Shane Connaughton (born April 4, 1941 in Kingscourt) is an Irish writer and actor, probably best known as co-writer of the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for ‘My Left Foot’ (1989). He also co-wrote the screenplays for the Academy Award-winning 1980 short film ‘The Dollar Bottom’ and 1992 film ‘The Playboys’, ‘Tara Road’ (2005) as well as other screenplays and plays. He won the Hennessy Award in 1985.
Connaughton is the author of the books ‘A Border Station’ (1989), The ‘Run of the Country’ (1991), and ‘Big Parts’ (2009). He adapted The Run of the Country for the screen in 1995 and published a book about its filming, ‘A Border Diary’, the same year. ‘A Border Station’, a short story collection, was a bestseller in Ireland and was shortlisted for the Guinness Peat Award.
He has written plays for several theatre companies, including the Dublin Theatre Festival and the National Theatre in London. Having toured select venues in Ireland, his 2012 play ‘The Pitch’ has been well received in the UAE and is scheduled for additional venues across the Far East and America in 2013. His 1989 novel, ‘A Border Station’, is scheduled for film production in 2013 / 2014.
My Left Foot (1989)
103 min | Biography - Drama | Uk/Ireland | Certificate: 12 | Ferndale Films |
Dir: Jim Sheridan. Screenplay: Shane Connaughton and Jim Sheridan. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Ray McAnally, Fiona Shaw, Hugh O'Conor, Kirsten Sheridan.
Quotes Mrs. Brown: “Go ahead, Christy. Make your mark”.
In this true story told through flashbacks, Christy Brown is born with crippling cerebral palsy into a poor, working-class Irish family. Able only to control movement in his left foot and to speak in guttural sounds, he is mistakenly believed to be retarded for the first ten years of his life. Later, through the help of his strong-willed mother, a dedicated teacher, and his own courage and determination, Christy not only learns to grapple with life's simple physical tasks and complex psychological pains, but he also develops into a brilliant painter, poet and author.
A Border Station (1989)
by Shane Connaughton | Fiction Novel | Warner Books
This adroitly crafted, intensely dramatic first novel is composed of seven interlocking stories. In an intimate, autobiographical tone, the author recreates the stages of his young hero's discovery of the intricacies of relationships--with his parents, his religion, his peers. The son of a burly police sergeant whose beat is the border of Northern Ireland, the young boy is not entirely separated from the sensitive mother he adores. This makes for a troubling relationship with his often coarse, larger-than-life father; yet it is this parent's approval he craves. Written in spare yet lyrical prose, these sometimes poignant, often hilarious stories capture the mosaic of contemporary Irish life, while following the boy's awakening to sexuality and the power of Catholicism, and his eventual break with childhood.
The Playboys (1992)
114 min | Drama - Romance - Art House & International | Ireland | PG-13 | Castle Rock Entertainment • Columbia Pictures Corporation |
Dir: Gillies MacKinnon. Screenplay: Shane Connaughton, Kerry Crabbe. Starring Albert Finney, Aidan Quinn, Robin Wright, Milo O'Shea, Alan Devlin, Niamh Cusack.
A young woman, Tara Maguire (Robin Wright) scandalizes her provincial Irish village in the 1950s by having a baby out of a wedlock, and refusing to name the father. She has a rare beauty and every man in town desires her, especially Sergeant Hegarty (Albert Finney). The arrival of a dramatic troupe stirs things up even more, especially when she falls in love with one f the "Playboys", Tom Casey (Aidan Quinn)
The Run of the Country (1995)
109 min | Drama | Romance | Ireland | Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Dir: Peter Yates. Toby Yates. Writer: Shane Connaughton (novel and screenplay). Starring Albert Finney, Matt Keeslar, Victoria Smurfit, Anthony Brophy, David Kelly, Dearbhla Molloy.
Quotes: Prunty: “Say nothing 'till you hear more”.
This drama intertwined political and generational conflict for an unusual tale of teen romance in Ireland between 18-year-old Danny (Matt Keeslar) and a beautiful, red-haired northerner, Annagh (Victoria Smurfit). Set against the backdrop of a tiny, boring County Cavan village just south of the border between northern and southern Ireland, emerging sexual tensions between Danny and Annagh are complicated by the circumstances surrounding the death of Danny’s mother, his friendship with free-wheeling Prunty (Anthony Brophy) and, ultimately, his relationship with his ambitious and bigoted policeman father (Albert Finney).
Tara Road (2005)
97 min | Ireland | Drama | Certificate: 12A | Noel Pearson Productions
Dir: Gillies MacKinnon. Screenplay: Cynthia Cidre, Shane Connaughton. Starring Olivia Williams, Andie MacDowell, Johnny Brennan, Iain Glen, Jennifer Buckley, Stephen Rea.
Tagline : Sometimes you must lose your life to find a new one...
Two grieving women -- one American, one Irish -- swap houses and alter the course of their lives. A Dublin mother Ria, whose husband discloses he's in love with a woman already pregnant, and Marilyn, a Connecticut Yankee whose son has died. Marilyn finds solace in Ria's garden and becomes friends with Colm, a local with a restaurant and his own demons. Ria gets a job cooking, has a date or two, and gradually comes out of her shell. The house on Tara Road comes to stand for the past, for possibilities, and for what can be lost.
Big Parts (2009)
by Shane Connaughton | Fiction Novel | Muswell Press
A very funny book, Big Parts, is keenly observed and literally a compassionate account of a derelict house in non-genteel Camden and its motley-crew of tenants. The New Building Housing Trust, the landlord, wants to decant them to the distant borders of Camden. They will not be pushed around. The tenants’ rearguard action against the bureaucrats is rich with comedy. It’s a harsh reality but they are not overwhelmed by the ranks of the po-faced. Connaughton, like Tom Sharpe, catches the madness of the annoyed. Written in a stream of consciousness mode, it leads top moments of hilarious disarray – Connaughton has captured the mode and manners at the heart of Camden and ultimately the sadness and hope of a community - keenly observed, bathed in humanity and love.
The Pitch (2012)
by Shane Connaughton | Theatre play
Like Philoctetes abandoned by his comrades as they go off to fight the Trojan War, Philly is tormented by painful memories and the unjust fate that holds him prisoner as he replays the events of that day when his club won the county championship for the one and only time and he wasn’t allowed to play. Accused of fathering an illegitimate child, and now threatened with retirement to a nursing home, he holds tight to the memory of the Herculean feats of his youth – and to the land on which these dramas unfolded. For him, the old pitch is sacred ground, and it is here that he will make his last stand.
The Pitch has toured theatre venues and GAA clubs nationwide, Winter 2011 /12, and in the Spring of 2012 toured Bahrain and the Middle East. It is currently scheduled to tour the Far East and the US.
What the Critics say:
"An outstanding performance in a unique production that is as moving as it is funny. Spellbinding, superbly original and highly recommended" - Paddy Bush.
A promotional film for The Moth Production of Shane Connaughton's play, The Pitch, in association with The GAA Social Initiative and Calor Gas.