Bríd Brennan

Bríd Brennan
Born 1955 (age 6061)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Occupation Actress

Bríd Brennan (born 1955) is a Northern Irish actress[1] of film, stage and television, best known for her theatre work. She originated the role of Agnes in critically acclaimed performances of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa for which she won a Tony Award.[2] She later reprised this role in the film version, starring alongside Meryl Streep and Michael Gambon in 1998.[3]


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 (19921992) 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]

Radio, television and film work

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.[10] Brid also acted in the BBC Play for Today series with fellow Belfast natives Sir Kenneth Branagh and James Ellis.

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.[11]

In 2010, Brennan appeared in the television shows Doctor Who and The Escape Artist, both alongside David Tennant.[12][13]

Brennan gave an award-winning performance in 2012's Shadow Dancer, winning an IFTA for her role as Ma.[14] 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.[15]


Theatre work

Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Winter's Tale Dorcas Abbey Theatre[19]
1990-1992 Dancing at Lughnasa Agnes Abbey Theatre[20][21][22]
National Theatre[23]
Plymouth Theatre[16]
1994 Rutherford and Son Janet National Theatre[5]
1996-1997 Macbeth Lady Macbeth Royal Shakespeare Company[24]
1999 Juno and the Paycock Maisie Madigan Gaiety Theatre
2000-2001 La Lupa Pina Royal Shakespeare Company[25]
2001 The Little Foxes Birdie Hubbard Donmar Warehouse[26]
2003 Absolutely! (Perhaps) Cini Wyndham's Theatre[27]
2004 The Dark Janet Donmar Warehouse[28]
2004 Bone Helen Royal Court Theatre[29]
2004-2005 By the Bog of Cats Catwoman Wyndham's Theatre[30]
2005 The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union Vivienne/Sylvia Donmar Warehouse[30]
2005 Pillars of the Community Marta Bernick National Theatre[31]
2006 Woman and Scarecrow Scarecrow Royal Court Theatre[32]
2006 Doubt Sister Aloysius Beauvier Abbey Theatre[8]
2007 Intemperance Millie Everyman Theatre Liverpool[33]
2008 Brendan at the Chelsea Beatrice Riverside Studios[34]
2008 Bliss Wal-Mart Employee Royal Court Theatre[35]
2008 Dallas Sweetman Mrs Reddan Canterbury Cathedral[36]
2010 Philadelphia, Here I Come! Madge Gaiety Theatre, Dublin[37]
2011 The Veil Mrs Goulding National Theatre[38]
2012 Henry V Chorus/Queen Isabel Shakespeare's Globe[39]
2013 Desolate Heaven Freda/Laoise/Bridie Theatre 503[40]
2013 Sweet Bird of Youth Aunt Nonnie The Old Vic[41]
2013 A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) Jocasta/Jocelyn Derry Playhouse[42]
2014 All My Sons Kate Keller Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park[9]

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 Play for Today Lorna Martin Television series
3 episodes
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[12]
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[13]
3 episodes
2015 Brooklyn "Nettles" Kelly
2016 Florence Foster Jenkins Kitty


  1. 1 2 "Shadow Dancer Final Press Notes". Magnolia Pictures. 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Hennessy, David (8 February 2013). "Out of the Shadows". The Irish World. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  3. 1 2 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. 1 2 "Rutherford & Son". Theatricalia. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Olivier Winners 1995". Olivier Awards. 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. 1 2 "Doubt 2006 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  9. 1 2 "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. "The Unofficial Guide to Cracker". Cracker TV. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  11. 1 2 Power, Paul (29 November 1999). "'General' tops Irish kudos". Variety. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  12. 1 2 Campbell, Mark (2011). Doctor Who: The Episode Guide. London, UK: Oldcastle Books. ISBN 978-1-84243-613-4.
  13. 1 2 "The Escape Artist". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  14. 1 2 "IFTA Film Categories 2013". The Irish Film & Television Academy. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  15. "Radio drama by Thomas Kilroy on RTÉ 1". Abbey Theatre. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  16. 1 2 3 "Dancing at Lughnasa". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  17. "Olivier Winners 2002". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  18. "Award Winners at EIFF 2012". Edinburgh International Film Festival. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  19. "The Winter's Tale 1980 (Peacock)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  20. "Dancing at Lughnasa 1990 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  21. "Dancing at Lughnasa 1991 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  22. "Dancing at Lughnasa 1991 (Abbey)". Abbey Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  23. Friel, Brian (15 December 2011). Dancing at Lughnasa. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-28896-0.
  24. "The Tragedy of Macbeth". RSC Shakespeare. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  25. "La Lupa (RSC)". What's On Stage. 23 January 2001. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  26. Billington, Michael (12 October 2001). "The Little Foxes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  27. Fisher, Philip. "Absolutely! {perhaps}". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  28. Richards, Jonathan. "The Dark". London Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  29. "Bone". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  30. 1 2 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.
  31. Hepple, Peter (3 November 2005). "Pillars of the Community". The Stage. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  32. "Woman and Scarecrow". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  33. "Intemperance". Paul Keogan Lighting Design. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  34. Gardner, Lyn (18 January 2008). "Brendan at the Chelsea". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  35. "Bliss". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  36. Gardner, Lyn (27 September 2008). "Dallas Sweetman". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  37. Hunt Mahoney, Christina (15 March 2010). "Philadelphia, Here I Come!". Irish Theatre Magazine. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  38. Hamilton, Nicholas (5 October 2011). "The Veil". The Stage. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  39. "Henry V [2012]". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  40. Bowie-Sell, Daisy (15 February 2013). "Desolate Heaven, Theatre503, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  41. "Sweet Bird of Youth". Old Vic Theatre. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  42. Crawley, Peter (2 December 2013). "A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)". The Irish Times.

External links

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