The Funeral of Sam Thompson

The Funeral of Sam Thompson

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Production 17/02/1965


01min 28sec





black and white


Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Archiving Scheme 2


Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Department for Communities, ITV, UTV Archive

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The funeral takes place of playwright Sam Thompson. Crowds line the streets as the procession makes its way over Queen’s Bridge. The writer’s sudden death came as a terrible shock and fellow theatre people such as Harold Goldblatt, Sam Hanna Bell and Ronnie Mason, among many others, pay their respects. 


Sam Thompson (21 May 1916 – 15 February 1965) was an Irish playwright best known for his controversial plays Over the Bridge, which exposes sectarianism, and Cemented with Love, which focuses on political corruption. His works fall into the social realist genre but are distinct in their dramatisation of Northern Irish issues; they were ground-breaking in documenting sectarian violence before the eruption of the Troubles. 

Ronnie Mason was a BBC executive in his native Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles and the Head of BBC Radio Drama. He was a great supporter of Sam Thompson. 

Sam Hanna Bell (1909 – 1990) was a novelist, short story writer, playwright, and broadcaster who lived in Northern Ireland. 

Harold Goldblatt was an actor, theatre director and theatre producer from Northern Ireland. He was a prominent member of the Jewish community in Belfast and founded the Jewish Institute Dramatic Society. He remained a prominent member after their merger with the Northern Ireland Players and the Ulster Theatre in 1940 to form the Group Theatre. He left the Group Theatre in 1959, and in 1963 he formed the Ulster Theatre Company, which included a number of former Group members.  


An Ulster Television Production.



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