The Abbey Theatre pays tribute to Ronnie Masterson
 

The Abbey Theatre pays tribute to Ronnie Masterson

11 February 2014

Ray McAnally, Micheal O’Briain and Ronnie Masterson in ULYSSES AGUS PENELOPE, directed by Tómas MacAnna, the Abbey Theatre at the Queen’s Theatre, 1955. Photo: John Sarsfield.

In a tribute to actress Ronnie Masterson, Fiach MacConghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said, “Ronnie Masterson’s career at the Abbey Theatre spanned over five decades. She was spotted by Ernest Blythe at a Feis Ceoil in Dublin and invited to join the Abbey Theatre School of Acting. In 1944, Ronnie began her Abbey career in Irish language plays and also appeared in many pantomimes in Irish. She played leading roles with the company in plays by George Shiels, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lennox Robinson, M.J. Molloy, Bryan MacMahon and Federico García Lorca.

While at the Abbey Theatre she met and married actor Ray McAnally in 1945. This acting dynasty lives on with her grandson Aonghus Óg McAnally recently appearing in Major Barbara by Bernard Shaw on the Abbey stage. Ronnie and Ray were witnesses to the aftermath of the Abbey fire of 1951 and she vividly recalled the clean-up operations.

The theatre world salutes this wonderful lady and accomplished actor. Ronnie will be missed by her many friends and colleagues in the theatre community. I extend my commiserations to her family.”

Ronnie Masterson and the Abbey

Ronnie Masterson began her career at the Abbey Theatre in 1944 appearing in plays in the Irish language. Her first major role was as Gráinne in Diarmuid agus Gráinne directed by Tomás MacAnna in 1947.

Her career at the Abbey Theatre spanned over five decades from 1944 to 2000. She worked with renowned directors such as Tomás Mac Anna, Frank Dermody and Ria Mooney. She performed in plays by Micheál Mac Liammoir, George Shiels, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lennox Robinson, M.J. Molloy, Bryan MacMahon, Federico García Lorca, among others.

Among her many major parts were the title role in Kathleen Ní Houlihan by W.B. Yeats (1948), Maura Pender in The King of Friday’s Men by M.J. Molloy (1948) and Ellie Clohessy in The Country Dressmaker by George Fitzmaurice (1949). She appeared as Angustias in Federico García Lorca’s play The House of Bernarda Alba directed by Tomás Mac Anna (1963). Her last appearance at the Abbey Theatre was in Barbaric Comedies by Ramón María Del Valle-Inclán, in a new version by Frank McGuinness, directed by Calixto Bieito (2000).

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