In the annals of Irish studies and theater history much has been written about the Abbey Theatre. Now, Mary Trotter not only sheds new Light on that company’s history but also examines other groups with a range of political, religious, gender, and class perspectives that consciously used performance to promote ideas about nationalism and culture in Ireland at the turn of the last century.
This innovative, interdisciplinary work details how different nationalist organizations with diverse political and artistic goals employed theater as an anticolonial tool. In Dublin’s turbulent cultural and political arena during the first decades of the twentieth century, nationalist audiences read popular Irish melodramas in subversive ways; the Daughters of Erin staged tableaux of great women heroes; and the Abbey players earned both acclaim and apprehension within the nationalist community.
Here is a compelling analysis of these and other groups’ prominent role in Irish nationalism in the years before Easter 1916, and the way these political theaters gave birth to modern Irish drama.