Barry McGovern


Visiting Faculty Fellow Barry McGovern is the Keough-Naughton Institute’s first actor in residence.

Educated at St. Michael’s College, Castleknock College and University College Dublin, McGovern is an award-winning actor who has been featured widely on the stage and screen.

McGovern has played in all the major Beckett plays.  His two one-man Beckett shows, I’ll Go On (for which he was nominated as “best solo performer” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles) and Watt, have toured worldwide.  In 2012, McGovern played in Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where he was nominated as “best actor” in the Ovation Awards.  Next year, he will be playing in Endgame at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. McGovern frequently gives readings of, and lectures on, Beckett’s work.

McGovern has read the complete Ulysses at the Joyce Tower in Sandycove, Dublin on Bloomsday (June 16) over the past 20 years. He has recorded The Dead and played Stephen Dedalus in Stephen D., an adaptation of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  He played Buck Mulligan in Anthony Burgess’s radio musical adaptation of Ulysses, Blooms of Dublin.  He has also given many readings of, and lectured extensively on, Joyce.

Early in his career, McGovern was a member of the radio repertory company RTÉ (Radio Telefis Eireann) Players, and has acted with the Abbey Theatre Company, the Irish Theatre Company, and the Gate Theatre. 

He has served on the Board of Directors of the Irish Theatre Company (1976-1977), the Irish Composers’ Centre (1982-84), and the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire (2000 to date).  He has also served as a member of the Irish Arts Council (1984-1988).

McGovern’s awards include Best Actor for I’ll Go On (Irish Theatre Awards, 1985); the Gold Medal Award for the Beckett radio play Embers (New York International Radio Festival, 1988); and the Sunday Independent-Irish Life Arts Award for Acting (1991).

McGovern has lectured and taught master classes worldwide.  While at Notre Dame, he will teach undergraduates in “Joyce & Beckett & the Irish Voice.”   The course will help build an appreciation for the various voices that permeate the works of these two European modernists.  A particular point of focus will be the Irish sensibility that suffuses the works of Joyce and Beckett—particularly their sense of irony and black humor.