The Dublin Shakespeare Society entered the new Millennium after almost a century of experience in presenting productions of Shakespeare’s plays on the stage, and in debating many of the literary issues that have arisen – and will no doubt continue to arise – in connection with his work.
First of all came a turn-around in the fortunes of the Society – and in the dire position of other city community theatre groups who had lost their permanent premises during the 1990s – casualties to the economic ravages of the so-called “Celtic Tiger”.
In 2002 a new small theatre was opened at the premises of the Teachers’ Club, at 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. In the short period since then it has become a virtual ‘headquarters’ for a number of established and new theatre groups associated with the city centre. The Society, some of whose members have long-established links with the Club, was among the first drama groups to make use of the new Theatre, presenting its production of Don Gill of Green Breeches (Tirso de Molina), directed by Paul Maher, in the Theatre @ 36 in November 2002.
Since then, almost all major productions of the Society have been presented at the same venue. Between 2002 and 2006, 17 full productions were presented, 5 of them plays by Shakespeare.
The Teachers’ Club also kindly provides rehearsal facilities and the Club’s premises has become the location for most of the Society’s social activities and formal meetings.
The Society continues to be popular with established theatre people and with younger members, some of whom regard working in plays presented by the Society as a stepping-stone to the professional theatre. It is gratifying to see references to ‘Shakes’ productions in the CVs of actors being included in the programmes of professional productions.