Dramatisations and short stories by the award-winning playwright – plus bonus programmes

Known as the ‘Irish Chekhov’, Brian Friel was one of the most renowned dramatists of his generation, producing over 30 plays in a career spanning six decades. Included here are some of his best-known works, as well as mesmerising radio documentaries featuring the author himself, in his own words.

Beginning with his modern classic about language and power, Translations, this collection goes on to showcase two further masterpieces: Faith Healer (voted one of the 100 most important plays of the 20th Century by the National Theatre) and the play that launched Friel to international acclaim, Philadelphia, Here I Come! With settings ranging from the 1830s to the present day, all are centred around the small fictional town of Ballybeg, and share key themes including the stories we tell ourselves, the nature of truth and the unreliability of memory. Among the stellar casts are Samuel Barnett, Mark Bazeley, Dermot Crowley, Lia Williams, Phil Daniels and Donal Donnelly.

Also featured are five short stories: ‘The Skelper’, ‘My True Kinsman’, ‘The Death of a Scientific Humanist’, ‘The Gold in the Sea’ and ‘Everything Neat and Tidy’, read by Adrian Dunbar.

We conclude with two talks by Brian Friel – the ‘fragment of autobiography’ Self Portrait and The Green Years, a lyrical account of his childhood in Derry – and the fascinating documentary Staging Ireland, telling the story of the radical Derry theatre company Field Day, founded by Friel and Stephen Rea with the aim of challenging their nation’s view of itself.