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The Flats (Belfast 1971)


  • Playwright

    John Boyd 

  • Setting

    The present.

  • Synopsis

    The Catholic working-class Donellan family live in a block of flats in 1969 Belfast, which is being patrolled by the British army. The women of the family are anti-violence, but the men seek to actively defend the home and family, describing the struggle of life as being that of privilege versus underprivilege, rather than motivated by religious difference. With tension rising in the area, an angry Protestant crowd begins to march on the flats; meanwhile, a neighbour of the Donellans, and one of the last remaining Protestants in the flats, runs into the street to get help for her ailing mother. Tragedy results, and the play ends with death and mourning.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


Original Production

Original Cast  
Joe Donellan Joe McPartland (1)
Captain Newman of the British Army Michael Menaugh
Sean Cullen Alex McClay
Monica Moore Kathleen McClay
Voice of Radio Free Ulster Liam O'Callaghan
Brid Donellan Maureen Dow
Malachy Murray Jack McQuoid
Adam Bill Hunter
Phil Peter Templar
Gerard Donellan Pat Brannigan
Kathleen Donellan Bernadette Keenan
Production Team  
Director George Mooney
Designer Mary McCracken
Stage Management Sean Burns
Stage Management Cassandra Fusco
Stage Management William Stewart
Wardrobe Maureen Complisson
Sound Recording David Kenny

Published Scripts

  • Title

    Collected Plays 1: The Flats ; The Farm ; Guests.

  • Year


  • Published By

    Blackstaff Press

  • Address

    Blackstaff House, Wildflower Way, Apollo Road
    Belfast BT12 6TA
    Northern Ireland

  • Phone

    + 44 (0)28 9066 8074

  • Email

  • Website

Rights Information

  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    Gavin Boyd

  • Address

    1 The Granary
    Down BT23 5FH
    Northern Ireland

Source Of Information

Information for this entry was taken from the published script, and from the original production programme and press cuttings held at the Theatre and Performing Arts Archive of the Linen Hall Library, Belfast.