Sadness at death of towering arts icon Sean Stafford

President has led tributes to well-known arts figure Seán Stafford who has died at the age of 96. For some 60 years, Mr Stafford served as an actor, director and board member at The National Irish Language Theatre based in Galway, ‘An Taibhdhearc’.

Seán was a hugely significant figure for theatre in Ireland, and in particular was a force in An Taibhdhearc from 1948 to the turn of the millennium and beyond, serving as an actor, director and member of the Theatre’s Board of Directors.

In a statement, President Michael D Higgins said that with his wife Máire, who predeceased him, Seán had a hugely positive influence on cultural life and on the arts in Ireland. President Higgins added that as a nation, we are indebted to him.

Among the major productions Seán Stafford directed was ‘Mise Raifteirí an File’ by Criostóir Ó Floinn.

An Taibhdhearc, National Irish Language Theatre, said it was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Seán Stafford.

Among the many major productions Seán Stafford directed was ‘Mise Raifteirí an File’ by Criostóir Ó Floinn in 1974 with Mick Lally (1945 – 2010 ) playing Raifteirí.

Some of the people working with Seán in An Taibhdhearc at this time went on to play vital roles in other artistic initiatives in Galway, including Druid Theatre Company, Macnas and the Galway Arts Festival.

In 1978 Seán Stafford directed Mozart’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutti’ and brought it to the Abbey Theatre’s main stage playing to a capacity audience and a standing ovation.

With his late wife Máire Stafford (1923–2014 ) he was central to dozens of An Taibhdhearc productions for almost 60 years.

Seán Stafford spent a period on An Taibhdhearc’s Board of Directors along with acting as chairperson. He is survived by his children Ruairí, Fionnuala, Maelíosa, Órfhlaith, Conall, his grandchildren, relatives and friends.. Leaba i measc Naomh Éireann go rai.

Seán Stafford’s funeral takes place on Saturday August 29 at 11am in the Jes Church, Sea Road. Burial to Rahoon afterwards. To give city people a chance to pay their respects, social distancing etc, the funeral will go up Middle Street, past the Taibhdhearc at around 10.30am on Saturday morning. Taibhdhearc staff and alumni will form a guard of honour outside the theatre.

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