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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Oscar Wilde was adopted as something like a posthumous writer in residence at the Gate Theatre in the 1930s, where all of his plays including the controversial Salomé were produced. The identification between the theatre and the playwright was further strengthened by Micheál Mac Liammóir’s hugely successful one-man show The Importance of Being Oscar in the 1960s, and again in the 1980s, under the directorship of Michael Colgan. This chapter considers key productions of Wilde at the Gate, particularly their sexual politics. It is argued that when Wilde was first produced at the Gate, his queer aesthetic had to be heavily coded; however, by the time of Stephen Berkoff’s Salomé in 1988, Wilde’s sexual politics could be staged more openly. More recently, however, with the emergence of an active gay theatre scene, the subversive charge of Wilde’s theatre has been somewhat eclipsed.

Keywords: Micheál Mac Liammóir, Hilton Edwards, Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan, gay theatre

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