Wednesday 18 July 2018

Gaiety's show goes on in city's library

Allison Bray

FRESH-faced photos of Colin Farrell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers before they became Hollywood heartthrobs are now part of the national theatre's archive.

Dublin City Library boasts the sole ownership of the images of the Hollywood A-listers when they were students at the Gaiety School of Acting.

Although Colin Farrell dropped out before he graduated, his photo and that of some of his famous fellow alumni -- including Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Stuart Townsend, Irish stage and TV actor Don Wycherly and actress Eva Birthistle -- are among a collection of the school's memorabilia donated to the library's Theatre Archive last night.


The material also includes theatrical posters, photographs, scripts and other memorabilia recounting the 25-year history of the Gaiety School of Acting, founded by theatre legend Joe Dowling in 1986.

Rare, framed posters of Brian Friel's play 'Translations' and press cuttings and class photographs of some of the school's famous former students are included in the archives.

The school's entire archival collection -- including photos of Hollywood star Peter Ustinov taken to mark the school's 10th anniversary in 1996 -- will become the first official record of an Irish theatrical school, according to the school's archivist Barry Houlihan.

The collection also includes the only surviving record of the original national theatre school. The prospectus for the circa- 1944 theatre school run by the Abbey Theatre's first female director, Ria Mooney, is among eight boxloads of archives that have been donated to the library.

"It's very important, especially in the current climate with theatre companies falling by the wayside, to have this collection," Mr Houlihan said.

"This is the first Irish theatre school to be archived."

The school's founder, and former artistic director of the Abbey and Gaiety theatres, Joe Dowling, returned to Dublin from Minneapolis, where he is the director of the renowned Guthrie Theatre, to officiate at the handing-over ceremony at the library last night.

"I'm enormously proud of what they've achieved," he said of the theatre school, now under the direction of Patrick Sutton.

"It has become such a significant part of the Irish theatre scene," he told the Irish Independent last night.

"When we started, there was a dearth of training. We wanted people in the profession to train the next generation of actors. I'm very proud we began it," he said. Mr Sutton added: "We are delighted at becoming part of the documented theatre history of Dublin and hope that the archive will prove to be of interest to researchers in the coming years.

"We are particularly proud to donate an original prospectus from the Gaiety Theatre School 1944-45, which was run by the celebrated actress Ria Mooney."

Irish Independent

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