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 The Irish Literary Theatre

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Join date : 2011-06-10

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PostSubject: The Irish Literary Theatre   The Irish Literary Theatre Icon_minitimeWed Jun 22, 2011 10:14 am

Edward Martyn was a neighbour of Lady Gregory, and it was during a visit to his Tullira Castle that she first met W. B. Yeats.[18] Discussions between the three of them over the following year or so led to the founding of the Irish Literary Theatre in 1899.[19] Lady Gregory undertook fundraising, and the first programme consisted of Martyn’s The Heather Field and Yeats's The Countess Cathleen. During this period, she effectively co-authored Yeats's early plays, including The Countess Cathleen, specifically working on the passages of dialogue involving peasant characters.[20]

The Irish Literary Theatre project lasted until 1901,[21] when it collapsed due to lack of funding. In 1904, Lady Gregory, Martyn, Yeats, John Millington Synge, Æ, Annie Horniman and William and Frank Fay came together to form the Irish National Theatre Society. The first performances staged by the society took place in a building called the Molesworth Hall. When the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties in Lower Abbey Street and an adjacent building in Marlborough Street became available, Horniman and William Fay agreed to their purchase and refitting to meet the needs of the society.[22]

On 11 May 1904, the society formally accepted Horniman's offer of the use of the building. As Horniman was not normally resident in Ireland, the Royal Letters Patent required were paid for by her but granted in the name of Lady Gregory.[23] One of her own plays, Spreading the News was performed on the opening night, 27 December 1904.[24] At the opening of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World in January 1907, a significant portion of the crowd rioted, causing the remainder of the performances to be acted out in dumbshow.[25] Lady Gregory did not think as highly of the play as Yeats did, but she defended Synge as a matter of principle. Her view of the affair is summed up in a letter to Yeats where she wrote of the riots: "It is the old battle, between those who use a toothbrush and those who don't."[26]

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