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Brian Friel Letters to Pat Laffan and Bronwen Casson

Identifier: MSE/IR 1015

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of three letters and two notes sent from Irish playwright Brian Friel to actor Pat Laffan and theatre designer Bronwen Casson.


  • Creation: 1973 - 1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1973 - 1974


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Irish playwright Brian Friel (1929-2015) was born at Knockmoyle near Omagh in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland to Patrick Friel, a schoolteacher, and Mary Friel, née McLoone, a postmistress. He was educated at St. Columb’s College in Derry, received his BA from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and later attended St. Mary’s Training College, Belfast. Subsequently Friel returned to Derry, teaching school for ten years.

In 1960 Friel began writing full time and by 1964 had produced his first play, Philadelphia, Here I Come! at the Dublin Theatre Festival. Long associated with the Abbey Theatre, by 1980 Friel founded the Field Day Theatre Company with actor Stephen Rea. He was elected Saoi of Aosdána, Ireland’s highest artistic honour, in 2006. Friel died 2 November 2015 in Greencastle, County Donegal.

Pat Laffan (1939-2019) was an Irish actor best known for his roles as Pat Mustard in Father Ted and as Mr. Burgess in Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper. He was a member of the Abbey Theatre company throughout the 1960s and 70s and served as the director of the Peacock Theatre in the mid-70s as well as the Gate Theatre from 1981-1983. Laffan died 14 March 2019 in Dublin.

Bronwen Casson (1948 - ) served as the resident set designer for the National Theatre of Ireland from 1970-1995. In 2003 she received a BA in photography and digital imaging from the Dublin Institute of Technology, and works as a photographer, artist, and digital artist.


0.5 Cubic Feet (Legal Document Box)

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Related Materials

EPH 5032, The Irish Theatre Program Collection, Rare Books & Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame, additionally contains four programs for Friel's plays at the Gate Theatre (box 5, folder 484), Gaiety Theatre (box 5, folder 399), Olympia Theatre (box 5, folder 510), and Field Day Theatre (box 5, folder 545).



Lauren Jean
24 August 2022
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556