An exclusive Live Webinar

SUCH FRIENDS! The Founding of the Abbey Theatre

Hosted by
PICT Classic Theatre
kaydee and
Alan Stanford

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August 28th
2:00 pm EDT





...wrote William Butler Yeats of Lady Augusta Gregory and the other Irish poets and playwrights he worked with to establish what is now Dublin's Abbey Theatre. What brought this group of "such friends" together at the end of the 19th century to create the first government-subsidized theatre in the Western world, which is still functioning today? Join us as we explore the personal and professional relationships among these fascinating characters. We are thrilled to welcome back Dr. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly to co-host this presentation with Alan Stanford.


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This webinar is FREE and appropriate for ages 13+.


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About Alan Stanford

Alan Stanford has been Artistic and Executive Director of PICT Classic Theatre since 2013, having worked with the company for several years prior to that. He came to Pittsburgh from Dublin in Ireland, where he was an associate actor and director at the renowned Gate Theatre for over 30 years. As an actor at the Gate he portrayed a multitude of roles but was best known for his performances as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, a production which toured the world, and for Herod in Oscar Wilde’s Salome, a performance that has been acclaimed internationally. He continued to play Pozzo for twenty years on various tours of the United States and around the world as well as repeating the role in a film of the play made for the Beckett on Film series. 

Other noted roles at The Gate include Higgins in Pygmalion, Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Sir in The Dresser, and Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler, (a role he also played with the Abbey Theatre). He has a long association with the works of Oscar Wilde and has given many readings, recitals and lectures across Ireland, in Monaco at the Princess Grace Library and in Pittsburgh. He has performed many of the principle roles in Wilde’s plays including Illingworth in A Woman Of No Importance and Sir Robert Chiltern in An Ideal Husband. In addition, he has performed the role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest twice: at the Abbey Theatre and for PICT in Pittsburgh.  

Alan is a prolific writer, critically acclaimed for his adaptations of classic text. His work as writer for The Gate include adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist, and Jane Eyre. These adaptations have been staged in several theatres in the USA and were sell out successes at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Another major success for The Gate was The Picture of Dorian Gray, which he co-adapted. He also wrote a stage version of How Many Miles to Babylon, from the book by Irish novelist Jennifer Johnston.

As a director he is regarded as a leading authority on the works of Wilde, as well as Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett. He worked with famed British playwrights Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard and Christopher Hampton. He also established his own company Second Age which concentrated on classic texts especially for younger audiences. He was also Director of Theatre at the Project Arts Centre for four years, directing and appearing in many productions, his most notable performance being de Sade in Marat/Sade. His productions there included works by Shaw, Arbuzov, Grahame Greene, Brecht and Shakespeare. His recent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at PICT Classic Theatre was nationally recognized for its avant-garde approach to lighting and minimalist staging.

Alan created the long-running character George Manning on the popular Irish television series Glenroe. His other film credits include Waiting for Godot, Michael Collins, Animal Farm, and the Tudors, among many othersA man of many passions, he was also a restaurant critic and weekly columnist for the Irish Independent, Ireland's largest-selling daily newspaper.


About Dr. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly

Kathleen Dixon Donnelly has been involved in teaching and the creative process for over 40 years. Her dissertation for her Ph.D. in Communications from Dublin City University, “Such Friends,” was on the creative development of writers in early 20th century salons, including the Irish Literary Renaissance, the Bloomsbury group, the Americans in Paris in the 1920s, and the Algonquin Round Table.

Kathleen’s thesis for her MBA from Duquesne University was Manager as Muse: A Case Study of Maxwell Perkins’ Work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe. She also has a BA in English, Theatre and Art from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA, and an MA in Education from Birmingham City University [BCU] in the UK.

Kathleen recently retired as a senior lecturer at BCU. She has done presentations to many lifelong learning groups in the UK and the US, as well as The Southbank Center, the English-Speaking Union, and The Florida Center for the Book. She has published a series of books from her Gypsy Teacher blogs at, chronicling her voyages on Semester at Sea and relocation to the United Kingdom from Florida. Kathleen also posts about “The Literary 1920s” at and on Twitter, @SuchFriends.

Kathleen relocated with her Irish Husband Tony Dixon and their two cats, William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, from Birmingham, UK to her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

You can contact her at


About PICT Classic Theatre

PICT Classic Theatre is an internationally recognized, non-profit theatre company founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1996. For the past 24 years, PICT Classic Theatre has brought you the very best professional productions and performances of your favorite Classic and Irish drama. Plays that are powerful, poignant, and provocative. Plays that are purely PICT.

Our vision is to present the highest quality productions for the widest audience, featuring our innovative, minimalist design. With over 109 productions in our history, PICT continues to bring beloved works to the stage to approximately 10,000 patrons each season. We are commited to entertaining, engaging, and serving the Pittsburgh community by examining current social issues through the lens of classic text.

The greatest of plays. The best actors. The best creative theatre artists. And as much as possible, we keep it local.

PICT is honored to have a home in the historic Fred Rogers Studio at WQED - the birthplace of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Learn more at

August 28th
2:00 pm EDT