Brian Friel, 1929 - 2015
Trustees, staff and friends of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Brian Friel this morning.
One of the finest playwrights of his generation and a giant of Irish literature, Brian Friel had a long and affectionate relationship with the Lyric theatre, and as recently as last month was providing invaluable counsel and support to the Lyric in preparation for a new production of his masterpiece Dancing at Lughnasa.
Executive Producer Jimmy Fay paid tribute to the distinguished playwright: “We’re devastated to hear of the passing of Brian Friel this morning. Brian was an iconic playwright who created unforgettable, penetrative and vivid characters, and his work transcends the Irish cultural landscape. One of the great pleasures of this past summer has been working with Brian on Dancing at Lughnasa, and I know he was delighted with the way the production was received by audiences - it was genuinely a fitting tribute to one of the greatest writers Ireland has produced. His presence, his kindness and his work will always live in this playhouse. We will miss him terribly.”
Brian Friel’s close association with the Lyric is reflected in an inscription on the wall of the theatre. Taken from a letter written to mark the opening of the new theatre in 2011, the inscription reads as follows:
“A new theatre can be the most exciting building in a city. It can be the home of miracles and epiphanies and revelations and renovations. And building a new theatre - especially in times like these - is both an act of fortitude and gesture of faith in your community. This is your playhouse - come and play with us here.”