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Oedipus at Colonus


  • Playwright

    William Butler Yeats 

  • Adapted / Translated From


  • Setting

    The neighbourhood of Athens, near a shrine.

  • Notes

    Based on the tragedy by Sophocles.

  • Synopsis

    Oedipus is exiled from Thebes with his daughters and awaits death. His sons are fighting over the throne and each lobby for his support in their respective claim. His daughters are kidnapped by Creon in an attempt to force Oedipus to return to Thebes, but they are rescued by Theseus, King of Athens.

  • Play Type


    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female



  • Date of First Production

    12 September 1927

  • Production Notes

    If "Oedipus the King", "Oedipus at Colonus" and "Antigone" cannot be considered a trilogy in the strict Greek sense of the word, they present at any rate a tragic story in definite sequence. Sophocles wrote "Antigone" first, "Oedipus the King" in middle-age, "Oedipus at Colonus" in extreme old age - perhaps at the age of eighty-seven. He died when he was eighty-nine and "Colonus" was produced after his death by his grandson. The early story of Oedipus should be well-known to Abbey playgoers who have seen "Oedipus the King" - how as a young man believing himself the son of Polybus he arrived in Thebes, how he delivered the city from the Sphinx, how he married the king's widow Jocasta, how she bore him children and how at last the dreadful truth came to light, that he had killed his father and married his mother, and how, learning that truth, he put out his eyes. Years elapse between "Oedipus the King" and "Oedipus at Colonus". His brother-in-law Creon holds the throne of Thebes, his sons battle for it abd Oedipus himself wanders a penniless outcast, his two faithful daughters for attendants; he still awaits his "incredible doom". It is at this point that the play "Colonus" opens. With refererence to the chorus it should be noted that certainly on two occasions in this play it is used to mark a passage of considerable time. During the second chorus, the recapture of Antigone and Ismene takes place and during the final chorus the long journey of Oedipus to his death. L.R.

  • Producer

    Produced by Abbey Theatre/Amharclann na Mainistreach

  • Original Venue

    Abbey Theatre/Amharclann na Mainistreach

Original Cast  
Servants & Soldiers Udolphus Wright
Theseus Michael J. Dolan
Oedipus F J McCormick
Creon Barry Fitzgerald
A Stranger Arthur Shields
Chorus Peter Nolan
Leader of the Chorus John Stephenson (1)
Antigone Shelah Richards
Polyneices Gabriel J. Fallon
A Messenger P.J. Carolan
Chorus Michael Scott (1)
Chorus T. Moran
Ismene Kate Curling
Chorus Walter Dillon
Servants & Soldiers W.J. Scott
Chorus M. Finn
Servants & Soldiers C. Culhane
Servants & Soldiers G. Green
Servants & Soldiers J. Breen
Servants & Soldiers P. Raymond
Production Team  
Produced by Lennox Robinson
Assistant Producer Arthur Shields
Stage Manager Arthur Shields



  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    A.P. Watt Ltd.

  • Address

    20 John Street
    London WC1N 2DR

  • Phone

    + 44 (0)20 7405 6774

  • Email

  • Website