The Fays of the Abbey Theatre: An Autobiographical Record

By W. G. Fay; Catherine Carswell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III

DURING the first few weeks of the Great War the theatre was badly hit. The autumn productions proceeded as usual, but the public were too bewildered and busy to take much interest in them. As time passed, however, and the early hopes that the magnitude of the conflict would quickly bring the nations to their senses were shown to be delusive, the houses began to fill up again. God knows that in those sad times people needed all the diversion they could get, and as part of the policy of keeping up the national moral the Government gave encouragement to all kinds of entertainment. More, indeed, was demanded from the stage than it could conveniently give, for no section of the community responded more promptly and generously to the call to arms, and even before the end of 1914 managers were finding difficulty in filling their casts. In one respect the national emergency permanently benefited our profession. When the problem of man power became so complicated that it was hopeless to deal with it wholly by sifting individual claims for exemption, the Government adopted the expedient of dealing with the organised trades en bloc through the unions. For this purpose the Actors' Association ranked as a trade union, and thus gained not only prestige for itself but the first recognition of the stage as an essential part of the national life.

For a good many years I had been an active member of the Actors' Association, and now, owing to the depletion of our Council by the demands of the

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The Fays of the Abbey Theatre: An Autobiographical Record
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Foreword *
  • Postscript *
  • Contents *
  • List of Illustrations *
  • Part I - Before 1
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter II 10
  • Chapter III 25
  • Chapter IV 38
  • Chapter V 60
  • Chapter VI 81
  • Part II - The Abbey 103
  • Chapter I 105
  • Chapter II 122
  • Chapter III 136
  • Chapter IV 151
  • Chapter V 164
  • Chapter VI 173
  • Chapter VII 185
  • Chapter VIII 200
  • Chapter IX 211
  • Part III - After 233
  • Chapter I 235
  • Chapter II 248
  • Chapter III 270
  • Chapter IV 286
  • List of First Productions, with Casts 298
  • Index 311
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