Behan, Brendan

Brendan Behan
Brendan Behan. Image source

Brendan Behan (known in Irish as Breandán Ó Beacháin) was born in Dublin in 1923.

He served in Borstal (juvenile prison) for his activities in the IRA, and his experiences formed the background for his most important work.

His plays are The Quare Fellow (Dublin, The Pike Theatre, 1954/London, Theatre Royal, 1956[the famous production by Joan Littlewood]); An Giall (commisioned by Gael Linn, 1958), translated by Behan as The Hostage (London, Theatre Royal, 1958); Richard’s Cork Leg (1965, unfinished but posthumously produced by Alan Simpson, Dublin, Peacock Theatre, March 1972, featuring The Dubliners).

His radio plays are The Big House (BBC, 1957, later adapted for stage by Alan Simpson); Moving Out (Radio Éireann, 1967); A Garden Party (Radio Éireann, 1967).

His plays are published as The Quare Fellow (London, Metheun, 1956); The Hostage (Methuen, 1959); The Complete Plays (New York, Grove Press, 1978); and Poems and a Play in Irish (Oldcastle, Gallery Books, 1981).

As well as his autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy (London, Corgi Books, 1958), he published
Brendan Behan’s Island – An Irish Sketchbook (London, Hutchinson, 1962); and Brendan Behan’s New York (Hutchinson, 1964).

His posthumous publications include Hold Your Hour and Have Another (Hutchinson); The Scarperer (Hutchinson); Moving Out and A Garden Party (Proscenium Press); Confessions of an Irish Rebel (Hutchinson, 1965); After the Wake (New York, Devin-Adair, 1983); The Letters of Brendan Behan (McGill Queens Univ Press, 1992); The King of Ireland’s Son (Orchard Books, 1996); and The Dubbalin Man (A&A Farmar, 1998).

He died in the Meath Hospital, Dublin on March 20, 1964.

Brendan Behan -fighting words part 1

brendan behan appearing on an canadian tv show
Brendan Behan-fighting words part 2

Look Back at Brendan Behan RTÉ Archive [requires real audio; may take time to load]
Brendan Behan at Irish Playography
Brendan Behan at The National Library of Ireland