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By Holly Maples

The Irish nationwide Theatre Society all started its centenary in 2004 with bold theatrical occasions at domestic and in a foreign country. by way of the tip of the yr, in spite of the fact that, the corporate was once with reference to financial disaster, culminating in its dissolution and next reestablishment. The monetary obstacle used to be just one component of controversy in the course of the centenary yr. in this interval, the remit of the Abbey Theatre as a home for the functionality of Irish id and new Irish writing used to be introduced into query. whereas debates opened up over the creative and fiscal crises, many commentators queried the very nature of, or want for, a countrywide theatre in twenty-first-century Ireland.
analyzing organizational concerns similar to finance and public coverage, in addition to wider questions on the illustration of Irishness at the nationwide level and the shaping of collective reminiscence via commemoration, this booklet questions the way in which that the non-public issues of the Irish nationwide Theatre mirror larger matters inside of Irish society. Drawing jointly own interviews, executive files, media resources and comparative reports from the background of the Republic, the writer interweaves present and prior crises of the Abbey Theatre with the social, cultural and fiscal anxieties of an evolving eire.

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Additional info for Culture War: Conflict, Commemoration and the Contemporary Abbey Theatre

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Its commemoration was marked throughout the country with the erection of monuments dedicated to those who had been killed. 18 The increased interest in folk tradition, which developed because of the 1798 centenary, helped to instigate a number of national clubs and organizations in 1898. Commemorative performances of songs like The Sean-Bhean Bhocht, Wolfe Tone and ’98 moulded the past to suit their own specific political agenda. However, Ireland’s newfound interest in Gaelic traditions and Irish folk culture became channeled into the use of culture as symbols of active resistance to British hegemonic control.

Like the nation, collective memory is formed through its orientation to its common past. Culture and cultural signifiers such as the theatre aid in the formation of the nation, while all of these factors are tied to the construction of history and memory by the community. The rise of cultural nationalism and the construction of collective identity in Ireland in the late nineteenth century greatly inf luenced the Irish culture and the society’s understanding of Irishness over the past century. Commemorative practice illustrates how the past is used by the present to document contemporary concerns and anxieties about where the nation is heading, as well as what is significant or, in fact, ‘unique’ in the representation of the national character.

For the Revivalists the legacy of ’98 was not only political but cultural in scope and form. J. Mathews, One of the greatest innovations of Rooney’s thinking was his realization of the extent to which culture and politics are inextricably bound up. 16 The cultural legacy of the Celtic Revival, therefore, was constructed in order to raise the belief among both the colonized and the colonizers, that Ireland had a ‘unique’ culture and therefore deserved its own governing body. Figures like Wolfe Tone were used as emblems of heroic leaders who are distinctly ‘Irish’.

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