Chun an leathanach seo a léamh i nGaeilge, cliceáil anseo.

As a culmination of our first two years as Co-Directors, we are pleased to present a moment of renewal for the National Theatre of Ireland, as part of our new five-year strategy for the organisation.  

In bringing to the foreground the legacy of the Abbey Theatre, we posed questions around where it has come from and where it is going, interrogating what or who it is for today.  

By examining ourselves and the world in this way, we returned to the founding principles and original impulse of the Abbey Theatre. Embracing the radicalism, bravery and dynamism of the theatre’s foundations, which pre-date the State, we have explored how these values can be applied in a contemporary context. As part of this process, the Abbey Theatre recently launched the Gregory Project, a new body of work with an artistic focus that celebrates the trailblazing legacy of Lady Gregory as an artistic leader, a courageous producer and a champion of a generation of theatre makers.   

Where this exploration finds its most immediate expression is in the iconic Abbey Theatre logo that audiences will recognise from our foyer, tickets and beyond. Its evolved and new iteration is based on Elinor Mary Monsell’s original from 1904, with contemporary insight from artist Steve Doogan. The mythological Queen Meadhbh and her wolfhound step out from the form of the capital A, the wolfhound protecting the canon, as is our own responsibility.  

More than that, both are enthusiastically striving out of the confines of the A with confidence and bravery, seeking new frontiers, just like the artists who we gather to make theatre.

This one image embodies our direction of travel: we are forward facing and striving, be that in programme, process or policy. We are not changing who we are, but we are including who we might yet become. 

Looking back to spring forward also led us to the Celtic calendar. Taking inspiration from this island’s pre-Christian era encouraged us to move beyond the sense of control and restriction that followed Christianity’s arrival, which later became embedded in the nascent Irish State and its culture.  

The Celtic calendar also inspires colour schemes and ways of organising our work, using those themes of gestation or renewal. By reflecting in this way on our Celtic history, we can move forward with a sense of freedom and possibility.    

Over time, this will find articulation and application across many of your interactions with the Abbey Theatre, be that in the building or online, before the stage or in our café or bar, across our posters, programmes and merchandise; in how we programme, how we express ourselves and how we manifest Ireland’s National Theatre. 

Wherever you encounter it, we hope that it deepens your connection with the National Theatre of Stories, of Ideas, of Uproar, of Artists, of Conversations, of Traditions – making them and breaking them; that it deepens your connection with the National Theatre of Ireland.  

Caitríona McLaughlin and Mark O’Brien 

Co-Directors of the Abbey Theatre 

National Theatre of Ireland  

With thanks to both the Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for their continued support.

With thanks to aad for their work on the renewed Abbey Theatre brand and wove on the forthcoming Abbey Theatre strategy.