Dr Christopher Fitz-Simon     Photo: © Michael Fisher

Dr Christopher Fitz-Simon Photo: © Michael Fisher

The first in a series of talks organised by the Friends of Monaghan Museum was held tonight in the Museum. The guest speaker was Dr Christopher Fitz-Simon from Dublin. He read from his memoir of childhood ‘Eleven Houses’, published by Penguin in 2008 in which he remembers the 1940s and living at Aviemore, Hill Street, Monaghan, Annaghmakerrig, Doohat, Newbliss, Eldron, Smithborough, Mount Louise and other houses in adjoining counties. It was very witty in parts and it was a pleasure to listen to his reminiscences. Christopher is a former director of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and was a Ppoducer with RTÉ Television.

From  born Belfast [Christopher O’Connell Fitz-simon]; descendant of Daniel O’Connell and Protestant unionists; son of army officer in WWII Middle East) and placed in care of relatives during war; raised a Catholic and brought up in Monaghan, Dublin, Down, Tyrone and Clare; grad. TCD; editor of Icarus; chair of the Dublin University Players; worked in theatre and broadcasting in N. America; appt. drama producer with RTÉ TV; appt. artistic director of the Irish Theatre Company; literary manager and artistic director of Abbey and Peacock (National Theatre Society); author of a radio plays and dramatisations on Boucicault, Bowen, Colum, Forzano, Joyce, Forest Reid, Giraudoux, Somerville & Ross, Stoker and Wilde, and others, including Irish murders; issued The Arts in Ireland (1982), The Irish Theatre (1983); with Sanford Sternlicht, ed., New Plays from the Abbey (1999); acted as visiting professor at the University of Ulster, and completed a doctorate there, “Popular Irish Drama in the Decade Leading up to the Opening of the Abbey Theatre” (PhD Diss., UU Coleraine 2003); 100 Years of the Abbey Theatre (2003); lectures on Irish theatre in four continents; his play Speranza, about Oscar Wilde’s mother, conceived as a radio monologue, was produced by Little Elf at Andrew’s Lane Studio (Aug 28 2003); lectured at Princess Grace Irish Library, Spring 2003.

Theatre history, The Irish Theatre [Eason Heritage Ser., 26] (Dublin: Eason 1979), 24pp., ill. [ports.]; (The Arts in Ireland: A Chronology (Dublin: Gil & Macmillan 1982), xiv, 257pp. [Bibl., pp.248-250]; The Irish Theatre (London: Thames & Hudson 1983), 208p; The Boys: A Double Biography (London: Nick Hern 1994), 320p, [16]pp. [on Michael MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards]; The Abbey Theatre: Ireland’s National Theatre the First Hundred Years (London: Thames & Hudson 2003), 208pp., ill.; Players and Painted Stage: Aspects of the 20th-century Theatre in Ireland (Dublin: New Island 2004), 200pp. [contribs. Nicholas Grene, Emer O’Kelly, Christopher Murray, Lynda Henderson, Joe Dowling, Alan Titley & Anthony Roche]. See also “Popular Irish drama in the decade leading up to the opening of the Abbey Theatre”, 3 vols. (PhD diss., University of Ulster 2004).

Dr Christopher Fitz-Simon     Photo: © Michael Fisher

Dr Christopher Fitz-Simon Photo: © Michael Fisher

Autobiography, Eleven Houses: A Memoir of Childhood (Penguin Ireland 2007), 304pp. Miscellaneous, The Irish Village, with photographs by Robin Morrison & commentaries by Fitz-Simon (London: Thames & Hudson 1986), [128]pp., ill. [col., map]; The Most Beautiful Villages of Ireland, with photographs by Hugh Palmer (London: Thames & Hudson 2000), 208pp. [32 cm].

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