Abbey Theatre

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The Abbey Theatre was established in Dublin in 1904 as a venue for Irish playwrights. It developed out of the Irish Literary Theatre, which had been founded by William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1899.

From the description of Abbey Theatre playbills and related materials, 1907-1955, 1994. (University of Delaware Library). WorldCat record id: 419521354

The Abbey Theatre was founded in 1904 in Dublin, Ireland.

From the description of Abbey Theatre collection, 1925-1942. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 173863195

The Abbey Theatre (1904- ) is the Irish theatrical company devoted primarily to indigenous drama (presenting the Irish character with an Irish audience in mind). W. B. Yeats was a leader in founding (1902) the Irish National Theatre Society with Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge, Edward Martyn and A. E. (George Russell) contributing their talents as directors and dramatists. In 1904, Annie Horniman gave them a subsidy and the free use of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. The theater was bought for them by public subscription in 1910. Among the many dramatists whose works the Abbey Theatre first presented are Padraic Colum, Lennox Robinson, Sean O'Casey, and Paul Vincent Carroll. The Abbey began touring America in 1911 and was not well received. However, they were appreciated by the next generation when they returned to New York and Boston in the 1930s. In 1951, a fire destroyed the theatre and the company spent fifteen years at the Queen's Theatre until the new building opened in 1966. In close association with Irish dramatists, the Abbey also has been an important instrument in the revival of Irish drama that began in the 1960s. From 1977 to 1983, the Abbey's small experimental theatre, the Peacock, saw the rise of a new school of playwrights, including J. Graham Reid, Bernard Farrell, Tom MacIntyre, Frank McGuinness, Neil Donnelly, Michael Harding, Dermot Bolger, and Sebastian Barry. Some of the work of Farrell and McGuinness was also successful on the larger Abbey stage. Nevertheless, the work of an earlier generation of playwrights--particularly Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, and Hugh Leonard--has been the mainstay of the Abbey repertoire since the 1970s.

From the description of Abbey Theatre collection, 1904-1970. (Southern Illinois University). WorldCat record id: 173189247

The Abbey Theatre in Dublin is an Irish theatrical company, founded in 1904 by William Butler Yeats and Lady Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory. J. M. Synge and Lady Gregory were its first directors. It is devoted to Irish drama.

From the description of Records, 1910-1938. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122626332

From the description of Records, 1910-1938. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 79487770

From the guide to the Abbey Theatre records, 1910-1938, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

The Abbey Theatre was established in Dublin in 1904 as a venue for Irish playwrights. It developed out of the Irish Literary Theatre, which had been founded by William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1899. In 1902, that organization was taken over by the Irish National Dramatic Society and in 1903 became the Irish National Theatre Society. Yeats enlisted financial assistance for the Abbey from Edward Martyn in exchange for producing several of Martyn's plays. Yeats found further monetary patronage through Miss Annie E. F. Horniman, an English woman interested in the work of the Irish National Theatre Society. It was she who provided the funds to purchase the building in which the Abbey Theatre was established. The Theatre officially opened on December 27, 1904, with productions of On Baile's Strand by W. B. Yeats and Spreading the News by Lady Gregory. J. M. Synge joined the other two as co-director.

During the 1900s and 1910s, the Theatre was plagued with financial troubles, which were accentuated by World War I and the Irish Rebellion of 1916. Artistic disputed between Yeats and his backers also almost cut short the life of the theatre. However, the Theatre continued to produce and, in 1924, it became the first state-sponsored theatre in the world. As a result of their lifelong commitment to Irish theatre, the Abbey nurtured the careers of such influential playwrights as Lennox Robinson, Sean O'Casey, J. M. Synge, George Bernard Shaw, and Padraic Colum.

In 1928, a smaller theatre, the Peacock, was opened in a building adjacent to the Abbey. This theatre was to serve as a forum for experimental productions. In July 1951, fire destroyed the entire back stage area of the Abbey and all performances were transferred to the Queen's Theatre. The Abbey Theatre did not reopen until 1966. It was rebuilt on its original site with the Peacock Theatre installed on the basement level.

While Yeats preferred to maintain absolute control over Abbey productions, as he and Lady Gregory advanced in age, he employed a series of carefully selected managers to handle the day-to-day affairs of the Theatre. After the death of Lady Gregory in 1932 and Yeats in 1939, the Abbey Theatre continued to mainly produce the works of Irish writers.

Kavanagh, Peter. The Story of the Abbey Theatre. New York: Devin Adair Co., 1950. Welch, Robert. The Abbey Theatre, 1899–1999: Form and Pressure. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

From the guide to the Abbey Theatre playbills and related materials, 1907–1955, 1994, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932. Lady Gregory collection of papers, 1873-1965 bulk (1873-1932). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Frank O'Connor Papers, 1927-1972 Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. [Abbey Theatre programmes.]. University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. [Programs for the Abbey Theatre]. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Records, 1910-1938. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Robinson, Lennox, 1886-1958. Letters, 1914, to P[hilip] D. Sherman, Oberlin, Ohio. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Records, 1910-1938. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932. Letter to Lennox Robinson [manuscript], 1927 January? 15. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Letters sent to James B. Pinker concerning Henry James, 1905-1930. Houghton Library
creatorOf Dan H. Laurence Collection. Recall the years ; a dramatic presentation of the history of the Abbey Theatre - program of presentation to celebrate the opening of the new Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1966. University of Guelph
creatorOf Robichaud, Louis J. (Louis Joseph), 1925-. Beaverbrook Auditorium (Playhouse), Fredericton : 1961-1964. University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Harriet Irving Library
referencedIn Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939. W. B. Yeats collection, 1888-1950 (bulk 1888-1937) Princeton University Library
referencedIn Rogers Memorial Collection: Henry Munroe Rogers papers, 1812-1937 (inclusive), 1862-1937 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Horniman, Annie Elizabeth Fredericka, 1860-1937. Annie Horniman collection at the University of Manchester, [1903-1930] microform. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Papers concerning the Abbey Theatre and the Irish National Theatre Society, 1903-1942 and undated. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Henderson, W. A. The W. A. Henderson scrapbooks, 1899-1911 microform Emory University, Robert W. Woodruff Library
referencedIn O'Connor, Frank, 1903-1966. Papers, 1940-1965. University of Florida
referencedIn Sinclair, Arthur. Letter, 1914, April 21, Toronto, Canada, to [Philip D.] Sherman. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre playbills and related materials, 1907–1955, 1994 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
creatorOf Boucicault, Dion, 1820-1890. Milberg Irish theater collection, 1821-2005. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Annual W.B. Yeats International Theatre Festival : miscellaneous photocopied material. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn O'Riordan, Conal, 1874-1948. Conal O'Riordan papers, 1907-1942 (bulk 1907-1923) Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Stark, Samuel. Theatre scrapbook collection, 1860-1950. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Dublin. Papers, 1899-1957. Boston Public Library, Central Library in Copley Square
referencedIn Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939. Collection of William Butler Yeats letters : mss., 1908-1934. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Sean O'Casey collection of papers, 1904-1964, 1918-1964 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Abbey Theatre records, 1910-1938 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Robinson, Lennox, 1886-1958. Lennox Robinson papers, 1892-1954. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932. Lady Gregory papers, 1879-1932. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Thomas Carnduff Archive, 1922-1999 Queen's University, Belfast
creatorOf Dan H. Laurence Collection. Saint Joan / by Bernard Shaw ; director, Patrick Mason - program for production at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, June 24, 1998. University of Guelph
referencedIn Abbey Theatre. Dublin. Papers, 1899-1957. Boston Public Library, Central Library in Copley Square
referencedIn Fonds Edward Gordon Craig Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des arts du spectacle
referencedIn General photograph collection. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
creatorOf Dan H. Laurence Collection. Invitation by Colin Smythe to the launching reception for "Shaw, Lady Gergory and the Abbey" / edited by Dan H. Laurence and Nicholas Grene, May 14, 1993, the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. University of Guelph
referencedIn Lady Gregory collection of papers, 1873-[1965, 1873-1932 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Roberts, George, 1873-1953. Papers concerning the Abbey Theatre and the Irish National Theatre Society, 1901-1942 (inclusive), 1903-1908 (bulk). Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. 16 programs. 1907-1938. University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Programme : [Abbey Theatre, 1908-1912] Indiana University
referencedIn Hale, Emily, 1891-1969. Emily Hale collection, 1929-1967 (bulk 1929-1930) Princeton University Library
creatorOf Dan H. Laurence Collection. The shewing-up of Blanco Posnet / by Bernard Shaw ; produced by Ria Mooney - program for production at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, March, 1951. University of Guelph
referencedIn Lyric Players Theatre (Belfast, Northern Ireland). Lyric Players Theatre collection, 1944-2002 (bulk 1956-1981). Boston College. John J. Burns Library
referencedIn Holmes, Noel, 1920-. Caricatures of Irish comedy actors, ca.1938. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Wilson, A. Patrick. Letter, 1914, September 28, Dublin, to Philip D. Sherman, Oberlin, Ohio. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Abbey Theatre playbills and related materials, 1907-1955, 1994. University of Delaware Library, Hugh M Morris Library
creatorOf Shepard, Sam, 1943-. Kicking a dead horse : a play in one act / by Sam Shepard, 2008. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Abbey Theatre collection, 1925-1942. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Dan H. Laurence Collection. John Bull's Other Island / by Bernard Shaw ; produced by Frank Dermody - program for production at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, November, 1944. University of Guelph
referencedIn O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964. Robert G. Lowery - Sean O'Casey Collection, [188-?]-1995. Boston College. John J. Burns Library
referencedIn Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939. W.B. Yeats collection, 1875-1965. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Abbey Theatre collection, 1904-1970. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, 1932-2005 Houghton Library
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Programme. Connecticut College, Charles E. Shain Library
referencedIn Stephens, James, 1882-1950. Julia Elizabeth : a comedy / by James Stephens. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Henderson, W. A. [Collection of clippings, articles, manuscripts, etc. on J.M. Synge's The playboy of the western world, the Abbey Theatre, Irish drama, etc.] [microform]. Indiana University
creatorOf Abbey Theatre. Abbey Theatre Collection, 1911-1988. Boston College. John J. Burns Library
referencedIn Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909. The J.M. Synge manuscripts from the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, [ca. 1708-ca. 1974] [microform]. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Collins, John B. The papers of John B. Collins, 1913-1976, (bulk 1918-1935). University of Pittsburgh
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbey Theatre. corporateBody
associatedWith Abood, Edward. person
associatedWith Allgood, Sara, 1883-1950. person
associatedWith Collins, John B. person
associatedWith Craig, Edward Gordon (1872-1966) person
associatedWith Curtis Brown Ltd corporateBody
associatedWith Cusack, Cyril, 1910-1993. person
associatedWith Dan H. Laurence Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Dan H. Laurence Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Dan H. Laurence Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Dan H. Laurence Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Dan H. Laurence Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Farrell, Bernard. person
associatedWith Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932 person
associatedWith Hale, Emily, 1891-1969 person
associatedWith Henderson, W. A. person
associatedWith Holmes, Noel, 1920- person
associatedWith Horniman, Annie Elizabeth Fredericka, 1860-1937. person
associatedWith Irish Literary Theatre. corporateBody
associatedWith Leonard, Hugh. person
associatedWith Lucas, Bertha June (Richardson), Mrs. person
associatedWith Lyric Players Theatre (Belfast, Northern Ireland) corporateBody
associatedWith McGuinness, Frank. person
associatedWith Mooney, Ria, 1903-1973, person
associatedWith Murphy, Thomas, 1935- person
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
correspondedWith O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964 person
associatedWith O'Connor, Frank, 1903-1966. person
correspondedWith O'Riordan, Carol person
associatedWith O'Riordan, Conal, 1874-1948. person
correspondedWith Pinker, James B., recipient. person
associatedWith Reid, J. Graham. person
associatedWith Roberts, George, 1873-1953. person
associatedWith Robinson, Lennox, 1886-1958 person
associatedWith Rogers, Henry Munroe, 1839-1937 person
associatedWith Shepard, Sam, 1943- person
associatedWith Sinclair, Arthur. person
associatedWith Stark, Samuel. person
associatedWith Stephens, James, 1882-1950. person
correspondedWith Synge, J. M. 1871-1909 person
associatedWith Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909 person
associatedWith Thomas Carnduff, 1886-1956 person
associatedWith Wareing, Alfred, 1876-1942. person
associatedWith Wilson, A. Patrick. person
associatedWith Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ireland
Ireland--Dublin
Ireland
Dublin (Ireland)
Dublin (Ireland)
Ireland--Dublin
Ireland
Dublin (Ireland)
Subject
Poets, Irish--20th century--Manuscripts
Theater--History--Sources
Theater--History--20th century--Sources
Theater--20th century
Novelists, Irish--20th century--Manuscripts
Theater--Ireland--20th century--Sources
Irish drama--20th century
Irish drama
English drama--Irish authors--20th century--Sources
English drama--Irish authors--20th century
Theater
Theatrical producers and directors--Correspondence
Dramatists, Irish--20th century--Manuscripts
Authors, Irish--20th century--Manuscripts
Abbey Theatre
Irish Literary Theatre
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Irish (Republic of Ireland)

English

Information

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