Actor, playwright and teacher ‘in a league all of his own’

Maurice Good: Born: June 8th, 1932Died: May 10th, 2013

The actor and dramatic arts lecturer Maurice Good  in a production of  Krapps Last Tape at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Newfoundland where he lectured for many years.

The actor and dramatic arts lecturer Maurice Good in a production of Krapps Last Tape at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Newfoundland where he lectured for many years.


Maurice Good, who has died aged 80, was an actor, playwright and drama teacher who began his career in Dublin, later divided his time between Ireland and the UK and eventually emigrated to Canada.

As a playwright he is best known for John Synge Comes Next, a one-man show based on JM Synge’s writings. It was first produced at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1969, initially at the Players Wills theatre and then at the Peacock.

Godfrey Fitzsimons reviewed it for this newspaper: “To say that Mr Good didn’t disappoint me would be to insult him with understatement; he thrilled me, and the rest of the rather sparse first-night audience with a performance of Synge’s pellucid prose, which everybody who must should travel miles to hear and see.”

Mary Leland praised the show as a “celebration of real human values and human needs” and it was brought on tour to the US, and performed in Berlin and Beirut.

One of four children of Alfred Joseph Good and Mary Ellen Donovan, Good in later life described himself as European from a “Dublin working-class background”. Having taken part in school plays, he began life as an actor touring with Anew MacMaster’s company in the 1950s.

He appeared in a 1954 production of Tennessee Williams’s Glass Menagerie, and Times Pictorial stated that his performance as Jim O’Connor was “a delight”.

He subsequently appeared in the 1955 An Tóstal pageant at Croke Park, and in plays at the Gate and Gas Company Theatre, Dún Laoghaire. Actors with whom he trod the boards include Donal Donnelly, Charles Mitchel and Pauline Delaney, and he worked with directors such as Jim Fitzgerald and Chloe Gibson.

He also broadcast on Raidió Éireann. In England he was associated with the Oxford Playhouse company and the Old Vic Theatre, London.

Television work included playing Phineas Clanton in the Doctor Who story The Gunfighters, and he appeared in Armchair Theatre, The Avengers and Z-Cars. Film credits include the Rising of the Moon (1957), the Siege of Sidney Street (1960) and Quatermass and the Pit (1967).

With his brother John he wrote The Antonietta, based on the Deirdre myth, which was produced at the Gate in 1972. The brothers embarked on a play about Michael Collins, but it was never produced. In 1975 he emigrated to Canada, and spent many years working at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. He wrote Every Inch a Lear (1982), a journal of a festival production of King Lear with Peter Ustinov.

He also appeared in films for Canadian television and the series Night Heat.

In 1989 he joined the staff of the drama faculty at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College of the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

His wife, Susan Malley, said Good preferred being on stage to teaching and often insisted that acting could not be taught. “You either had it or you didn’t,” she said. “But he taught it.”

He formally retired in 1997 though he continued to teach until 2002.

A former student, and later colleague, Patrick Monaghan, described him as “a man of really huge and impressive experience in professional theatre”. Acting graduate Jonny Harris said Good was in “a league all of his own”.

His wife, son Stephen and brother Kevin survive him.