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date: 18 June 2019

Modern Irish Theatre: A Chronology

Modern Irish Theatre

A Chronology

(p. xxv)

1860

29 Mar.

Dion Boucicault, The Colleen Bawn (Laura Keene’s, New York)

1871

27 Nov.

Gaiety Theatre opens, Dublin

14 Nov.

Dion Boucicault, The Shaughraun (Wallack’s Theatre, New York)

1879

22 Dec.

Star of Erin Music Hall (later Olympia Theatre) opens, Dublin

1882

Nov.–June 1883

Eoin S. Ó Cearbhaill, Brian Boroimhe, published in Irish, in Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge/The Gaelic Journal (Dublin)

1884

1 Nov.

Gaelic Athletic Association founded

27 Nov.

Paul McSwiney, An Bard ’gus an Fó: A Gaelic Idyll (Steinway Hall, New York)

1886

26 Apr.

Hubert O’Grady, The Famine (Queen’s, Dublin)

8 June

First Home Rule Bill defeated

1891

Sept.

G. B. Shaw, The Quintessence of Ibsenism

1893

19 Apr.

Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

31 July

Gaelic League founded

1894

21 Apr.

G. B. Shaw, Arms and the Man; W. B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire [opened 29 March] (Avenue Theatre, London)

1895

23 Dec.

Grand Opera House, Belfast, opens

14 Feb.

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (St James Theatre, London)

1897

Summer

W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and Edward Martyn compose manifesto of Irish Literary Theatre

1899

8 May

W. B. Yeats, The Countess Cathleen; Irish Literary Theatre first performance; first issue of Beltaine published same week

1900

19 Feb.

Alice Milligan, The Last Feast of the Fianna (Irish Literary Theatre)

1901

21 Oct.

Douglas Hyde, Casadh an tSúgáin (Irish Literary Theatre)

1902

2 Apr.

W. B. Yeats [and Lady Gregory, uncredited], Kathleen ni Houlihan (Irish National Dramatic Company)

1903

12 Jan.

J. W. Whitbread, The Ulster Hero (Queen’s, Dublin)

Mar.

First Irish National Theatre Society tour (London)

8 Oct.

J. M. Synge, In the Shadow of the Glen (National Theatre Society)

Wyndham Land (Purchase) Act

1904

25 Jan.

J. M. Synge, Riders to the Sea (National Theatre Society)

Nov.

Ulster Literary Theatre founded

27 Dec.

Abbey Theatre opens; W. B. Yeats, On Baile’s Strand; Lady Gregory, Spreading the News

1905

4 May

Lewis Purcell, The Enthusiast (Ulster Literary Theatre)

9 June

Padraic Colum, The Land (Abbey)

1906

10 Oct.

Lady Gregory, The Gaol Gate (Abbey)

6 Dec.

Theatre of Ireland: James Cousins, The Racing Lug; Douglas Hyde, Casadh an tSúgáin; and a scene from Ibsen’s Brand

1907

26 Jan.

J. M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World (Abbey); riots throughout the week

9 Mar.

Lady Gregory, The Rising of the Moon (Abbey)

1908

Nov.

Cork Dramatic Society founded

1909

25 Aug.

G. B. Shaw, The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet (Abbey)

1910

27 Oct.

T. C. Murray, Birthright (Abbey)

1911

Sept.

First Abbey tour of USA

30 Mar.

St John Ervine, Mixed Marriage (Abbey)

26 Aug.

Irish Transport and General Workers Union strike begins

1914

28 July

First World War begins

18 Sept.

Third Home Rule Bill enacted, but suspended for duration of WWI.

1915

20 May

Patrick Pearse, The Master (Hardwicke St Theatre, Dublin)

1916

16 Mar.

James Connolly, Under Which Flag? (Irish Workers Dramatic Company, Dublin)

2 Apr.

W. B. Yeats, At the Hawk’s Well (Cavendish Square, London)

24 Apr.

Easter Rising begins; rebels surrender, 29 April; leaders executed, May

25 Sept.

Abbey première of G. B. Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island [1904] (Abbey)

13 Dec.

Lennox Robinson, The Whiteheaded Boy (Abbey)

1919

21 Jan.

Soloheadbeg Ambush begins Anglo-Irish War

9 Feb.

Dublin Drama League first production, Srgjan Tucic, The Liberators; regular productions until 1929

1 Apr.

First meeting of Dáil Éireann; declared illegal, 12 Sept.

26 Apr.

W. B. Yeats, ‘A People’s Theatre’ (Irish Statesman)

1921

9 July

Truce opens negotiations for Anglo-Irish Treaty (signed 6 Dec.); enacted 31 March 1922.

1922

14 Apr.

Anti-Treaty forces seize Four Courts, Dublin; attack by provisional government forces on June 28 begins civil war

1923

12 Apr.

Seán O’Casey, The Shadow of a Gunman (Abbey)

27 Apr.

Suspension of campaign by Anti-Treaty forces

14 Nov.

W. B. Yeats, Nobel Prize in literature

1924

An Comhar Drámaíochta founded, Dublin

3 Mar.

Seán O’Casey, Juno and the Paycock (Abbey)

1925

14 Sept.

George Sheils, Professor Tim (Abbey)

8 Aug.

Abbey Theatre state subsidy announced

1926

11 Feb.

Seán O’Casey, The Plough and the Stars (Abbey); riots throughout the week

1 Mar.

Liam O’Flaherty, Dorchadas (An Comhar, Dublin)

11 Nov.

G. B. Shaw, Nobel Prize in literature

1927

13 Nov.

Peacock Theatre opens with Georg Kaiser, From Morn to Midnight

1928

28 Aug.

An Taibhdheardhc opens with Micheál Mac Liammóir, Diarmuid agus Gráinne

14 Oct.

First Gate Theatre production, Peer Gynt (in Peacock Theatre)

12 Dec.

Oscar Wilde, Salomé (Gate; in Peacock)

1929

19 June

Denis Johnston, The Old Lady Says ‘No!’ (Gate; in Peacock)

16 July

Censorship of Publications Act

11 Oct.

Seán O’Casey, The Silver Tassie (Apollo Theatre, London)

1930

17 Feb.

Gate Theatre opens with Goethe’s Faust

1931

10 Aug.

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (Gate Theatre)

Dorothy Macardle, Witch’s Brew (rejected by Abbey, 1929; published)

1933

6 Feb.

Lennox Robinson, Drama at Inish (Abbey)

1935

29 Apr.

Teresa Deevy, The King of Spain’s Daughter (Abbey)

1936

16 May

Teresa Deevy, Katie Roche (Abbey)

1937

1 July

Bunreacht na hÉireann (Constitution of Ireland) enacted

1938

10 Aug.

W. B. Yeats, Purgatory (Abbey)

1939

1 Sept.

Second World War begins

1940

Sept.

Ulster Group Theatre founded

1941

May

Noel Moffett and members of White Stag Group build open air-theatre, Achill Island

1948

21 Dec.

Republic of Ireland Act (effective 1949)

1950

13 Dec.

G. B. Shaw (trans. Siobhán McKenna), San Siobhán (translation of Saint Joan), (An Taibhdhearc, Galway)

1951

Mar.

37 Theatre Club established, Dublin

Mar.

Lyric Theatre founded, Belfast

8 May

Arts Council established, Republic of Ireland

18 July

Abbey Theatre burns

21 Oct.

Wexford Opera Festival founded

1952

3 July

Bord Fáilte (Irish Tourist Board) founded

1953

Pike Theatre founded, Dublin

26 Jan.

J. B. Molloy, The Wood of the Whispering (Abbey)

4 Apr.

Maurice Meldon, Aisling (37 Theatre Club, Dublin)

12–22 Apr.

First All-Ireland Drama Festival, Athone

1 June

Louis D’Alton, This Other Eden (Abbey)

1954

18 Nov.

G. B. Shaw, Saint Joan (first production, 1924; Siobhán McKenna as the Maid) (Gate)

19 Nov.

Brendan Behan, The Quare Fellow (Pike)

1955

28 Oct.

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (Pike; Irish première)

21 Nov.

Walter Macken, Twilight of the Warrior (Abbey)

1957

Feb.

Lyric Studio Theatre opens, Belfast; Threshold magazine first published

3 Apr.

Samuel Beckett, Endgame (Royal Court, London)

13–26 May

First Dublin Theatre Festival

12 May

Pike Theatre prosecuted for obscenity after production of Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo

1958

28 Apr.

Dublin Theatre Festival cancelled due to episcopal opposition

16 June

Brendan Behan, An Giall (An Damer); as The Hostage (Theatre Royal, Stratford East; 14 Oct.)

2 July

Industrial Development Act, to encourage foreign investment

28 Oct.

Samuel Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape (Royal Court, London)

1959

2 Feb.

John B. Keane, Sive (Listowel Drama Group)

28 Apr.

Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Abbey)

Thomas Kilroy, ‘Groundwork for an Irish Theatre’

1960

26 Jan.

Sam Thompson, Over the Bridge (Ulster Bridge Productions)

19 Sept.

Oscar Wilde and Micheál Mac Liammóir, The Importance of Being Oscar (Gate Theatre; in Gaiety)

1961

11 Sept.

Tom Murphy, A Whistle in the Dark (Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London)

31 Dec.

RTÉ television begins broadcasting

1964

22 Sept.

Máiréad Ní Ghráda, An Triail (An Damer)

28 Sept.

Brian Friel, Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Gate Theatre; in Gaiety)

1965

20 Sept.

Bertolt Brecht, The Life of Galileo, directed by Tomás Mac Anna (Abbey)

Oct.

Cork Opera House (designed Robin Walker) opens

1 Nov.

John B. Keane, The Field (Gemini Productions, Dublin)

1966

18 July

Abbey Theatre (designed Michael Scott) opens

1967

31 Jan.

Dion Boucicault, The Shaughraun (first produced 1874) (Abbey)

Project Arts Centre opens, Dublin

1968

18 Mar.

Tom Murphy, Famine (Peacock)

7 Oct.

Thomas Kilroy, The Death and Resurrection of Mr Roche (Dublin Theatre Festival)

Oct.

Lyric Theatre opens, Belfast

1969

14–15 Aug.

Riots in Derry and Belfast, British troops enter Northern Ireland

23 Oct.

Samuel Beckett, Nobel Prize in literature

11 Nov.

Tom Murphy, A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant (Abbey)

1970

11 Jan.

Formation of Provisional IRA

1971

Mar.

Tom Murphy, The Morning After Optimism (Abbey); John Boyd, The Flats (Lyric)

1972

22 Jan.

Republic signs treaty of accession to EEC

1973

Arts Act (1973), Republic of Ireland

8 Oct.

Hugh Leonard, Da (Olympia)

20 Feb.

Brian Friel, The Freedom of the City (Abbey)

1975

6 Oct.

Tom Murphy, The Sanctuary Lamp (Abbey)

5 July

Druid Theatre Company stage first season of plays, Galway

TEAM theatre company founded (Dublin)

1977

13 Oct.

Thomas Kilroy, Talbot’s Box (Abbey)

1979

5 Apr.

Brian Friel, Faith Healer (Longacre Theatre, New York)

4 Oct.

Hugh Leonard, A Life (Abbey)

1980

23 Sept.

Brian Friel, Translations (Guildhall, Derry; first Field Day production)

Arts Councils begin funding regional theatres

1983

9 May

Tom Mac Intyre, The Great Hunger (Peacock)

15 May

Martin Lynch (in collaboration with company), Lay Up Your Ends (Charabanc)

29 Sept.

Tom Murphy, The Gigli Concert (Abbey)

9 Nov.

Christina Reid, Tea in a China Cup (Lyric)

1984

29 Feb.

Aidan Mathews and Operating Theatre, The Diamond Body (Operating Theatre)

19 Sept.

Tom Paulin, The Riot Act (version of Sophocles, Antigone) (Field Day)

7 Nov.

Stewart Parker, Northern Star (Lyric)

Rough Magic Theatre Company founded (Dublin)

1985

16 Apr.

Tom Murphy, Conversations on a Homecoming (Druid)

18 Feb.

Frank McGuinness, Observe the Sons of Ulster (Peacock)

15 Nov.

Anglo-Irish Agreement

5 Dec.

Tom Murphy, Bailegangaire (Druid)

1986

Macnas Theatre Company founded (Galway)

3 Feb.

Thomas Kilroy, Double Cross (Field Day)

1987

16 Sept.

Roddy Doyle, Brownbread (Passion Machine)

23 Sept.

Stewart Parker, Pentecost (Field Day)

1988

Island Theatre Company founded (Limerick)

Red Kettle Theatre Company founded (Waterford)

26 Sept.

Frank McGuinness, Carthaginians (Peacock)

1990

15 Feb.

Alan Titley, Tagann Godot (Abbey)

24 Apr.

Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa (Abbey)

1 Oct.

Seamus Heaney, The Cure at Troy (Field Day)

9 Oct.

Dermot Bolger, In High Germany (Gate)

3 Dec.

Mary Robinson inaugurated as first female President of Ireland

1991

1–20 Oct.

Beckett Festival (Gate)

18 Nov.

Billy Roche, Belfry (Bush Theatre, London)

Blue Raincoat Theatre Company founded (Sligo)

Corcadorca Theatre Company founded (Cork)

1992

11 Feb.

Patricia Burke Brogan, Eclipsed (Punchbag)

23 Apr.

Seán Mac Mathúna, The Winter Thief/Gadaí Géar na Geamh Oíche (Peacock)

1993

13 Apr.

Calypso Theatre Company founded

Frank McGuinness, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Abbey)

1994

19 Apr.

Bickerstaffe Theatre Company, True Lines

8 Aug.

Marie Jones, A Night in November (DubbelJoint)

31 Aug.

IRA cease-fire; Loyalist paramilitaries follow, 10 Oct.

5 Oct.

Marina Carr, The Mai (Peacock)

Morgan Stanley report first uses phrase ‘Celtic Tiger’

1995

9 Feb.

Riverdance (Point Theatre, Dublin)

9 Nov.

Antoine Ó Flatharta, An Solas Dearg (Amharclann de hÍde, in Abbey)

24 Nov.

Referendum legalizes divorce in Republic of Ireland

30 Mar.

Sebastian Barry, The Steward of Christendom (Royal Court, London)

1996

1 Feb.

Martin McDonagh, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Druid/Royal Court)

27 Mar.

Marina Carr, Portia Coughlan (Abbey)

7 Aug.

Marie Jones, Stones in His Pockets (DubbelJoint)

26 Sept.

Enda Walsh, Disco Pigs (Corcadorca)

12 Dec.

Martin McDonagh, The Cripple of Innishmaan (RNT, London)

1997

21 May

Conall Morrison, Tarry Flynn (based on the novel by Patrick Kavanagh) (Abbey)

4 July

Conor McPherson, The Weir (Royal Court, London)

1998

14 Jan.

Jim Nolan, The Salvage Shop (Red Kettle)

10 Apr.

Good Friday Agreement

7 Oct.

Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats (Abbey)

10 Dec.

John Hume and David Trimble share Nobel Peace Prize

1999

Nov.

The Wedding Community Play (Belfast Festival)

24 Mar.

Operating Theatre, Angel/Babel

2000

12 Apr.

Tom Murphy, The House (Abbey)

30 Oct.

Daragh Carville et al., Convictions (Tinderbox)

2002

1 Apr.

Conor Grimes, Martin Lynch, Alan McKee, The History of the Troubles (Accordin’ to my Da) (Belfast)

30 Apr.

Frank McGuinness, Gates of Gold (Gate)

2003

Irish Playography database launched

10 Apr.

Owen McCafferty, Scenes from the Big Picture (National Theatre, London)

2005

29 June

DruidSynge (production of six plays by Synge; Druid; Town Hall Theatre, Galway)

2006

20 Mar.

Enda Walsh, The Walworth Farce (Druid)

10 Oct.

Conor McPherson, The Seafarer (National Theatre, London)

2007

13 June

Mark O’Rowe, Terminus (Abbey)

29 Sept.

Roddy Doyle and Bisi Adigun, The Playboy of the Western World (adaptation of play by J. M. Synge) (Abbey)

2009

3 June

Tom Murphy, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant (Abbey)

2010

17 Sept.

ANU Productions, World’s End Lane (first play in Monto cycle)

21 Oct.

Theatre of Witness, I Once Knew a Girl (Derry)

2011

May

Lyric Theatre opens (designed by O’Donnell and Tuomey)

28 Nov.

Paul Mercier, Sétanta (Fibín, in Peacock)

2012

May

Smock Alley Theatre reopens as theatre (closed since 1787)

23 June

Druid Murphy (three plays by Tom Murphy, Druid; opens at Hampstead Theatre, London)

14 Nov.

Owen McCafferty, Quietly (Abbey)

2013

23 May

David Ireland, Can’t Forget About You (Lyric)

2014

3 Oct.

Mark O’Rowe, Our Few and Evil Days (Abbey)

(p. xxvi) (p. xxvii) (p. xxviii) (p. xxix) (p. xxx)