Druid Theatre collects top award


Druid Theatre Company's production of The Beauty Queen Of Leenane by Martin McDonagh has been deemed the best Irish production in the Dublin Theatre Festival in the Reuters Festival Choice Awards. The award for the best international production has gone to Stephane Brauschweig's production of Measure For Measure by William Shakespeare, a co-production between the Edinburgh International Festival, the Nottingham Playhouse and the Barbican Centre, London. New Kid, presented by the Canadian Green Thumb Theatre Company, has won the award for the best children's production.

This is the first time Reuters has sponsored these awards. The judging panel included broadcaster, Anne Marie Hourihane, playwright, Marina Carr, and the novelist, Deirdre Purcell. Three children, Yan and Mia Bourke and Seona Bushe, judged the children's award.

McDonagh's Beauty Queen, directed by Garry Hynes, has been winning accolades since it premiered in Galway over a year ago. The first of the playwright'sLeenane Trilogy, it tells the story of a bitter unmarried woman of 40, played by Marie Mullen, and her vicious relationship with her meddling mother, played by Anna Manahan.

The play has toured widely in Ireland, including Leenane, Co Galway, and has also played to great acclaim in London. It is due to play in New York next year.

This is the Galway-based company's first visit to the Dublin Theatre Festival since 1989.

The Leenane Trilogy has been one of the biggest festival successes, attracting full houses at the Olympia Theatre. Measure For Measure, a demanding production of a difficult play, failed to capture the public's imagination as much as some other foreign productions, such as Phaedra and Titus Andronicus, directed by Silviu Purcarete. The last festival opening is tonight: Elsinore, directed by Robert Lepage.