of Leenane opened in Galway and subsequently played in London, Sydney, Dublin, and on Broadway, where the production won four Tony Awards, including Best Director for Garry Hynes, the first woman to win the award. In The Leenane Trilogy (also with the Royal Court), The Beauty Queen of Leenane was joined by premières of McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West. Other recent successes include three works by John B. Keane, Sive (2002), Sharon’s Grave (2003) and The Year of the Hiker (2006).
DruidSynge, the company’s critically acclaimed production of all six of John Millington Synge’s plays on the same day, premièred at the Galway Arts Festival in 2005 and has since toured to Dublin, Edinburgh, Inis Meáin, Minneapolis and New York. DruidSynge has been described by The Irish Times as ‘one of the greatest achievements in the history of Irish theatre’ and by Charles Isherwood of The New York Times as ‘the highlight not just of my theatregoing year but of my theatregoing life’.
Through its new writing programme, DruidNew, Druid includes among its recent successes the premières in 2006 of The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh (Fringe First, Edinburgh 2007), Empress of India by Stuart Carolan and in 2007, Leaves by Lucy Caldwell (George Devine Award 2006 and 29th Susan Smith Blackburn Award).
For more information, including details on forthcoming productions and tours, visit: www.druid.ie and www.druid.ie/druidsynge or join our mailing list.