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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Early Abbey staging and design was extremely simple, partly enforced by the limitations of their resources. Yeats’s ambitious experiments with the screens of Gordon Craig came to nothing. Initially, the Gate Theatre was established self-consciously as a theatrical alternative to the Abbey, open to European aesthetics, and concentrated on stage production and design, ideas articulated and exemplified by Micheál Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards in their design and direction work. However, the chapter argues that this conventional narrative overlooks the design work of Tanya Moiseiwitsch at the Abbey Theatre in the 1930s, which showed a strong influence of expressionism. When the view of Irish theatre is further broadened to include pageants and public performances which are also a feature of mid-century, it becomes clear that Irish theatre of the time was far from being an unrelieved vista of peasant realism.

Keywords: Micheál Mac Liammóir, Hilton Edwards, Tanya Moiseiwitsch, Abbey Theatre, Gate Theatre, expressionism, realism, spectacle, pageants

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