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International Touring

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Druid is one of the most successful international touring theatre companies operating in the world today. This touring began in 1980 with an ambitious but successful run in Edinburgh.

1980 – 1985

The company had set their sights on touring to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival within months of moving to Druid Lane Theatre in 1979. Here, the company will always count themselves lucky in the person whom they gave responsibility for project managing this tour: Jerome Hynes. He had only recently begun working with the company as a volunteer, yet this tour was to be a marker that gave notice of the vision, judgement, enterprise and courtesy that would make him one of the most successful and influential arts managers in Ireland in recent times. On this maiden outing, Druid brought new plays only, took over a venue for the duration of their stay, had a decorous (rather than an aggressive tone) in its marketing and worked tirelessly to ensure the maximum presence of reviewers and key civic officers throughout the run.

The venue secured was Bedlam and the programme comprised all four new plays then in Druid’s repertoire. Island Protected by a Bridge of Glass and The Pursuit of Pleasure, both by Garry Hynes, comprised the evening performances. While Bar and Ger and A Galway Girl by Geraldine Aron were a lunchtime offering. With this tour Druid secured a Fringe First.

It was to be 1982, when Druid brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the production that sealed its international reputation: The Playboy of the Western World. This production secured an unprecedented platform for Druid internationally. Over the next five years it performed in some of the cultural capitals of the English-speaking world, Edinburgh, London, New York and Sydney. An Irish Times reviewer described it as ‘the best production I have ever seen‘ and a reviewer in Edinburgh as ‘nothing less than perfection.’


Touring premier productions of Tom Murphy’s Bailegangaire and Conversations on a Homecoming established Druid’s identity among international audiences for ruthlessly observed realism matched by an explosive embrace of theatre. Bailegangire performed in the Donmar Warehouse, London in 1986 (following closely on the heels of Playboy). Conversations on a Homecoming went first to New York in the summer of 1986, then to Sydney Festival in early 1987. Druid quickly capitalised on the reputations gained in each of these cities in the years ahead. (Playboy would be performed in the Sydney Festival at the end of the same year).

1990 – 1998

Druid’s international touring in the nineties was characterised by the breaking of new ground, not only in respect of the cities to which productions toured but also in the relationships set up around those tours. In touring At the Black Pig’s Dyke Druid broke new ground with international partnerships between the Tricycle Theatre and LIFT, London, the World Stage Fest, Toronto, and Glasgow Mayfest in 1994. This production also toured to the Sydney Festival in 1995.

The work with Martin McDonagh both widened Druid’s profile and gave notice of an embrace of a wholly new postmodern writing. Co-productions with the Royal Court for The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Leenane Trilogy in 1996-7 created the precedent of international performances being part of a production’s first run. A transfer to the Duke of Yorks Theatre in 1997, gave Druid the experience of a West End run. The run in the Atlantic Theater, New York, in February 1998, brought Druid into the not-for-profit sector in the United States. A transfer to the Walter Kerr theatre in April the same year brought Druid onto Broadway. With this increased profile came awards both for the writer and the company, the highlight of which were four Tony Awards® in 1998.

2000 – present

Since 2005, Druid has secured an international dimension for most of its productions. Four productions have enjoyed an international outing as part of their initial first run, DruidSynge, Leaves by Lucy Caldwell, The New Electric Ballroom by Enda Walsh and The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh. Druid’s production of Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce has become one of the most successful and widely toured productions in recent theatre memory.
Throughout this recent international touring, Druid has revived relationships with former co-producers the Royal Court, Lincoln Center and the Atlantic Theater. It has forged new relationships with a great many festivals and venues, including the Perth International Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and St Ann’s Warehouse, New York. At the same time Druid has also built very strong relationships with producers abroad, including David Eden in the USA and Ian Scobie at APA in Australia.

Among the most significant developments for Druid in recent years is the opportunity to tour extensively throughout the UK. Through Druid’s new partnership with the Oxford Playhouse we have been able to tour to some of the leading regional theatres in the UK most notably the Lowry, Everyman Liverpool and Theatre Royal Brighton.


This page was archived on 28/03/2017 and is no longer updated.

The contents of this page may be out of date or incomplete. Go here to browse our current site