Cover image for A history of Irish theatre, 1601-2000
A history of Irish theatre, 1601-2000
Morash, Chris, 1963-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xviii, 322 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm

Format :


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Material Type
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PN2601 .M64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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While most accounts of Irish theatre begin with the Abbey theatre, Chris Morash's comprehensive study goes back three centuries earlier to Ireland's first theatre. Written in an accessible style, yet drawing extensively on unpublished sources, it traces an often forgotten history leading up to the Irish Literary Revival, and then follows that history to the present. The main chapters are each followed by shorter chapters, focusing on a single night at the theatre. Morash creates a remarkably clear picture of the cultural contexts which produced the playwrights who have been responsible for making Irish theatre's world-wide historical and contemporary reputation. Morash also deals with aspects of Irish theatre often ignored, including audiences, performance styles, architecture, management and other aspects of Irish theatrical culture. This book is an essential, entertaining and highly original guide to the history and performance of Irish theatre.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Morash (National Univ. of Ireland, Maynooth) is establishing himself as an expert on 19th-century Irish writing. His previous study, Writing the Irish Famine (CH, Apr'96), examined the way Irish writers used the famine to strengthen native resolve against the occupying English; the present volume traces the evolution of Irish drama. Morash points out that the theater did not function solely as a place of entertainment. Instead, many Irish plays, despite being historical dramas, actually concerned contemporary political issues that could not be discussed in a public forum. The theater emerged as a lively center for celebration and debate that was as subversive as it was engaging. With the establishment of the Irish Literary Theater, which in 1904 became the renowned Abbey Theater, Irish art and politics were effectively soldered together in the dramatic productions of Yeats, Synge, and Lady Gregory. Morash writes clearly and forcefully, and the accompanying illustrations of playbills and theater sets are enjoyable. This book will appeal to anyone who is interested in Irish history and culture, and to anyone who simply loves the theater. All collections. M. H. Begnal Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Chronologyp. xiii
Introduction: Please take your seats ...p. 1
1 Playing court, 1601-1692p. 2
A night at the theatre 1: Pompey, Smock Alley, 10 February 1663p. 21
2 Stage rights, 1691-1782p. 30
A night at the theatre 2: Mahomet, Smock Alley, 2 March 1754p. 58
3 'Our national theatre', 1782-1871p. 67
A night at the theatre 3: She Stoops to Conquer and Tom Thumb, Theatre Royal, Hawkins Street, 14 December 1822p. 94
4 'That capricious spirit', 1871-1904p. 103
A night at the theatre 4: The Playboy of the Western World and Riders to the Sea, Abbey Theatre, 29 January 1907p. 130
5 'Not understanding the clock', 1904-1921p. 139
A night at the theatre 5: The Plough and the Stars, Abbey Theatre, 11 February 1926p. 163
6 Aftermath, 1922-1951p. 172
A night at the theatre 6: Waiting for Godot, Pike Theatre, 28 October 1955p. 199
7 Phoenix flames, 1951-1972p. 209
A night at the theatre 7: Translations, Guildhall, Derry, 23 September 1980p. 233
8 Babel, 1972-2000p. 242
Conclusion: A millennial flourishp. 272
Biographical glossaryp. 277
Notesp. 287
Bibliographic essayp. 305
Indexp. 314