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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bríd Brennan (born 1955) is an Irish actress[1] who is known for her film, TV and theatre work. She originated the role of Agnes in the Brian Friel play Dancing at Lughnasa, for which she won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[2] She is also a three-time Olivier Award nominee; for Rutherford and Son (1995), The Little Foxes (2002) and The Ferryman (2018).

As well as her roles in the films Maeve 1982, Anne Devlin 1984 and Mike Leigh's Four days in July 1985, Brennan reprised her role of Agnes in the 1998 film version of Dancing at Lughnasa, starring alongside Meryl Streep.[3] Her television credits include Cracker: Brotherly Love (1995), South Riding (2011) and The Escape Artist (2013).

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Early work

Beginning her acting career in Dublin, Brennan appeared in many of the major theatres including the Gate Theatre, the Abbey Theatre and the Gaiety Theatre, as well as touring community centres with Moving Theatre.[4]

Theatre work

Brennan created the role of Agnes Mundy in Brian Friel's play Dancing at Lughnasa (1990). She played the role in the original Dublin, West End and Broadway (1992–1992) productions, winning the 1992 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[2]

Brennan portrayed the character Janet in the National Theatre's 1994 production of Rutherford and Son and was subsequently nominated for an Olivier Award the following year.[5][6] She then went on to play the lead role of Lady Macbeth in the Royal Shakespeare Company's national tour of Macbeth in 1996–1997.

In 1999, Brennan played Maisie Madigan in Pearson's production of Juno and the Paycock at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, alongside Michael Gambon whom she had previously appeared with in the 1998 film adaptation of Dancing at Lughnasa.[3][7] In 2002, Brennan was again nominated for an Olivier award for her performance in the Donmar Warehouse's 2001 production of The Little Foxes. In 2006, she starred as Sister Aloysius in a production of Doubt at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.[8]

In March 2014 it was announced that she had been cast in the role of Kate Keller in Arthur Miller's All My Sons, playing at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park in May/June 2014, performing alongside Tom Mannion and Charles Aitken, the latter of whom she had previously performed with in The Old Vic's 2013 production of Sweet Bird of Youth.[9]

In April 2017, she appeared in The Ferryman at the Royal Court Theatre, ahead of a transfer to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.[10]

Radio, television and film work

Brennan acted in the much acclaimed Billy trilogy of plays for the BBC Play for Today series (1982-84) with fellow Belfast natives Sir Kenneth Branagh and James Ellis. In 1984, Brennan played Collette, one of the main characters in Mike Leigh's television film, Four Days in July, based on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

On Saturday 31 October 1992, she starred in the infamous BBC One's Screen One Halloween drama Ghostwatch alongside Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Craig Charles. This ghost story, written by Stephen Volk, was produced in the style of a live television broadcast from an alleged haunted house in North London. Brennan appeared as the mother of the house Pamela Early, who along with her two young daughters was experiencing paranormal events in their house. The drama caused uproar in the UK, with many feeling it was a hoax, designed to let the viewers think it was a real, live show and not a drama. However it did make Brennan become well known, as 11 million viewers tuned into "Ghostwatch" on that Halloween night of 1992.[11][12]

Brennan featured as a guest star in the British television series Cracker in 1995 as a prostitute-hating killer in the episode "Brotherly Love". Coincidentally, she co-starred in this particular episode with fellow Irish actor Lorcan Cranitch, with whom she would later co-star in Dancing at Lughnasa.[13]

She reprised her performance of Agnes on screen in Noel Pearson's film adaptation of Dancing at Lughnasa (1998), starring Meryl Streep, for which Brennan won an Irish Film & Television Award for Best Actress.[14]

In 2010, Brennan appeared in the television shows Doctor Who and The Escape Artist, both alongside David Tennant.[15][16]

Brennan gave an award-winning performance in 2012's Shadow Dancer, winning an IFTA for her role as Ma.[17] According to the director James Marsh, the fact that she had grown up in West Belfast during the Troubles was significant as by casting Irish actors "it felt that they knew this world better than I did and I felt they could help me and guide me".[1]

For RTÉ Radio 1, Brennan played the role of Lucia Joyce in Thomas Kilroy's In the Garden of the Asylum in 2009.[18]

In 2021 she appeared in the Irish-language crime thriller Doineann, along with Peter Coonan.


Theatre work

Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Winter's Tale Dorcas Abbey Theatre[22]
1990–1992 Dancing at Lughnasa Agnes Abbey Theatre[23][24][25]
National Theatre[26]
Plymouth Theatre[19]
1994 Rutherford and Son Janet National Theatre[5]
1996–1997 Macbeth Lady Macbeth Royal Shakespeare Company[27]
1999 Juno and the Paycock Maisie Madigan Gaiety Theatre
2000–2001 La Lupa Pina Royal Shakespeare Company[28]
2001 The Little Foxes Birdie Hubbard Donmar Warehouse[29]
2003 Absolutely! (Perhaps) Cini Wyndham's Theatre[30]
2004 The Dark Janet Donmar Warehouse[31]
2004 Bone Helen Royal Court Theatre[32]
2004–2005 By the Bog of Cats Catwoman Wyndham's Theatre[33]
2005 The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union Vivienne/Sylvia Donmar Warehouse[33]
2005 Pillars of the Community Marta Bernick National Theatre[34]
2006 Woman and Scarecrow Scarecrow Royal Court Theatre[35]
2006 Doubt Sister Aloysius Beauvier Abbey Theatre[8]
2007 Intemperance Millie Everyman Theatre Liverpool[36]
2008 Brendan at the Chelsea Beatrice Riverside Studios[37]
2008 Bliss Wal-Mart Employee Royal Court Theatre[38]
2008 Dallas Sweetman Mrs Reddan Canterbury Cathedral[39]
2010 Philadelphia, Here I Come! Madge Gaiety Theatre, Dublin[40]
2011 The Veil Mrs Goulding National Theatre[41]
2012 Henry V Chorus/Queen Isabel Shakespeare's Globe[42]
2013 Desolate Heaven Freda/Laoise/Bridie Theatre503[43]
2013 Sweet Bird of Youth Aunt Nonnie The Old Vic[44]
2013 A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) Jocasta/Jocelyn Derry Playhouse[45]
2014 All My Sons Kate Keller Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park[9]
2016 All That Fall Mrs. Rooney Wilton's Music Hall[46]
2017 The Ferryman Aunt Maggie Far Away Royal Court Theatre & Gielgud Theatre transfer[10]
2019 Blood Wedding La Vecina The Young Vic[47]

Filmography and television work

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Excalibur Lady in Waiting
1982 Maeve Roisin
1982 The Ballroom of Romance Patty Byrne
1982–1984 The Billy Plays Trilogy on Play for Today Lorna Martin Television series
3 episodes opposite Kenneth Branagh.
1984 Anne Devlin Anne Devlin
1985 Four Days in July Collette
1985 Ursula and Glenys Ursula
1987 Hidden City The Wife  – in B&W film
1987 Lorna Lorna
1989 Screen One Lillian's Nurse Television series
1 episode
1990 Who Bombed Birmingham? Sister of IRA man
1991 4 Play Susan Turnbull Television series
1 episode
1992 Ghostwatch Pamela Early
1992 Tell Tale Hearts Sally McCann Television mini-series
1993 Performance Thea Elvsted Television series
1994 Guinevere Morgan L'Fei
1994 Words Upon the Window Pane Stella
1995 Cracker Maggie Harvey Television series
3 episodes
1996 Trojan Eddie Betty
1996 Saint-Ex Simone de Saint-Exupéry
1998 Dancing at Lughnasa Agnes Mundy
1999 Felicia's Journey Mrs Lysaght
1999 Topsy-Turvy Mad Woman
2002 Sunday Mrs Young
2002 Any Time Now Emily Moggin Television series
4 episodes
2004 The Clinic Sheila McNamara Television series
1 episode
2008 Trial & Retribution Gemma Webster Television series
1 episode
2009 Swansong: Story of Occi Byrne Theresa Byrne
2009 Father & Son Maternity Clinic Doctor Television series
1 episode
2010 Doctor Who The Visionary Television series[15]
1 episode
2010 Little Crackers Sister Mary Bernadette Television series
1 episode
2011 South Riding Miss Sigglesthwaite Television miniseries
2 episodes
2012 Shadow Dancer Ma
2012 Upstairs Downstairs Miss Poulson Television Series
1 episode
2012 Casualty Jane Flynn Television series
1 episode
2013 The Escape Artist Mary Television series[16]
3 episodes
2015 Brooklyn "Nettles" Kelly
2016 Florence Foster Jenkins Kitty
2016–2017 Peaky Blinders Audrey Changretta Television series
2 episodes
2021 Doineann Labhaoise Irish-language
2021–present Hope Street Concepta O’Hare Television series; main role
2022 My Sailor, My Love Annie Movie


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Hennessy, David (8 February 2013). "Out of the Shadows". The Irish World. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (13 November 1998). "Dancing at Lughnasa (1998) Film Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  4. ^ Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Daniel, ed. (2000). Who's who in Contemporary World Theatre. Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-41514-161-1.
  5. ^ a b "Rutherford & Son". Theatricalia. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Olivier Winners 1995". Olivier Awards. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Juno and the Paycock". The Cillian Site. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Doubt 2006 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Tom Mannion, Brid Brennan and More Star in ALL MY SONS at Regent's Park Open Air, May 15". Broadway World. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Cast and West End transfer confirmed for Sam Mendes' The Ferryman". 8 February 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  11. ^ "FAQ".
  12. ^ "Ghostwatch (TV Movie 1992) – IMDb". IMDb.
  13. ^ "The Unofficial Guide to Cracker". Cracker TV. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  14. ^ a b Power, Paul (29 November 1999). "'General' tops Irish kudos". Variety. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b Campbell, Mark (2011). Doctor Who: The Episode Guide. London, UK: Oldcastle Books. ISBN 978-1-84243-613-4.
  16. ^ a b "The Escape Artist". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  17. ^ a b "IFTA Film Categories 2013". The Irish Film & Television Academy. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Radio drama by Thomas Kilroy on RTÉ 1". Abbey Theatre. 21 December 2009. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  19. ^ a b c "Dancing at Lughnasa". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Olivier Winners 2002". Olivier Awards. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  21. ^ "Award Winners at EIFF 2012". Edinburgh International Film Festival. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  22. ^ "The Winter's Tale 1980 (Peacock)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  23. ^ "Dancing at Lughnasa 1990 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Dancing at Lughnasa 1991 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  25. ^ "Dancing at Lughnasa 1991 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  26. ^ Friel, Brian (15 December 2011). Dancing at Lughnasa. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-28896-0.
  27. ^ "The Tragedy of Macbeth". RSC Shakespeare. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  28. ^ "La Lupa (RSC)". What's on Stage. 23 January 2001. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  29. ^ Billington, Michael (12 October 2001). "The Little Foxes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  30. ^ Fisher, Philip. "Absolutely! {perhaps}". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  31. ^ Richards, Jonathan. "The Dark". London Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  32. ^ "Bone". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  33. ^ a b Fisher, Philip. "The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  34. ^ Hepple, Peter (3 November 2005). "Pillars of the Community". The Stage. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  35. ^ "Woman and Scarecrow". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  36. ^ "Intemperance". Paul Keogan Lighting Design. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  37. ^ Gardner, Lyn (18 January 2008). "Brendan at the Chelsea". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  38. ^ "Bliss". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  39. ^ Gardner, Lyn (27 September 2008). "Dallas Sweetman". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  40. ^ Hunt Mahoney, Christina (15 March 2010). "Philadelphia, Here I Come!". Irish Theatre Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  41. ^ Hamilton, Nicholas (5 October 2011). "The Veil". The Stage. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  42. ^ "Henry V [2012]". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  43. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (15 February 2013). "Desolate Heaven, Theatre503, review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  44. ^ "Sweet Bird of Youth". Old Vic Theatre. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  45. ^ Crawley, Peter (2 December 2013). "A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)". The Irish Times.
  46. ^ Billington, Michael (24 March 2016). "All That Fall review – Beckett's best play brought to life for blindfolded audience". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  47. ^ "Blood Wedding". Young Vic Theatre. Retrieved 24 May 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 March 2024, at 21:28
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