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The Arts Council Playography Na Gaeilge


The Pike Theatre


  • Description

    Founded in 1953 by Carolyn Swift and her husband Alan Simpson, the Pike Theatre Club served as the venue for avant-garde, satirical and modernist performances, introducing Irish audiences to the plays of Brendan Behan, Samuel Beckett, Sartre and others. Their first production was the postumous world premiere of G. K. Chesterton's The Surprise, and they announced their artistic manifesto as the following:

    "Our policy is to present plays of all countries on all subjects, written from whatever viewpoint, provided they appear to us to be of interest and to be dramatically satisfying. As our theatre is a small, intimate one we intend to avail of the opportunities afforded to stage productions which, for various reasons, would not be seen on either the larger or smaller commercial stages, and we hoped to give theatregoers opportunities to see more of the struggle going on at present in world theatre to introduce new techniques and new subjects in play writing."

    They ran a series of very popular late night revues, Follies, in their tiny theatre in Herbert Lane, Dublin 2. In 1957 their English-speaking European premiere of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo was the opening show of the first International Dublin Theatre Festival. Due to the suggested appearance of a condom on stage, where a character mimed dropping one on the floor, Alan Simpson was arrested and charged for 'producing for gain an indecent and profane performance'. After a year of court battles during which Simpson was imprisoned for a short time, Justice O’Flynn ruled that the defendant was not guilty. This didn’t save the Pike though, which had incurred so many legal expenses that it was forced to close down.

  • Founder

    Alan Simpson


    Carolyn Swift