Sean O'Casey

John Casey was born in Dublin in 1880. In 1906 he learned Irish and changed his name to Sean Ó Cathasaigh, later to be known as Sean O’Casey. He played in Boucicault’s The Shaughraun in 1895 in the Mechanics Theatre, later rebuilt as the Abbey Theatre. He worked as a laborer on the Great Northern Railway of Ireland. During the famous Lockout and the General Strike led by Jim Larkin, he was secretary to the Women and Children’s Relief Fund. The Story of the Irish Citizen Army was published in 1919. In 1924 he gave up his laboring job to earn his living from writing alone. His plays The Shadow of a Gunman (1923), Juno and the Paycock (1924), and The Plough and the Stars (1926) all opened at the Abbey Theatre. The Silver Tassie was rejected by the Abbey Theatre in 1928 and opened in London in 1929. He began his six volume autobiography in 1931. Within the Gates opened in London and in New York (1934), The Star Turns Red opened in London in 1940, Red Roses For Me opened in Dublin (1943), Purple Dust opened in Liverpool (1945), Oak Leaves and Lavender opened in London (1947),Cock-a-Doodle Dandy opened in Newcastle-on-Tyne (1949) and Bedtime Story opened in New York (1952). The Bishop’s Bonfire, starring Cyril Cusack and directed by Tyrone Guthrie, opened in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre (1955). His last play, The Drums of Father Ned, which had been scheduled for the 1958 Dublin Theatre Festival, was disapproved of by the Archbishop of Dublin. This led to the playwright banning his own work from professional productions in Ireland. This ban was lifted in 1964 and the Abbey Theatre presented Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars at the World Theatre Festival in London, held to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Sean O’Casey died in 1964.

Past Performances:

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