Theatre and Space: Druid's Productions of Tom Murphy's Plays, 1984-1987
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This study analyses the relationship between the theatre company Druid and Irish playwright Tom Murphy to discern how Druid successfully toured Murphy's plays abroad despite the perception that his work is viewed as popular only in Ireland. This research also considers how the relationship assisted Druid's development as an international touring company. Druid's productions of Tom Murphy's plays between 1984 and 1987 tell us important things about both parties. Therefore, this study allows for a reconsideration of key aspects of the recent history of theatre in Ireland, which have multiple applications, not just in Ireland but elsewhere. To achieve those goals, this study shows how the company and the writer undertook a shared investigation of the spatial relationships manifested both through migration, as represented in Murphy's plays, and mobility, as enacted by Druid's touring productions of Murphy's plays. This suggestion raises the possibility that Druid's original stagings of Tom Murphy's plays, and any subsequent tours of those plays, provide key examples of the interaction of geographic, societal, and theatrical spatial relationships. These interconnections include relationships between the nation and the outside world, between rural and urban spaces within the nation, between onstage and offstage spaces, between the performance space's physical location and its community, and between public relations material (which constructs the play in a particular way to potential audience members) and the audience. By providing textual and production analysis of each of the Murphy plays that Druid produced, this research provides a framework for the analysis of the interrelationship between company, playwright, and audience.