Maelíosa Stafford RIP

Druid mourns the passing of its former Artistic Director and lifelong friend, Maelíosa Stafford.

11 April 2023

Maelíosa first joined Druid in 1978 and played a pivotal role in the history of the company, not only as an actor but also as Druid’s Artistic Director from 1991 to 1994.

His Druid directing credits include: At the Black Pig’s Dyke, Song of the Yellow Bittern, Belfry, and The Midnight Court.

His Druid acting credits include: The Lonesome West, Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark, The Playboy of the Western World, The Colleen Bawn, The Wood of the Whispering, Carthaginians, Cheapside and Lovers Meeting.

Our thoughts are with Maelíosa’s family and friends in Ireland and Australia including his wife Carolyn, his children, his sister Orfhlaith, and his colleagues at O’Punksky’s Theatre.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Garry Hynes, Druid Co-Founder and Artistic Director: ‘One winter’s evening in the 1970s, Maelíosa put his shoulder underneath a load of wood that the Druid lads were carrying from T Ó hUiginn in Shantallah down to the Fo’castle in Dominick Street. "Here lads, I’ll help ye with that,” he said. Maelíosa continued to do just that through many decades, including meeting and marrying Carolyn in Australia and spending three years as Artistic Director of Druid in the early 1990s. He was a terrific character actor and exceptionally talented as a director forging one of Druid’s greatest successes by commissioning and subsequently directing At the Black Pig’s Dyke by Vincent Woods. This production, designed by the late Monica Frawley, got stellar reviews, toured throughout Ireland and abroad and remains one of the most memorable in the Druid repertoire. While Maelíosa made his home in Sydney, he continued to work with Druid occasionally, most recently as Dada in Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark. He is an essential part of the Druid story, gone way too soon and we will miss him very much. My heart goes out to his family in Sydney and Ireland.’

Marie Mullen, Druid Co-Founder and Druid Ensemble member: ‘Maelíosa cared so much about theatre, acting and Druid. He was a terrific actor – Junior in Conversations on a Homecoming by Tom Murphy comes to mind and Paddy in I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell by Bernard Farrell. He was such a brilliant comedic talent. He directed a most wonderful production of At the Black Pig’s Dyke by Vincent Woods. We will miss him so much, he was such a positive force.’

Image: Maelíosa Stafford (centre) with Rory Nolan, Michael Glenn Murphy, Edwin Mullane and Gavin Drea in DruidMurphy: A Whistle in the Dark by Tom Murphy, directed by Garry Hynes; photo by Colm Hogan.