Augusta Gregory, Bernard Shaw, and the Shewing-Up of Dublin Castle

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title



In 1909 the lord lieutenant of Ireland attempted to prevent the Abbey Theatre from producing Bernard Shaw's Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet because the English lord chamberlain had denied the play a license. Shaw and the Abbey directors Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats seized the opportunity to contest the extension of English censorship to Ireland. With their genius for hype, they produced the spectacle of their resistance, winning nationalist support for the Abbey. The triumphant first performance was a multivalent occasion, the season's most stylish and seditious event. Gregory filled the theater with Dublin Castle society, members of the very state apparatus that had tried to stop the production; but in meetings with Castle officials and in Abbey press releases, she adopted the idiom of the Irish rebel tradition. Like those other Irish happenings the speech from the dock and the graveside oration, this event was staged not only for its immediate audience but for the Irish people of the future.



Published Citation

McDiarmid, Lucy. “Augusta Gregory, Bernard Shaw, and the Shewing-Up of Dublin Castle.” PMLA, vol. 109, no. 1, 1994, pp. 26–44. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/463009