Chapter

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

Lauren Arrington

in W.B. Yeats, the Abbey Theatre, Censorship, and the Irish State

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590575
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595523 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590575.003.0002

Series: Oxford English Monographs

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

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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

Chapter.  9597 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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