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Abbey theatre. First permanent home of the Irish National Theatre, founded by Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and W. B. Yeats to foster native drama. Yeats's verse play On Baile's Strand was the opening production in 1904 but more dramatic scenes came four years later with riots at the first night of J. M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World. Controversy also surrounded the staging of plays by Shaw and O'Casey, though the latter's The Shadow of a Gunman marked a decisive shift from Celtic twilight to Dublin tenement. The original building, on the corner of Abbey Street, was destroyed by fire in 1951.
Abbey Theatre Theatre erected on Abbey Street, Dublin (1904), by Annie E. F. Horniman to house the Irish National Theatre Society. In 1925 the Abbey became the National Theatre of Ireland. Works by W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge and Sean O'Casey have been introduced here, and the Theatre is renowned for its support of new writers.