Maelíosa’s rich life celebrated amid plans for larger gathering next year


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Maelíosa’s rich life celebrated amid plans for larger gathering next year Maelíosa’s rich life celebrated amid plans for larger gathering next year


One of the most special events during the recent Arts Festival was a low-key gathering at An Taibhdhearc as family and close friends of the late Maelíosa Stafford came together to celebrate his life and his contribution to the arts in Galway and further afield.

Actor and director Maelíosa, who spent so much of his youth in that theatre, died in Sydney on April 10, leaving his family and the broader arts community in deep shock. And while a larger celebration of his life and career will be held in Galway next year, attended by his wife Carolyn and family, this was an occasion where people who had worked with him on various shows through the years could gather and share memories.

They included the playwright Vincent Woods, whose work, At the Black Pig’s Dyke, directed by Maelíosa, became a major success for Druid Theatre in the early 1990s. Maelíosa had taken on the role of Druid’s Artistic Director when its previous incumbent, Garry Hynes moved to the Abbey to take on that role there. He returned to Australia in 1994 when she came back to Druid after leaving the Abbey – Maelíosa had the distinction of being one of only two Artistic Directors at Druid since it was established in the late 1970s.

The former chair of An Taibhdhearc, Aodh Ó Coileáin, had worked closely with Maelíosa through the years, since being introduced to the older man while in An Cumann Drámaíochta at UCG. He introduced proceedings with a short speech that was humorous and moving, making way for Maelíosa’s sister Órflaith, who recalled their youthful days at the historic theatre where their parents, Seán and Máire,  played such a pivotal role.

There was poetry from Mary O’Malley – beautifully apt as she described how music and theatre were capable of making time stand still – and from Vincent, who spoke of his deep friendship with Maelíosa and the plans they’d had to reconnect in Sydney later this month. Sadly, this was not to be, but Vincent expressed the hope that he would visit Carolyn and their family.

Pictured: The late Maeliosa Stafford. PHOTO JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.



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