Sam Thompson, Stewart Parker, and the lineage of northern Irish drama

Marilynn Richtarik


Northern Irish dramatist Stewart Parker (1941-1988) wrote plays typically valued for their wit, intellectual content, and formal experimentation. Nonetheless, he was profoundly influenced as a young man by a very different sort of playwright. Sam Thompson (1916-1965), who began his working life in the Belfast shipyards, squarely confronted Northern Irish sectarianism in his plays. His sense of the political potential of drama left an enduring mark on Parker, who organized and edited Thompson's manuscripts several years after his untimely death. Although their dramatic writings bear little resemblance to each other, the two writers should be regarded as united in a common Northern Irish dramatic tradition by virtue of their shared socialist outlook, belief in the importance of individual stands against conformity, and sense of theatre's social mission.


Stewart Parker; Sam Thompson; Northern Irish Drama; Northern Irish Literature; Belfast Writers


Copyright (c) 2010 Marilynn Richtarik

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