NUI Galway’s Drama and Theatre programmes will present a public reading from the first biography of Stewart Parker, one of Northern Ireland’s most important playwrights. Marilynn Richtarik, author of Stewart Parker: A Life, will deliver the reading in Galway’s Druid Theatre on Thursday, 22 November at 7pm.
Stewart Parker’s plays have been compared to the great dramas of Brian Friel, yet he was in many ways unique. His plays Spokesong, Northern Star and Pentecost are regarded as masterpieces but tragically Parker died at the young age of 47. A contemporary of Seamus Heaney, he from a working-class Protestant background and shared with other Northern Irish writers of his generation the challenge of dealing with the Troubles in a politically, morally, and aesthetically responsible manner. The story of how Parker met these demands through his writing affords the reader insights into the experience of daily life in the shadow of political violence.
Based on Parker’s personal papers including diaries, notebooks and early drafts of his literary works, and on interviews with those who knew him best, Stewart Parker: A Life describes his career in the context of both his personal history and the turbulent times through which he lived in his native Belfast. Covering all of his major works for radio, television, the stage and film, this biography illuminates the genesis and meaning of classic plays such as Spokesong and Pentecost – works that continue to shed light on Northern Irelands’ past, present, and future.
Marilynn Richtarik is Associate Professor of English at Georgia State University and a leading authority on theatre from Northern Ireland. She is an author of numerous articles on Stewart Parker and has written programme notes for productions of his plays in London, Dublin, Belfast, and Washington, DC.
Dr Patrick Lonergan, Director of the BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Marilynn Richtarik to Galway to read from her exciting new biography of Stewart Parker. Parker is one of the greatest dramatists ever to emerge from the north of Ireland and although his life was cut tragically short, he wrote some of the best Irish plays of the late twentieth century. This public event is an opportunity for all theatre lovers in Galway to come together to find out more about this important figure.”
Entry to the reading is free but space is limited and copies of Stewart Parker: A Life will be on sale after the reading. For further information please email Patrick.Lonergan@nuigalway.ie.