All for Hecuba: An Irish Theatrical Biography
by Micheal Mac Liammoir
ISBN 1843511517 (1-84351-151-7)
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Hardcover, The Lilliput Press Ltd, 2008
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Book summary: From his days as a child actor in London, sharing the stage with Noel Coward, to founding the Gate Theatre in Dublin with his partner Hilton Edwards, and undertaking ambitious tours to pre-war Europe, Michael MacLiammoir's "All For Hecuba" combines autobiography with a biography of theatre and post-civil-war Ireland. Warm, engaging, intelligent and witty, this vivid narrative, first published in 1946, describes the struggles and triumphs of the Gate's early years, when MacLiammoir and Edwards brought international theatre to Dublin audiences with a series of innovative and experimental productions and designs directed with extraordinary panache.As they set about transforming the landscape of Irish theatre, they enlisted new and established talent in a roll-call of personalities; Denis Johnston, Lennox Robinson, architect Michael Scott, Mary Manning, Padraic Colum, Ria Mooney, Sybil Thorndike , Christine and Edward Longford - and the blazing comet that was Orson Welles. The conversion of the Rotunda Rooms into a theatre space, the constant threat of bankruptcy, the infamous Longford split, and pre-war tours to Europe, Egypt and North America, are all set down in a supple, elegiac prose that establishes "All for Hecuba" as more than mere history, but as literature. In its eighty years, the Gate Theatre has had only two artistic directorates, the first shared by Hilton Edwards and Micheal MacLiammoir, the second by Michael Colgan, who provides a Foreword to the reissue of this neglected classic.
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