Founded in 1928, the Gate Theatre is considered by many to be Dublin's home for great European and American theatre, as well as classics from the modern and Irish repertoire. A space rich with history, it was at the Gate that Orson Welles, James Mason, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Michael Gambon began their prodigious acting careers. Award-winning director Selina Cartmell has served as Artistic Director of the Gate since April 2017.
The Gate Theatre was founded in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir. During their first season, they presented seven plays, including Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape and Wilde’s Salomé. Their productions were innovative and experimental and they offered Dublin audiences an introduction to the world of European and American theatre as well as classics from the modern and Irish repertoire. It was at the Gate that Orson Welles, James Mason, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Michael Gambon began their prodigious acting careers.
The company played for two seasons at the Peacock Theatre and then on Christmas Eve 1929, in Groome’s Hotel, the lease was signed for the 18th Century Rotunda Annex –– the ‘Upper Concert Hall’, the Gate’s present home, with Goethe’s Faust opening on 17 February 1930.
Lord and Lady Longford
In 1931, the newly established Gate Theatre ran into financial difficulties and Lord (Edward) and Lady (Christine) Longford provided financial support. The Longfords worked with Edwards and MacLiammóir at the Gate until 1936, then a split developed and two separate companies were formed and played at the Gate for six months each. The companies also toured for six months until the death of Lord Longford in 1961.
During this period Edwards and MacLiammóir (Gate Theatre Productions) ran shows in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre and toured productions to Europe, Egypt and North America.
1980’s - 2000’s
From the 1980s onwards the Gate cemented its international relationship, touring plays around the world for audiences from Beijing to New York. The theatre established unique relationships with leading contemporary playwrights including Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Brian Friel. The first ever Beckett Festival was produced, presenting all 19 of the stage plays over three weeks. The first ever festival of Pinter’s plays followed, along with many premieres and productions of Friel’s work including the acclaimed production of Faith Healer with Ralph Fiennes which won a Tony Award on Broadway.
With the generous support of funders, the fabric of the building was restored and renovated under the guidance of Ronnie Tallon and Scott, Tallon Walker Architects. This included the provision of a new wing, which incorporated a studio space – The Gate Studio –for rehearsals and workshops, offering practitioners an opportunity to develop and nurture creativity.
On 3 April 2017, Selina Cartmell became Director of the Gate. As a freelance artist, she has directed a diverse range of work from Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, to international work and contemporary Irish drama. In 2004, she established Dublin based Siren Productions, a multi-award winning company conceived to innovate the classics and create relevant and dynamic new work, integrating theatre, dance, visual arts, architecture, film and music.
Her productions have been nominated for thirty five theatre awards, winning ten, including three for best director
The Outsider Season
Cartmell’s inaugural season, themed “The Outsider”, opened 12 July 2017. The Outsider season includes; an immersive production of The Great Gatsby directed by Alexander Wright. Nina Raine’s Tribes directed by Oonagh Murphy, Hans Christen Anderson’s The Red Shoes adapted by Nancy Harris and directed by Selina Cartmel, John Osborne’s Look Back In Anger directed by Annabelle Comyn, Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece re-imagined and performed by Camille O’Sullivan and Feargal Murray, Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins directed by Selina Cartmell, The stage Debut of Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper directed by Roisin McBrinn, Shakespeare's Hamlet directed by Yaël Farber and starring Ruth Negga, and, to close the season, the return of The Great Gatsby directed by Alexander Wright.
- "90 Years of The Gate Theatre | Dublin City Council". www.dublincity.ie. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- "Edward Pakenham, 6th Earl of Longford", Wikipedia, 2017-09-18, retrieved 2018-06-28
- "Award for 'Faith Healer'actor". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- O'Connor, Derek (2017-05-17). "Gate Theatre begins new chapter with Gatsby & The Snapper". RTE.ie. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
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