Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Cripple of Inismaan

The rich and dark comedy of Martin McDonagh’s the Cripple of Inismaan has been touring coast to coast across America as part of the ‘Imagine Ireland’ programme throughout the first half of 2011. An award winning co-production between Druid Theatre Company and Atlantic Theatre Company, the show has performed to nearly 100,000 people throughout this trans-Atlantic tour. Launching in Roscommon and tracing its way across the United States with stops in Boston, Michigan, Chicago, California and South Carolina, to name a few, before a trip to its spiritual home in Inis Maan for an emotional homecoming.
McDonagh has enjoyed a long association with Druid. The rise of McDonagh is well documented in then Druid Theatre Company Archive, also held here in NUI Galway. McDonagh’s writing has created some of the best loved plays and performances by Druid of recent years. The visceral, beautiful and poetic language that McDonagh creates and is spoken between his islanders has throwbacks to the best of Synge but also is uniquely his own. The archive of Druid Theatre Company holds records such as invitations to teh opening night of the 1998 production of The Cripple at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway, and also many photographs taken during rehearsal and full performance of this production.
Dearbhla Molloy as Eileen (1997)
Now that the tour of the co-production by Druid and Atlantic Theatre Company has just finished its massively successful run, it is interesting to look at other productions of The Cripple. The archive of the Galway Arts Festival contains wonderful photographs (above and below) from the Royal National Theatre’s (U.K.) production of The Cripple of Inismaan which was a highlight event during the 1997 Galway Arts Festival. Directed by Nicholas Hytner and designed by Bob Crowley, the production files contain black and white photographs of the production, while the press files contain numerous local and national press reviews and features on The Cripple. The play was staged at the Town Hall Theatre Galway from 22 Jul to 2 August 1997.
Ray McBride as Johnnypateen (1997)

For more on the production history of The Cripple of Inismaan please see the archives of Druid Theatre Company and the Galway Arts Festival held at NUI Galway James Hardiman Library: or contact archivist barry.houlihan[at]

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