Northern Ireland

New Brian Friel digital archive launched by Queen's University

Acclaimed dramatist Brian Friel. Picture by Brian Morrison/PA Wire
Acclaimed dramatist Brian Friel. Picture by Brian Morrison/PA Wire Acclaimed dramatist Brian Friel. Picture by Brian Morrison/PA Wire

QUEEN’S University Belfast has launched a Brian Friel digital archive providing access to drafts of the acclaimed Irish playwright’s works, including handwritten notes from some of his best known plays.

The archive, based on the Friel Papers held at the National Library of Ireland, is made up of almost 3,000 manuscript pages from five of the Co Tyrone-born dramatist's best known plays, including 1964's Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Translations, which he wrote in1980.

The handwritten manuscripts reveal how Friel drafted and revised these plays over time. His notes show his reflections on plots, characters, themes and staging.

Read more - Fionnuala O Connor: Brian Friel is worth a big slice of anyone's time

The digital archive is part of the ‘Friel Reimagined’ project led by Dr Paul Murphy from Queen's.

"Friel Reimagined is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in drama to understand how one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th Century created plays that captured the attention of audiences around the world," he said.

Actor Ciarán Hinds, who starred in a 2018 National Theatre production of Translations, said the Field Day Theatre Company founder, who died in 2015, had made a "massive contribution" to world drama.

"And those of us who hail from Ireland carry him close, in our hearts and in our minds - but we are far from being the only ones," he said.

The digital archive was launched last Friday December 9 with an exhibition ‘Friel Reimagined: A Playwright's Works in Progress’ in the McClay Library at Queen’s.