Irish Theatre Institute’s Playography na Gaeilge 1901-2010, which was launched today (Wednesday, May 11th, 2011) by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, reveals that Irish history, family, marriage and love are frequently recurring themes in Irish language plays. The many Irish language playwrights featured in the completed repertoire of 796 plays range from Ireland’s first President, Douglas Hyde, mid 20th century writers Liam O’Flaherty, Walter Macken, Máiréad Ní Ghráda, Tomás Mac Anna and Brendan Behan, to contemporary writers such as Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Antoine Ó Flatharta, Liam Ó Muirthile Manchán Magan and Joe Steve Ó Neachtain. By mapping the evolution of Irish language playwriting over more than a century, people can find out, at the touch of a button, what new plays, translations and adaptations of Irish language plays were produced throughout the country over decades, that Dublin and Galway led the way but writers were producing Irish language plays in Cork, Waterford, Donegal and Belfast too.

Playography na Gaeilge 1901-2010 complements ITI’s Irish Playography Website (1904-present) containing over 2, 500 new Irish plays produced professionally in English. The two repertoires are drawn together in PLAYOGRAPHYIreland for all to see on-line. Today’s launch marks the culmination of 10 year’s research. Congratulating ITI on this major undertaking, Minister Deenihan said:“PLAYOGRAPHYIreland gives us a living repertoire of plays in both English and Irish. It is an amazing feat by Irish Theatre Institute, providing a perspective on what was occupying our writers across a century. Marriage and family, politics and Irish history were dominant themes for playwrights as were emigration and religion. This resource illustrates the range, depth and skills of our playwrights, one of Ireland’s greatest assets who today are produced worldwide in many languages. The PLAYOGRAPHYIreland resource reflect the rich tapestry of Ireland’s social, cultural and historical life and makes the information available for everyone to see on-line.”

Expressing her delight at the publication of Playography na Gaeilge 1901-2010, Siobhán Bourke, ITI’s Co-Director, said “We are indebted to the many theatre practitioners who painstakingly worked with us to ensure that this website provides a one-stop-shop of information about Irish language theatre, and I salute Foras na Gaeilge for having the imagination and vision to support it”.

“Playography na Gaeilge is like someone suddenly erecting goalposts on an empty prairie. It provides a new dimension of insight into where Irish language playwriting has come from, where it’s headed and all that still must be achieved…the territory has finally been mapped”. 
Manchán Magan, writer and travel documentary maker