Andrew P. Wilson and the Early Irish and Scottish National Theatres, 1911-1950

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This work examines the contributions to two British theatre traditions of Andrew P. Wilson and the birth pangs accompanying the idea and the reality of a national theatre in Ireland and Scotland. The only book of its kind, it is a critical biography of one man’s work and a call to recognize important persons whom scholars have deemed as canonically dispensable.


“The hallmark of Burch’s work is its thoroughness and its judiciousness. . . . [the author] is careful to assert no more than is Wilson’s due, and he alerts the reader frequently to how easy it could be to make conclusions from so sparse a collection of evidence. He is engaged in a detective’s errand, and by the end of his sifting and winnowing, he is able to convince readers well of how a figure so seemingly connected and influential could sink below the surface of visibility.” – Robert Skloot, Professor, Department of Theatre and Drama, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Burch’s study posits that without such figures as Wilson, theatres fold, movements flounder, and the reach of theatre is lessened. Anyone who works in theatre must recognize the validity of this point: theater is more than the sum of its stars. It is a galaxy, a web, a network maintained and propelled by those like Wilson, artists whose dignity and importance when recorded reveals the complex material circumstances and connections that govern the execution of theatre art.” – Sara Freeman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre Arts, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

“Burch begins his quest with a significant challenge built into his very argument: If Wilson is invisible, how can we be led by him? Here [the author’s] tenacious and exhaustive research wins the battle. [He] has scoured all extant records in his search for his subject.” - Dr. Kevin Thomas Browne, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR

"Burch as written a work for scholars working in Irish and Scottish theatre history that is also accessible for those unfamilar with the subject. Through his analyses of Wilson's troubled relationship with O'Casey and Yeats and his fate at the hands of historians of Irish and Scottish theatre, Burch clearly demonstrates that marginalization -- as well as the inclusionary and exclusionary, thus subjective, power of historians' pens -- can radically distort theatre history. One must applaud his efforts to repair the damage by discovering omissions and filling in the blanks." -- Prof. Dawn Larsen, Francis Marion University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Robert Skloot
1. Preludes & Beginnings (1886-1911)
2. Dublin, The Irish Worker, and the Socialist Communist (1912-1914)
3. Lock-out and the Historical Drama (1913-1914)
4. The Abbey Years and the Origins of His Historical Invisibility (1911-1915)
5. Trying to Locate a Voice, Away from the Abbey and Larkin (1913-1920)
6. “To Found a Scottish National Theatre” (1920-1924)
7. The Film Director, Wodehouse Golf Stories (1924)
8. Scots Wha Hae! (1926-1939)
9. BBC Scotland (1933-1947)
10. Winding Down (1943-1950)
11. Conclusions
Appendix One
APW Biography and Bibliography

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