Lennox Robinson’s Legacy

Read how Lennox Robinson’s legacy gift is having an impact on Irish theatre today.

Lennox Robinson (1886-1958)

Lennox Robinson was born in Douglas, Co Cork in 1886. He was a dramatist, poet, theatre producer and director. His first play, The Cross Roads was performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1909. He became Manager and Director of the theatre towards the end of that year, following the death of J M Synge. He resigned in 1914 but returned to the Abbey Theatre in 1918 as manager and producer, and was appointed to the board of the theatre in 1923. He spent many years as director of the Abbey School of Acting.

He continued to write many plays throughout the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. During this period he wrote The Big House (1926), The Far Off Hills (1928) and Drama at Inish (1933), which, when it transferred to Broadway, was called Is Life Worth Living? He edited Lady Gregory’s Journals (1946) and The Oxford Book of Irish Verse with Donagh McDonagh (1958). In 1951 Lennox Robinson published Ireland’s Abbey Theatre, the first full-length history of the company. He remained on the Abbey board until his death in 1958.

Lennox Robinson Bursary Award
In his will Lennox Robinson bequeathed his estate to his wife and determined that on her death the copyright would pass to the National Theatre Society Limited, now the Abbey Theatre. His wish was that the copyrights assigned to the Abbey would be held as a trust fund to be called The Lennox Robinson Trust. The Trust was to be used “in aid of the following persons: Playwrights, Players, Producers, Stage Designers and Stage Musicians, Any Other Servant of the Theatre.” Since 1977 The Abbey Theatre has administered this fund by making awards to theatre practitioners. Past recipients include, Brien Vahey, Frank Flood, Blaithin Sheerin, Bronwen Casson, Dave Nolan, Dermot Bolger, Alan Gilsenan, Conall Morrison and Melanie Clarke Pullen.

The recipient in 2013 is Ruth McGowan. Ruth will undertake a research project into initiatives and strategies that could allow the Abbey Theatre to bring new work to the Peacock stage with increased frequency in a cost-effective way.


The Lennox Robinson Trust has funded the Double Bill of Short Plays; Love in a Glass Jar by Nancy Harris and Ribbons by Elaine Murphy. Part of our 2013 Short Play Season, and for 10 nights only, the Peacock stage plays host to these two 20 minute plays which focus on love, life and relationships in modern Ireland.