The Abbey Theatre was born during one of the most important periods of modern Irish history, a mere 12 years before the 1916 rising. And yet one of its earliest play threatened to cause a divide across the nation over what it means to be Irish. Or did it? What’s the real deal with ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ and the most infamous theatrical event in Irish history?
When you think of the Olympia Theatre you might think of glitz and glamour. You might think of the gigs you’ve been to. The plays. The shows. What you probably don’t think about is the darker side. You probably don’t think about Bridgit Breslin, the dancer whose tragic death connects with the story of the last woman sentenced to death in Ireland.
Sexual harassment isn’t just a modern phenomenon. If you wanted proof, you could ask Helena Dyer, the actress with Smock Alley Theatre who found herself in the centre of one of the most sensational scandals in 18th century Dublin – a scandal that kicked off what is today referred to as the ‘Kelly Riots.
In 1931, a 16 year old boy named Orson Welles stepped onto the stage in Dublin’s Gate Theatre and so started one of the greatest stage and film careers of the 20th century. Orson’s relationship with the Gate Theatre and its founders didn’t end there though, and what happened next is even more incredible. But to get the full story would require going through decades of correspondence to separate the fact from the fiction. Thankfully for us, someone did just that.
Every Theatre has a story. Catch a quick preview of some of the untold stories we'll be examining over the coming weeks. Our first episode 'The Gate & Orson Welles' will be available on Podcast Wednesday, February 6th.