Critically acclaimed “Trad” returns to Tir Na Theatre

Stephen Russell, Colin Hamell and Derry Woodhouse journey on in “Trad,” from Nov. 30 – Dec. 18 at Boston Center for the Arts.

Courtesy: Tir Na Theatre


Tir Na Theatre is remounting one of its most acclaimed productions.  Artistic Director Colin Hamell has announced the company will present Mark Doherty’s “Trad” from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18 at Boston Center for the Arts’ Black Box Theatre.

The cast features Hamell as Da, Derry Woodhouse as Thomas, and Stephen Russell  as Sal and Father Rice.  In 2010, Tir Na Theatre staged “Trad” both to critical acclaim and sold-out houses. 

A witty fable about tradition in a very mad place, “Trad” follows a 170-year-old widower and his 100-year-old son. When the father begins a tirade about the family line dying out, the son confesses that he secretly fathered a child some 70 years before. Despite the son having one arm and the father having one leg, the two old men set off from their humble west Ireland home in search of the long lost “child.”

When the play was originally presented at the Galway Arts Festival, it was hailed as “bold, brilliant, and funny” with “dialogue as rich and thought-provoking as it is frequently hilarious.”

Hamell made a mental note of the production and followed the success of “Trad” as it traveled from Galway to Australia and New Zealand. Along the way, it won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

As Hamell previously told Boston Irish, “I thought, well, there’s a play that’s kind of proven its international appeal. And it’s a play that I could cast properly here [in Boston]. And it’s a play that only has three actors,” providing fiscal efficiency for a small theater company.

He said the play’s father-son relationship offers audiences a universal connection. “The father still keeps correcting and telling the son what to do, the way that all our fathers do no matter how old you get. It’s a role the father can’t stop playing. It’s very sweet in a way, too, because at the end of the play, they have their first kind of heart-to-heart, where the father actually tells the son what he means to him. I think a lot of people can relate to that. . . So it kind of packs that little punch. . . I think it’s going to leave people with a nice glow at the end of the evening.”

Hamell, originally from Navan in County Meath, arrived in Boston in 1991, purely for a visit.  He had been attending drama school in Dublin when “they were giving out a lot of green cards for Irish people to come to America . . . I actually had no inclination to come, but I got one in the mail, and if you got one, you had to come for at least a week.”  

A week turned into a year, one year turned into two, and he’s been here ever since, eventually meeting his wife and starting a family.

Over the years, Hamell has racked up some impressive stage credits. He did several shows with Sugan Theatre; appeared Off-Broadway in Ronan Noone’s “The Blowin of Baile Gall”; was cast in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” with Julie Harris; and starred in New Rep’s noted productions of “The Weir” and “The Lieutenant Of Inishmore.”

As he’s worked to build a solid reputation for Tir Na, Hamell has produced Martin McDonagh’s “The Lonesome West,” Marie Jones’s “Stones In His Pockets,” Owen McCafferty’s “Mojo Mickybo,” and a double bill of “Swan-Song” and “Bottom Of The Lake” by Conor McDermottroe.   

He also produced and starred in the highly praised, one-man show, “Jimmy Titanic”  by Bernard McMullan.  Over the course of 80 minutes on a bare stage, Hamell brilliantly portrays 20 outrageous characters, including the ill-fated central characters, Belfast shipbuilders Jimmy Boylan and Tommy Mackey, who were on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Hamell toured the show internationally from 2013-2015.  

Tir Na Theare's mission is to produce new and contemporary works and to bring those productions to theaters and screens throughout Europe and the United States.

“Trad” playwright and actor Mark Doherty was born in Dublin and made a name for himself on the city's stand-up comedy scene in the 1990s. In addition to “Trad,” he has also written for radio and television, winning the Tiernan McBride International Screenplay Award in 2006 for his first film “A Film With Me In It.”

For tickets to “Trad,” visit or call 617-933-8600.