The Field Day Theatre Company has been a vital presence on the cultural and intellectual scene since its inception in 1980. This venture represented an attempt by a group of distinguished Irish artists to contribute to a resolution of Northern Ireland's political crisis. Founded by playwright Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea, Field Day's board of directors has included writers Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, Tom Paulin and Thomas Kilroy, and documentary filmmaker David Hammond. Among Field Day's premieres are such modern Irish classics as Friel's Translations (1980), Kilroy's Double Cross (1986) and Stewart Parker's Pentecost (1987). In addition to producing new Irish plays and masterpieces of world drama, since 1983 Field Day has published literary and critical works ranging from pamphlets on Irish language and history to the multi-volume Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing and an on-going series of essays and mographs edited by Deane. In this study of Field Day, Marilynn Richtarik offers a narrative account of the early years of the company, during which its self-image and public reputation were formed. Drawing on contemporary reviews, pre-production publicity, prouncements over time by the various directors, and personal interviews, she constructs a background for her discussion of Field Day's evolving aims and concrete achievements.
Marilynn J. Richtarik is associate professor of English at Georgia State University. She has prepared a new foreword for this edition.