“Irish society is no longer a homogenous, one-coloured, one-cultured nation.”

The Sunday Times has a report detailing the background to the abandonment of George’s Dock as the preferred site for a new Abbey Theatre. Apparently conditions imposed by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) to the free site they offered proved too restrictive for the planned development. The report also states that “The Office of Public Works says the Department of Communications and An Post have now become involved in the process of assessing the GPO” on O’Connell Street as a potential site. Which would please Senator David Norris. The attempted renaissance of “the most important theatre company in the English-speaking world” has been ongoing since 2005, when the newly appointed and still-director Fiach MacConghail had this to say

Mac Conghail says his “vision” revolves around new writing and new ways of making theatre, including physical and non-verbal work. Running Dublin’s Project Arts centre in the 1990s taught him to respect an audience, he says, that “liked the shock of the new”. He also promises to reach audiences beyond the traditional Irish middle class by investing in new writing and diverse programming in the style of the National Theatre in London, and by touring in Ireland.

He says he wants the Abbey to re-engage politically. “Irish society is no longer a homogenous, one-coloured, one-cultured nation. It is the fastest-changing society in the world. We have to look at different ways of making theatre, as a lot of theatres in Britain have done.”


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