Friday, January 30, 2009


Repertory theater in Dublin, organized in 1904 as a product of the late-19th-century Irish cultural revival. It was inspired by the work of the playwrights William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, and was established with the financial aid of the English theater manager Annie Elizabeth Fredericka Horniman. Its basic aim was to encourage the development of a native Irish drama and a characteristically Irish style, both realistic and poetic. Besides Yeats and Lady Gregory, the Abbey produced works by such leading Irish authors as A. E. (George William Russell); John Millington Synge, whose The Playboy of the Western World (1907) had its premiere at the Abbey; Sean O'Casey, whose Juno and the Paycock (1924) and The Plough and the Stars (1926) were first given there; and Lennox Robinson, Padraic Colum, and Lord Dunsany. The Abbey acting company has included such leading players as Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur Shields, and Sara All good; it visited the United States four times between 1911 and 1937. In 1951 the building housing the Abbey's plays and productions has declined somewhat, but it remains as a chief symbol of an impressive dramatic development. Its significance has been recognized by the award of an annual government subsidy.


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