Searching for Innocent Bystander




I need help with a project I am currently working on.  In May 2014 I completed my dissertation From the Political to the Personal: Interrogation, Imprisonment, and Sanction In the Prison Drama of Seamus Byrne and Brendan Behan. I found this work to be extremely interesting and satisfying especially because the study of Irish Theatre in the 20th Century has been central to my academic work. One of my immediate discoveries was while an abundance of research has been done on Brendan Behan, very little has been written on Seamus Byrne.



I am currently working on a book focused on Seamus Byrne. In it, I will examine his life and his three plays that were produced. His last play, Innocent Bystander, is presenting itself as the most mysterious. According to the site, PlayographyIreland, it was produced at the Abbey Theatre in November of 1951. Other than some small pieces of information, I have found neither a copy of the play itself nor more specific and detailed accounting of the production.



I was wondering if any of you have any suggestions about places to hunt for this play in Ireland. I have contacted the Irish National Library, which has a manuscript copy, but the fee for them doing the copying is extremely high.

Thank you in advance for any help or suggestions you might have!



28 thoughts on “Searching for Innocent Bystander

      • I am Susanna’s editor friend. I thought of Trinity College too: perhaps it would be cheaper for copying than the National Library. I will ask a friend who did a thesis on Behan if he has any suggestions. Kenny’s bookshop in Galway has a reputation for being helpful in finding old publications: you could contact them and ask their advice.


      • Hello, It is a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for your suggestions. And if your friend has any ideas, or if you come up with anything else, I would appreciate it greatly. Your help is very kind.


  1. Quite the intriguing mystery! The focus of Behan and Byrne for your dissertation strikes as a subject that surely netted you an engaging final submission. That the dissertation followed onto a book idea sounds like you found Byrne fascinating. Indeed he is–and his writing. You probably have already done so but writing directly to The Abbey would be my best idea for (re)starting your hunt for the elusive ‘Innocent Bystander.’ The National Library may prove your sole source. I’ll hunt around, see if any contacts I have know anything. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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