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Abbey Theatre Minute Books

In December 2015, the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway Digital Archive Partnership made freely available online the digitised minute books of the Abbey Theatre 1904 – 1939.

As part of the Yeats2015 celebrations, the online digital archive of Abbey Theatre Minute Books, fully transcribed, will be made available to the public for the first time. Collectively, the minute books amount to nearly 1,000 pages, covering some of the Abbey’s most significant events from the period 1904-1939, being the period that spans Yeats' lifetime.

'A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre History', the Abbey Theatre - NUI Galway Digital Archive Partnership is the largest digital theatre project ever undertaken, and heralds a new era in Irish theatre scholarship, both nationally and internationally. Previously unseen, the Abbey Theatre Minute Books include the period in history when both Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats were involved in the management of the Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre minute books contain notes from meetings of the theatre’s Board of Directors. They offer a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of the theatre, showing how the Abbey’s managers dealt with a variety of issues, from choosing plays to determining how much to pay their actors. Along the way, we find important information about leading figures from the Irish Literary Revival and beyond: not just W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and John Millington Synge but Sean O’Casey, Lennox Robinson, Teresa Deevy, Sean O’Faolain, Frank O’Connor, and many others. We also learn about great Irish actors such as Molly Allgood, Ria Mooney, Barry Fitzgerald, Cyril Cusack and many more.