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The Freedom of the City, 2013

The Freedom of the City, 2013

January/February 2013

by Brian Friel
An Grianán Theatre Productions

Directed by Sean Donegan

First produced in 1973, The Freedom of the City is Brian Friel’s most overtly political play. Set in Derry in 1970, in the aftermath of a Civil Rights meeting, it conjures the events of Bloody Sunday.

Three unarmed marchers, find themselves in the mayor’s parlour in the Guildhall. Michael is an unemployed idealist clinging to a heartbreakingly misguided belief that their innocence will prevail. Skinner is a self-described “freeman of the city,” rough in manners but eloquent in his conviction that everyone has a basic right to live with dignity. And Lily is a stubbornly optimistic housewife and mother of 11 children, living in two rooms with a useless husband and no running water.

Reports and rumours exaggerate their ‘occupation’ and they are shot by British soldiers as they leave. The play documents the victims’ final hours and a subsequent tribunal of the inquiry into their deaths.

As Frank Marcus wrote in The Sunday Telegraph “Friel fleshes the awful, numbing casualty statistics and gives them breath and life”.

An Grianán Theatre returned to the play in the context of the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the revelations from the Saville Enquiry.


Lily – Claire Cogan
Michael – Jason Daly
Skinner – Francis Harkin

The Chorus
Priest – Aidan Oí Sullivan
Soldier – Daniel Gibbons
Soldier – Fionn Robinson
Judge – Edward Flanagan
Police Constable – Mark Magill
Dr. Dodds – Andrew Gavin
Balladeer – Paul Kelly
Major Johnson Hansbury – Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde
Oí Kelly, RT… – Michael Leddy
Derry Citizen – Valerie Bryce
Derry Citizen – Esther McCorkell
Derry Citizen – Bernie Wilson

Director – Sean Donegan
Production Manager/Lighting Designer – Niall Cranney
Stage Manager – Maeve Sweeney
Costume Designer – Joanne Quigley
Sound Designer – Paul Rooney
Marketing and Communications – Diarmaid McCaffrey

Special Thanks
Donegal County Council, the Donegal County Development Board, One Donegal and all our Peace III partners, the RCC and all the RCC staff, Godís Shoestrings, Premier Sale Shop, The Old Courthouse, Alphie McCollum, Donegal County Museum, Mary Faughnan for graphic design, Jason McGroarty for cast headshots.

An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny
Thur 31 Jan- Sat 2 Feb at 8pm

Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey
Thursday 7th Feb at 8.30pm

Alley Theatre, Strabane
Sat 9th Feb at 8pm

Millennium Forum, Derry
Mon 11 Feb at 8pm, Tues 12 Feb at 10.30am

This project was part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

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