Review of the Abbey Theatre


Sir, – The three-day Theatre of Memory symposium which His Excellency President Michael D Higgins inspired and which he opened at the Abbey Theatre last week was a diverse, provocative, stimulating interrogation of things that matter and should matter to us as a nation. One could not have asked for 32 better contributors, nor for a better-organised and more smoothly-run event.

And yet The Irish Times deliberately attempted to throw a hand grenade in the works with its timed front page and full-page reductionist “rate my theatre” pieces (Main paper & Weekend Review, January 18th).

Every National Theatre strives to be world class and with this in mind it is admirable that the Abbey, in conjunction with the Arts Council, set in motion an evaluation and assessment of its recent productions.

What I object to is the publication of a report, accessed through Freedom of Information, that is clearly not yet signed off on nor yet delivered to the Abbey. This was shoddy opportunism. – Yours, etc,


Prince Arthur Terrace,

Leinster Square, Dublin 6.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole’s report on the Abbey Theatre’s “world-class” standing made sad reading for us in Limerick (Front page & Weekend Review, January 18th). Indignation is rife here over the miserable €7.1 million the Government toss to our internationally-renowned National Theatre. The Abbey’s commissioning of daring modern work by fresh young voices doesn’t come cheap, and we are ready to support the Abbey till our noses bleed.

The Dublin media should get down here to gauge the level of support for our National Theatre. No birthday candle is extinguished without a wish for the Abbey to come down and grace Limerick with one of its exquisite triumphs; the Limerick air at New Year crackled again with fresh resolutions to travel up to the Abbey, if there is anything on.

In short, Limerick wishes the Abbey all the very best for a speedy return to its rightful world standing – no matter the cost. And we live in hope that one day soon, the Abbey will meet its stated aim to “actively engage with” us, and tour a production of a modern Irish play, in Ireland. It can’t be that hard. – Yours, etc,


Ballysimon, Co Limerick.