Women and the Abbey Theatre

Sir, – While the conversation (November 3rd) on gender inequality in the arts has been triggered by the announcement of the Abbey's Centenary Programme, the questions and issues involved are for all of us who work in the performing arts in Ireland. We need to hear further from the Abbey's director and, given the theatre's role as a national theatre, and the imminent change of leadership there, we also need to hear from the Abbey board.

But we are all at fault here. We must have the conversation internally within our own organisations and more broadly between us as an industry and we must do this as a matter of priority.

This is a significant moment and what Irish theatre looks like a hundred years from now will in large part be determined by how we respond to it. – Yours, etc,



Artistic Director,



Sir, – Jimmy Murphy is right (November 4th). The Abbey Theatre is under no obligation to foist poorly written plays upon a paying audience to fulfil a programme and address balance. But anyone who thinks the Abbey has not already foisted hundreds of poorly written plays by men upon its beleaguered paying audience is clearly deluded. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – Perhaps the answer to Una Mullally's query as to why the Abbey Theatre has only one play by a woman in its 1916 programme lies in the subject matter ("A century on, Abbey still gives women a bit part", Opinion & Analysis, November 2nd). This thought came to me this morning while I was reading a photographic history of the Rising. Page after page of men, both Irish and British, strutting their stuff, fomenting an Ireland of intolerance, violence and, indeed, thuggery. Undoubtedly there were women involved, the majority in the background, and their story needs to be told, but how many women writers are there now ready to take on the men at this point? Give it a few more years, and when the macho celebrations are done, women historians, artists and writers will come out with another version of the decade. – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.