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Posted 10 May 2011

McGuinness awarded UK Classical Association Prize

In recognition of his ‘significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics’, UCD Professor Frank McGuinness has been awarded the 2011 Classical Association (UK) Prize.

McGuinness, who is well known for his plays on modern Irish historical and social themes, has produced adaptations of classical tragedies for the modern stage including: Sophocles’ Electra and Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Hecuba and Helen, and Seneca’s Phaedra. They have all achieved critical and popular success.

Performed variously in London, at the National Theatre, the Globe, and the Donmar, and on Broadway, McGuinness’ plays are in the front rank of works which promote Greece and Rome to modern audiences.

The 2011 Classical Association Prize, and a cheque for £5000, was presented to McGuinness, Professor of Creative Writing at the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, on 17 April 2011.

Professor McGuinness is currently working on an operatic version of all three of Sophocles’ Theban plays, with a score by Julian Anderson, which will be performed by the English National Opera in 2013.

The Classical Association is the largest classical organisation in Great Britain. It was founded in 1903 ‘to promote the development and maintain the well-being of classical studies’.

Today, the association has a worldwide membership, and unites the interests of all who value the study of the languages, literature and civilisation of ancient Greece and Rome.

It produces three academic journals and a biannual newsletter, provides grants and bursaries to support classical projects, and supports classics around the UK via a network of local branches.


Professor Frank McGuinness

Born in Buncrana, County Donegal, McGuinness received a scholarship to study at University College Dublin in the early 1970s. He first came to prominence in 1982 with his play ‘The Factory Girls.’ His reputation as a master playwright was firmly established in 1985 when his play ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme’ was staged at the Abbey Theatre and then internationally.

His plays include The Factory Girls (1982), Baglady (1985), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985), Innocence (1986), Cathaginians (1988), Mary and Lizzie (1989), The Bread Man (1991), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (1992), The Bird Sanctuary (1994), Mutabilitie (1997), Dolly West’s Kitchen (1999), Gates of Gold (2002), and There Came a Gypsy Riding (2007).

His translations include Chekhov's Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, Ibsen's Rosmersholm, Sophocles's Electra and Ostrovsky's The Storm.

(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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