The 1930s

The Dublin Shakespeare Society was formally established in 1935 as the successor to the Dublin Branch of the BESS. In fact, moves were afoot from 1931 to change the title of the Society. Leading lights from the former BESS, including prominent academics from both Trinity College and University College Dublin, were again to the fore.

Apart from the new name, the Society that emerged in 1935 was more in the nature of a theatrical revival with some cast changes, than a new production. The emphasis remained on literary events and the Society managed to attract impressive guest speakers. The BESS had handed on a tradition of scholarship and it would be fair to say that the overall ethos remained elitist and intellectual.

No details of full productions are available after 1931, but a notable development dates from 1937. That year the members of the Society entered into an attractive and lucrative arrangement with Radio Eireann, to broadcast scenes from Shakespeare on the national radio station, located in the GPO. First broadcast were ‘Scenes from Macbeth’ in 1937.

At least 11 further broadcasts followed in the period up to 1944. These broadcasts put the Society on a sound footing and ended when a professional repertory company was established by the National broadcaster in the late 1940s.