Sebastian Barry

Plays by Sebastian Barry

Andersen's English

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Celebrated children's writer Hans Christian Andersen arrives, unannounced, for a stay at Gad's Hill Place in the Kent marshes – home to Charles Dickens and his large, charismatic family.

To the lonely and eccentric guest, the members of Dickens' household seem to live a life of unreachable bliss. But with his broken English, Andersen doesn't at first see the storms brewing within the family: undeclared passions, a son about to go to India, and a growing strangeness at the heart of Dickens' marriage.

Andersen's English by Sebastian Barry premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bury, in February 2010 in a production by Out of Joint.

Dallas Sweetman

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

From his grave in the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, Dallas Sweetman is called to give account. He tells a story of love and death, jealousy and miraculous happenings, of the divided loyalties of Protestants and Catholics in the Elizabethan Age. Before us, his judges, Dallas seeks to justify the actions of his life. But is he telling the truth? And can he be forgiven?

The lost tradition of staging new plays at Canterbury Cathedral, most famously T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral, was revived with the premiere of Sebastian Barry's Dallas Sweetman in September 2008.

Fred and Jane

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Fred and Jane explores the deep and sustaining friendship between two nuns, Anna and Beatrice, as they recall the trials and joys of religious life.

Fred and Jane premiered at Bewley's Cafe Theatre, Dublin in 2002.

On Blueberry Hill  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

PJ and Christy: sworn enemies destined to share one small room for twenty years. As the two men recall the joys and torments of life outside – the childhood excursions, a deadly brawl, past loves and summer dresses – slowly they uncover the tragic events that have lead them to their cell in Montjoy.

A play that explores our capacity to commit the deadliest of crimes but also our capacity for survival, reconciliation and love, On Blueberry Hill premiered in a Fishamble production at the Pavilion Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival and at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris in October 2017.  

The Pride of Parnell Street

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In two poignant, interweaving monologues Janet and Joe tell the story of their lives of petty crime in Dublin, the act of violence that shattered their marriage and their long years of suffering before Joe’s final redemptive act. The Pride of Parnell Street is shortlisted for Best New Play in the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards.

Tales of Ballycumber

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Here, now, listen, I'll tell you a tale .

Daffodils are in bloom as dawn breaks over the foothills of Ballycumber, ushering in hope for a new day and stirring the ghosts of a past fraught with sorrow, anguish and emptiness.

In search of advice, young Evans Stafford calls at the home of friend and strong-minded traditionalist, Nicholas Farquhar. The following day, as Farquhar learns the devastating consequences of this meeting, he discovers that his memories and words are governed by a buried history; a force far greater than himself.

Sebastian Barry's Tales of Ballycumber premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in September 2009.

Whistling Psyche

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A dark night, an old waiting room and two supposed strangers eager to reach their destinations. In the cold hours that rest between nightfall and daybreak, silent questions prompt unexpected revelations. Two souls share a passion for reform, but only one – Miss Nightingale – has been honoured. The other, Dr Barry, would never receive the same acclaim, but notoriety came after death and for a very different reason...

Whistling Psyche premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London in May 2004.

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels and plays have won the Costa Book of the Year award, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, the Independent Booksellers Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. A Long Long Way (2005) and the top ten bestseller The Secret Scripture (2008) were shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. He lives in County Wicklow with his wife and three children.