Bernard Farrell

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Bernard Farrell
Born Bernard Farrell
Sandycove, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Occupation Playwright
Nationality Ireland
Alma mater CBC Monkstown
Notable works I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell
Notable awards Rooney Prize for Irish Literature

Bernard Farrell (born 1941) is an Irish dramatist, whose contemporary comedies – both light and dark – have been described as "well-wrought, cleverly shaped with a keen sense of absurdity and generally of a topical nature"[1] For the Abbey Theatre, he has served as a Writer-In-Association, as an Advisory Council member, and as a Board Director. He lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow.


Born in Sandycove, Co. Dublin. Both his parents were passionate about the theatre and his childhood was filled with attending plays.[2] Following school at CBC Monkstown and further education at People's College Ballsbridge he worked for Sealink until 1980, when he resigned to write full-time for the theatre. Most of his 21 stage plays have been premiered at either the Abbey Theatre or the Gate Theatre in Dublin or at Red Kettle Theatre in Waterford. These include I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell (1979), Canaries (1980), All in Favour Said No! (1981), All The Way Back (1985), Say Cheese (1987), Forty-Four Sycamore (1992), The Last Apache Reunion (1993), Happy Birthday Dear Alice (1994), Stella By Starlight (1997), Kevin's Bed (1998), The Spirit of Annie Ross (1999), Lovers at Versailles (2002), Many Happy Returns (2005) The Verdi Girls (2007), Wallace, Balfe And Mr. Bunn (2009) and Bookworms which premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 2010 and was revived there in 2012.

Many of his stage plays are in translation and have been performed extensively in North America, Europe and Australia

I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell[edit]

I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell was Farrell's first stage play and is considered to be among his best. It was first performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1979, starring a young Liam Neeson as Roger in one of his first roles.[3]

The play is one of the most popular plays in Ireland where it is often reproduced. It also enjoyed success abroad. In 1982 it received its American premiere when it was toured extensively by Gemini Productions and, in 1988, it has its off-Broadway premiere at the Irish Repertory Theatre New York.

Television and radio drama[edit]

He has also written television drama for both RTÉ and BBC and his radio plays have been widely broadcast and have represented Ireland at the Prix Italia. His television drama includes Lotty Coyle Loves Buddy Holly (RTÉ, 1984); with Graham Reid, Foreign Bodies (BBC, 1985–1988); Glenroe drama series, RTÉ); Radio Waves (RTÉ/BBC 1995). His radio drama includes Gliding With Mrs Gleeson (BBC and RTÉ); The Scholarship Trio (RTÉ); The Final Whistle (RTÉ); When Mr Kelly Met Mozart (RTÉ); The Day Grandad Disappeared (RTÉ); The Year of Jimmy Somers (RTÉ entry for 1987 Prix Italia); The Final Whistle (RTÉ entry for 1992 Prix Italia); Jumping For Joy (RTE); Meeting Michael (RTE) and The Pied Piper with music by Donovan and starring Spike Milligan (RTE).

Awards and honours[edit]

He is a recipient of Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Sunday Tribune Comedy of the Year Award, the Dublin Theatre Festival award for Best Irish Production, and his Kevin's Bed was nominated for Best Play of 1998 in the Irish Times/ESB Theatre Awards. In 1994 he was elected to Aosdána and, in 2014, he received The John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award.



  1. ^ John Barrett "The Thoughtful Comedies of Bernard Farrell" Theatre Ireland magazine 1983.
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