Translations by Brian Friel

09/07/24Translations by Brian Friel

From the acclaimed playwright of Dancing at Lughnasa and Faith Healer, this hauntingly lyrical play is about the attempt to control a nation through its language.  

Set in 1833 in Ireland, it tells of the British army's campaign to survey the country and in the process, replace the native Gaelic place names with English ones in order to bring about a political union.  

 Against the backdrop of a “hedge school” where the locals are educated in their native Irish, Lieutenant Yolland, a British soldier, falls in love with Maire, a peasant girl - and with Ireland. Their romance sparks displeasure and anger in the Irish and English alike, and when Yolland goes missing, the mutual revenge taken threatens to tear the countryside apart.

Production Dates:  Saturday 9, Monday 11 to Saturday 16 November at 7.30 pm

Reading:  Tuesday 9 July at 7.30 pm

Auditions:  Thursday 11 July at 7.30 pm

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Hugh      the master of the hedge school;  well-educated but tends to treat everyone as a pupil.  Expects Manus to serve him with very little gratitude.  Stage age 60s.


Manus     older son of Hugh, stage age 30s;  has a slight limp.  He helps his father to run the school but actually he is Hugh’s servant.


Sarah       a young woman – any age from 17 to 30s;  suffers from a bad stutter but keen to learn;   secretly in love with Manus


Jimmy Jack    an older man (60s?), nicknamed “the child prodigy”;  loves the school;  the classical gods and goddesses are his friends


Maire     a young woman, cheerful but worried about her future.  Stage age 20s.  She has  noticed the young lieutenant.  


Doalty     a young man, stage age teens, 20s;  a bit of a tearaway.


Bridget      a young woman – stage age 20s;  confident, looks out for herself


Owen         Hugh’s younger son;  stage age 20s, early 30s.  Has escaped Ballybeg to work in Dublin and is doing well.  Friendly and charming.  Speaks English:  helps Yolland to translate names.


Captain Lancey    English officer in charge of mapping and re-naming the area. Stage age 40s, 50s.  Has a difficult job, controlling his men and avoiding upsetting the locals.  Has to assert his authority – no mistaking who’s really in control


Lieutenant Yolland      Stage age 20s, 30s.  Probably his first posting;  at first shy and awkward.  Develops enthusiasm for Ireland and the Irish.  Has an eye for Maire.