Taken shortly after the fire was put out, this photograph depicts the havoc created backstage by the 1951 Abbey Theatre fire. This storeroom close to the Abbey stage was left totally exposed to the elements, having lost its roof. The photo clearly shows a fire hose abandoned in front of an empty cupboard. What is not obvious is the importance of that cupboard to Irish theatrical history. Here the scripts and prompt scripts of Abbey Theatre productions were stored at stage right, along with curtain, sound and lighting cues. Many of the items displayed on this website were rescued from this cupboard by dedicated Abbey staff members, and due to their actions are now preserved in the Abbey Theatre Archive thus allowing them to be examined by future generations.
Listen here to Homes of the Abbey a podcast from our Oral History Project.