The Lost Tribe in the Mirror: Four Playwrights of Northern Ireland (paperback)

Philip Johnston

About the book…

The Lost Tribe in the Mirror explores the legacies of four Northern Irish playwrights: Sam Thompson, Stewart Parker, Gary Mitchell and Marie Jones.

Johnston’s engaging and balanced study focuses on the four writers’ central concern: the laying out and reconfiguration of the Northern Irish Protestant imagination. Beginning with the Ulster Literary Theatre ­ a problematic offshoot of the Celtic Renaissance ­ Johnston charts the peculiarities, tones, and strategies of Protestant self-expression on stage. From Sam Thompson’s brutal expose of sectarianism in Over the Bridge, Stewart Parker’s more playful explorations of the Protestant psyche, to the experimental responses to post-ceasefire ‘troubles’ and dilemmas of Gary Mitchell and Marie Jones, Johnston highlights the cultural and personal tensions between artists and the dramatisation of their communities.

Photo of the author, Philip Johnston

About the author…

Philip Johnston currently teaches in the dance and theatre departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before leaving his native Belfast in 1978, where he danced for the Belfast Modern Dance Group under the direction of Helen Lewis, he had worked for the Lyric Players Theatre and the Belfast Arts Theatre. 

Based in London, his career, in dance, took him to major dance festivals throughout the world. He is the recipient of many professional awards from the United Kingdom, United States and Norway, where he directed the Norwegian Modern Dance Theatre. Philip has presented papers at theatre and dance conferences in the United States. He is also a contributing writer for the Encyclopedia of Europe.