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Inventing the MythPolitical Passions and the Ulster Protestant Imagination$
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Connal Parr

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198791591.001.0001

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Ron Hutchinson, Graham Reid, and the Hard Eighties

Ron Hutchinson, Graham Reid, and the Hard Eighties

(p.151) 5 Ron Hutchinson, Graham Reid, and the Hard Eighties
Inventing the Myth

Connal Parr

Oxford University Press

The political and theatrical climate of the 1980s are charted through Graham Reid and Ron Hutchinson, two dramatists who produced their key works in the decade. An apparent (and sentimentalized) ‘golden age’ for Irish and Ulster drama simultaneously accompanied the hardships of deindustrialization. Both writers explored Protestant identity via their exiled trajectories as writers based outside Northern Ireland, reaching large audiences through television drama. Hutchinson—following his Play for Today experiments—would go on to success in America, while Reid’s Billy plays (1982–4) earned plaudits for their depiction of universal working-class life. Through their performed and unproduced projects both Reid and Hutchinson also confront the Reverend Ian Paisley, whose controversial legacy is assessed and contested by other Ulster Protestants, itself a reflection of political diversity within Ulster Protestantism.

Keywords:   Graham Reid, Ron Hutchinson, 1980s, Margaret Thatcher, Ian Paisley, British working class, deindustrialization, television drama

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