Conor McPherson

Conor McPherson
Conor McPherson
Born August 6, 1971 (1971-08-06) (age 40)
Dublin, Ireland

Conor McPherson (born August 6, 1971) is an Irish playwright and director.


Life and career

McPherson was born in Dublin, .[1] He was educated at University College Dublin, McPherson began writing his first plays there as a member of UCD Dramsoc, the college's dramatic society, and went on to found Fly By Night Theatre Company which produced several of his plays. He is considered one of the best contemporary Irish playwrights; his plays have attracted good reviews, and have been performed internationally (notably in the West End and on Broadway).

The Weir opened at the Royal Court before transferring to the West End and Broadway. It won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play for 1999.

His 2001 play, Port Authority tells of three interwoven lives. The play was first produced by the Gate Theatre of Dublin but premiered at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London in February 2001, before moving to the Gate Theatre in April of that year. The production was directed by McPherson himself. New York's Atlantic Theater Company staged a production of the play in spring of 2008, starring Brian d'Arcy James, and Tony Award winners John Gallagher Jr. and Jim Norton. Says New York Times critic Ben Brantley, “I found myself holding on to what these actors had to say as if I were a 5-year-old at bedtime being introduced to ‘The Arabian Nights.’”

McPherson also directed his play, Dublin Carol, at the Atlantic Theater Company, New York, in 2003.

His 2004 play Shining City opened at the Royal Court and prompted the London Telegraph to describe him as "the finest dramatist of his generation..." A meditation on regret, guilt and confusion, the play is set entirely within the Dublin offices of a psychiatrist who himself has psychological secrets. Whilst much of the play takes the form of monologues delivered by a patient, the everyday stories and subtle poignancy and humour make it a riveting experience. It subsequently opened on Broadway in 2006 and was nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Play.

In September 2006, to great critical acclaim, McPherson made his National Theatre debut as both author and director with The Seafarer at the Cottesloe auditorium, starring Karl Johnson and Jim Norton, with Ron Cook as their poker-playing, Mephistophelean guest. Jim Norton won an Olivier Award for his performance while McPherson was nominated for both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play. In October 2007 The Seafarer came to Broadway keeping with it most of its creative team, including McPherson as director and both Jim Norton and Conleth Hill in their respective roles (with stage and film actor David Morse taking over as Sharky, and Ciarán Hinds portraying Mr. Lockhart.) The production on Broadway received some rave reviews including such statements as "McPherson is quite possibly the finest playwright of his generation" from Ben Brantley at the New York Times and "Succinct, startling and eerie, and the funniest McPherson play to date" from the Observer. Jim Norton's performance as Richard Harkin in The Seafarer at The National Theatre won the 2007 Best Supporting Actor Laurence Olivier Award, and he picked up a Tony Award in 2008 for Best Featured Actor in a play.

McPherson wrote and directed a stage adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's story The Birds, which opened in September 2009 at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.

The film of his first screenplay, I Went Down, was critically acclaimed and a great commercial success. His first feature film as a director, Saltwater, won the CICAE award for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival. His second feature film was The Actors, which he wrote and directed.

He is the director and co-writer of The Eclipse, a film which had its world premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. It was picked up for distribution by Magnolia Pictures and was released in US cinemas in Spring 2010.[2] The film subsequently won the Melies D'Argent Award for Best European Film at Sitges in Spain - the world's premier horror and fantasy genre festival. At The 2010 Irish Film and television Awards The Eclipse won the awards for Best Film and Best Screenplay.[3] Ciarán Hinds won the Best Actor Award at the Tribeca Film Festival for his portrayal of Michael Farr.

Theatre Awards[4]

Stewart Parker Award The Good Thief

Meyer Whitworth Award This Lime Tree Bower

Guinness/Royal National Theatre Ingenuity Award This Lime Tree Bower

Pearson TV Writer in Residence Award This Lime Tree Bower

Evening Standard Award The Weir

George Devine Award The Weir

Critics Circle Award The Weir

Laurence Olivier Award The Weir

Tony Award nomination for Best Play Shining City

Tony Award nominations for Best Play and Best Director The Seafarer

Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard nominations for Best Play The Seafarer

Manchester Evening News Award Best Touring Production The Seafarer

Selected films

  • I Went Down (1997) (writer)
  • Endgame (2000) (director)
  • The Actors (2003) (writer & director)
  • The Eclipse (2009) (co-writer & director)


See also


External links

  • Allen Randolph, Jody. "Conor McPherson." Close to the Next Moment: Interviews from a Changing Ireland. Manchester: Carcanet 2010.
  • Grunert, Andrea. "The Eclipse" in: Enzyklopädie des Phantastischen Films, Meitingen: Corian Verlag, 90 (June 2010):1-8, ISBN 9783890484907.

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