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Considering its size, the small country of Ireland has made a disproportionate contribution to the world of Theatre. Thanks to famous and prolific playwrights like George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, people in every corner of the globe have felt the influence of Irish theatre.
With initial leanings toward political commentary, early Irish dramas tended to serve government purposes. But it wasn’t long before Irish writers branched out and began to meet the needs of the people. Attending plays was soon a popular pastime in Ireland, and as new theatres appeared, audiences grew. Unfortunately, due to Ireland’s economic struggles during the 19th century, many writers were forced to relocate to London or America to establish their careers.
Two of the most successful playwrights on the London stage at this time were Ireland’s Oliver Goldsmith, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Ireland’s economy began to improve. Consequently the government was able to subsidize the development of indigenous writers, directors and performers. This encouraged many theatres and theatre companies to produce the work of Irish writers which in turn allowed Irish dramatists to ply their trade at home rather than abroad.
The Abby Theater came into being during this reformation. Built in 1904, the theatre produces Irish works to this day. Having gone through several metamorphisms due to fire and relocation, the face has changed, but the theme is the same - the Abby Theatre sponsors and promotes excellent Irish artists, who go on to create world class Irish Theatre.
- by Geanie Roake for Ireland101.com