Graham Reid (writer)

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For the New Zealand journalist, see Graham Reid (journalist). For the Australian field hockey player see Graham Reid (sportsman).

J. Graham Reid (born 1945) is a playwright from Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Born into a working-class family in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Reid left school at age 15, served in the British army,[1] married young,[2] but returned to education and graduated from Queen's University in 1976. He became a teacher at Gransha Boys' High School in Bangor, County Down but left in 1980 to concentrate on his writing career.[citation needed] His first play, The Death of Humpty Dumpty is a story about an innocent man who gets caught in the cross fire of the troubles in Belfast.[3]

Characters in his work The Hidden Curriculum were based on pupils and teachers from the school he taught at. His trilogy, colloquially known as the Billy plays, for the BBC's Play for Today series, were his breakthrough works. These are Too Late to Talk to Billy (1982), A Matter of Choice for Billy (1983) and A Coming to Terms for Billy (1984). The lead in these television plays is a young Kenneth Branagh, who had previously worked in Reid's futuristic play Easter 2016, which was screened as part of the BBC's Play for Tomorrow series. It was while working on the later two Billy plays that Reid met the actress Gwen Taylor whom he later married.[4] In 1992 he wrote a screen play for the movie You, Me & Marley.


Name Year first produced Theater first produced
The Death of Humpty Dumpty 1979 Abbey Theatre, Dublin
The Closed Door 1980 Abbey Theatre
Dorothy 1980 Oscar Theatre, Dublin
The Hidden Curriculum 1982 Abbey Theatre
Callers 1985 Abbey Theatre
Too Late to Talk to Billy 1982 Television
A Matter of Choice for Billy 1983 Television
A Coming to Terms for Billy 1984 Television
Lengthening Shadows 1995 Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Love, Billy 2013 The Lyric Theatre, Belfast, UK
Love 1995 West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, UK
Remembrance 1984 Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Ties Of Blood 1985 Television

Remembrance, perhaps his most popular play, is a story about a Protestant widower and a Catholic widow who meet at their murdered sons' graves and fall in love over the objections of their surviving children. The play has been performed all over the world: 18 months in Tel Aviv (in Hebrew), over eight months at Irish Arts Center in Manhattan, and at the Old Globe, San Diego.[3] The play was performed by the Tara Players of Winnipeg at the first Acting Irish International Theatre Festival in 1994.