Abbey Theatre, Irish theatrical company devoted primarily to indigenous drama. W. B. Yeats was a leader in founding (1902) the Irish National Theatre Society with Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge, 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 dramatists whose works the Abbey Theatre first presented are Padraic Colum, Lennox Robinson, Sean O'Casey, and Paul Vincent Carroll. The theater is now in a new building constructed 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.
See Lady Gregory, Our Irish Theatre (1913), and her journals (ed. by L. Robinson, 1946); H. Hunt, The Abbey: Ireland's National Theatre, 1904–1978 (1979); P. Kavanagh, Story of the Abbey Theatre (1984); R. Welch, The Abbey Theatre, 1899–1999 (1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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