An Identity Pieced Together: Northern Irish Protestantism and the Drama of Ron Hutchinson

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Abstract

This article concerns the playwright Ron Hutchinson (1947–), who left Northern Ireland as a child and after growing up in the West Midlands worked in theatre and television before relocating and permanently settling in the United States. The formative influence of Hutchinson’s Northern Protestant background—notably on Rat In the Skull (1984) and his most recent subjective return, Paisley & Me (2012)—is the principal focus of this piece. The 1980s’ theatrical scene in Ulster, Hutchinson’s experience at London’s Royal Court, the impact of exile, and the local political backdrop are all addressed. The article contends that Hutchinson’s complex engagement with Northern Protestantism reveals it to be highly conflicted and diverse. Drawing on contemporary reviews from theatre critics, interviews with political and theatrical personnel—including Hutchinson himself—as well as unpublished scripts, it concludes with a comprehensive assessment of Paisley & Me, which is sketched and probed from its early drafts to final text.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-185
JournalCanadian Journal of Irish Studies
Volume39
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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