Druid Theatre Company

The Druid Theatre Company, referred to as Druid, is an Irish theatre company, based in Galway, Ireland. In 1975, the company was founded by Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally - all of whom first met and worked together as members of University College Galway dramatic society, commonly known as NUIG Dramasoc. It was the first Irish professional theatre company to be established outside Dublin.[1]

Since 1979, Druid has owned a theatre building in Galway City Centre. The former tea storehouse was originally owned by the McDonaghs, one of Galway's wealthy merchant families. In the late 1970s, the company negotiated a peppercorn rent with the owners which enabled the company to renovate and install its own venue and rehearsal space - which the McDonagh family later donated to Druid. In 2011, following refurbishment, what was originally known as the Druid Theatre was renamed The Mick Lally Theatre in memory of Druid co-founder, the late Mick Lally. The theatre serves as a dedicated workspace for the company and has also established itself as a cultural facility for the promotion and the development of the arts in Galway.[citation needed] The lane on which the theatre is situated has gone by numerous names; including Red Earls' Lane, Chapel Lane, Courthouse Lane, and since 1996, Druid Lane, when Galway City Council renamed it in celebration of the company’s 21st birthday.[2]

As well as touring extensively across Ireland, the company's productions have played internationally to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. Druid has been a "pioneer" in the development of Irish theatre and is credited (alongside Macnas and the Galway Arts Festival) with making Galway one of the primary cultural centres in Ireland.[3]

In 1996, Druid premiered Martin McDonagh's debut play The Beauty Queen of Leenane', in a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre, London. Following an opening in Galway, the production played across Ireland, in London, Sydney, and New York. During its Broadway run, the production won four Tony Awards, including Best Director for Garry Hynes - the first woman to win an award for directing in the history of the awards ceremony. In 2005, the company presented DruidSynge, an production of all six plays of John Millington Synge as a day-long theatrical event, at the Galway Arts Festival to critical acclaim.[4] Several years later, Druid revived a trilogy of Tom Murphy's plays (Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine) entitled DruidMurphy; this production later won several Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards in 2014. Druid continued to present large-scale ensemble productions in 2015 with DruidShakespeare - William Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V in a new adaptation by Mark O'Rowe - which toured Ireland, the UK and the prestigious Lincoln Center Festival.

As of 2013, a permanent Druid Ensemble existed to work alongside artistic director Garry Hynes to further the artistic programme of the company and to "investigate new creative possibilities."[5] This ensemble is composed of Marie Mullen, Marty Rea, Rory Nolan, Aaron Monaghan, Aisling O’Sullivan, Garrett Lombard and Derbhle Crotty.[citation needed]

Key productionsEdit