The Abbey Theatre

  • Gerard Fay
Part of the Interviews and Recollections book series (IR)


To write about the Abbey Theatre is, for me, almost an act of autobiography. My father, Frank Fay, was one of the founders, with his brother Willie, and the other Willy (Yeats) and Lady G. From the strictest historical point of view I suppose that neither Yeats nor Lady Gregory was a ‘founder’. They came in, as did Miss Horniman, after the amateur group started by the Fay brothers had been going quite a while and had taken over from the Irish Literary Theatre with such important plays as AE [George Russell]’s Deirdre , Yeats’ Kathleen Ni Houlihan and a whole series of plays including one in Irish at the Camden Street Theatre which had been adapted from some sort of warehouse. When the company and its theatre were thoroughly well established (at the Abbey, with Miss Horniman’s money) Frank and his brother Willie Fay left in 1908 after a stupid quarrel contrived by lesser persons who thought the Fays were getting too big for their boots.1


National Theatre Temperance Movement World Theatre Theatre Company Realistic Play 
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  1. Gerard Fay is a journalist and drama critic, and the author of The Abbey Theatre, Cradle of Genius (Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds, 1958).Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Cf. ‘It was a clash of personalities. Yeats immensely admired his work as a comedian, and his brother’s as a beautiful speaker of verse, and the comedian brother had contributed so much to Lady Gregory’s comedies. But neither she nor Yeats were disposed to let the reins slip from their hands. It is difficult, thirty and more years after, to judge who was most in the right; doubtless there were wrongs on both sides’ (Lennox Robinson, Ireland’s Abbey Theatre: A History 1899–1951 (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1951) p. 56).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerard Fay

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