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W.B. Yeats, the Abbey Theatre, Censorship, and the Irish StateAdding the Half-pence to the Pence$
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Lauren Arrington

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590575.001.0001

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‘The dance is changing now’: Economics and Revolution, 1916–1921

‘The dance is changing now’: Economics and Revolution, 1916–1921

(p.15) 2 ‘The dance is changing now’: Economics and Revolution, 1916–1921
W.B. Yeats, the Abbey Theatre, Censorship, and the Irish State

Lauren Arrington

Oxford University Press

The years of revolution had severe financial repercussions for the theatre. Although the Abbey underwent a brief resurgence of profits at the beginning of 1916, the Easter Rising and the subsequent War for Independence thrust the theatre further into crisis. The Abbey directors adapted the theatre's aesthetic in direct response to the crisis. Although the theatre's founding principle was to be ‘above the petty politics that divide us’, politicization was an economic necessity. Plays written by revolutionaries, such as Terence MacSwiney's The Revolutionist, which the directors acknowledged was poor as a dramatic piece, were staged in an attempt to appeal to the public's sympathies and thus regenerate profits. Yeats also revised his hunger‐strike play The King's Threshold, in the wake of MacSwiney's popularity. Although this shift in aesthetic was not a matter of censorship, it serves to illustrate the way in which the theatre adapted its programme according to the political climate and provides necessary background for the request for a subsidy.

Keywords:   Easter Rising, MacSwiney, The Revolutionist, King's Threshold

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