The Druid Story
The story of Druid 1975 to present day
Druid began as a bold idea: to create Ireland’s first professional theatre company outside of Dublin. There were few resources with which to build a theatre company in the west of Ireland in 1975, but, through sheer dedication, and with the support of the Galway community, founders Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally made this bold idea a reality. That reality has since become an international success story of extraordinary dimensions.
NUIG graduates, Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally founded Druid in the mid 1970s and rehearsed in various buildings around Galway – the Jesuit Hall, The Fo’castle Hotel - before they found a home on Druid Lane. It was in that first year that Druid produced Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World and in it, found a playwright they would go on to explore and find success with at home and abroad.
The company's first won success outside of Ireland was the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Druid quickly gained an international reputation with productions such as At the Black Pig’s Dyke (1992), Conversations on a Homecoming (1985), and Bailegangaire (1985) featuring Siobhan McKenna in one of her finest dramatic performances.
In 1996 Druid premièred Martin McDonagh’s debut work The Beauty Queen of Leenane, in a co-production with the Royal Court Theatre. It opened in Galway and played in London, Sydney, Dublin, and on Broadway, where 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 Tony's.
Other successes in recent years include The Leenane Trilogy (with the Royal Court) in which The Beauty Queen of Leenane was joined by the premieres of two other Mc Donagh works – A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West; three revolutionary productions of work by John B Keane: Sive (2002), Sharon’s Grave (2003) and The Year of the Hiker (2006); DruidSynge (2005) , the company’s critically acclaimed production of all six John Millington Synge plays in a single day, which went on to tour the US and was described by The New York Times as ‘the highlight not just of my theatregoing year but of my theatregoing life’ and by The Irish Times as ‘one of the greatest achievements in the history of Irish theatre’; DruidMurphy (2013) a trilogy of Tom Murphy's plays Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine which went on to sweep the boards of the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards; and DruidShakespeare (2015): Richard II, Henry IV (Part One), Henry IV (Part Two) and Henry V in a new adaptation by Mark O'Rowe which toured Ireland and played at the prestigious Lincoln Center Festival.
To this day, while Druid works with a core group of actors, designers and production crew on a consistent basis, at its heart is the working relationship between Garry Hynes and Marie Mullen, one of the most successful and significant actor-director relationships of the modern theatre. Druid founder and actor, Mick Lally, passed away in August 2010 and up until that time had been one of Druid’s core group of actors.