Theatre riots might capture the imagination but audiences, critics and authority figures shape theatre in other less dramatic ways. Guest Dr Barry Houlihan talks about his new book Theatre and archival memory: Irish drama and marginalised histories 1951-77 (2022)
The Playboy Riots were a notoriously rowdy series of audience protests in the Abbey Theatre. The patrons were so offended by The Playboy of the Western World their loud singing and heckling drowned out the actors. This much-studied moment in Irish cultural history deserves a deep-dive into the play itself and the over-reaction to its performance.
With guest, Dr Lloyd (Maedhbh) Houston, I discussed the play and the uproar it caused, paying particular attention to drunken singing and the comedy act of one protestor, Mr Overcoat.