Playboys, Paycocks and Playbills

By Lisa Marie Griffith

If you need any excuse to get out and visit the museum and gorgeous grounds at the Pearse Museum, St Enda’s Rathfarnham,  look no further then their current exhibition ‘Playboys, Paycocks and Playbills: Abbey Theatre poster design from the 1970s and 1980s’. The above image (and two below) are part of the exhibit normally housed at the National Print Museum. The exhibit explores in the main the work of two in-house poster designers for the Abbey, Kevin Scally and Brendan Foreman, who worked for the theatre 1974-79 and 1980-88 respectively. The exhibit adds an interesting dimension to the history of art, theatre and design in twentieth century Ireland.

The curator Brian Crowley says that ‘posters had not played a major role in the early years of the Abbey’  but there was a growing awareness in the 1970s of the importance of advertising and design to convey the spirit and ethos of individual productions. The posters are ‘one of the few tangible records of a production once its run had ended’ so they are unique ephemera and an important document for the history fo the theatre. The exhibit runs until 6 June so get there soon.

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