My agreeable acquaintance…
…Mrs Egerton …will laugh very heartily on recollecting the many happy days, and whimsical adventures which occurred that winter in dear Dublin’ (Tate Wilkinson, His Memoirs Vol. III, 78)
Tate Wilkinson, the actor manager whose memoirs leave us with a vivid impression of his life as a touring performer in the 18thc, displayed a real affection for the Irish city. 18thc Dublin was an important staging-post on the touring circuit. Many famous actors, dancers and musicians from Britain, France and Italy, including David Garrick and Peg Woffington performed on the stage of the most significant theatre in Dublin at the time – the Smock Alley Theatre. Smock Alley, in its turn, launched Irish talents who went on to achieve fame in Great Britain, becoming some of the greatest names on the London stage. Who were these celebrities? How did they fit into Dublin society and its delicate Anglo-Irish mix? How were they promoted and how did the circulation of images play a part? What was life like, for these entertainers, “on the road” between the two countries and how, particularly, did dancers respond to a country with a rich culture of traditional dance of its own? This paper will investigate notable dancers appearing on the stage of The Smock Alley Theatre during the long 18thc and examine the extent to which the Irish acknowledged their celebrity.
Mary Collins is an early dance specialist of international repute. She works with dance, theatre and TV companies as an adviser, choreographer, dancer and actress and tours regularly giving master-classes, lecture-recitals and workshops. A faculty member of AestasMusica in Croatia and The Ringve International Summer Course in Norway, she works with many of the world’s leading exponents of early music. Mary revives original choreography and
gesture for historical performance. Credits include productions by Purcell, Blow, Charpentier, Cavalieri, Rebel, Rameau and Gluck. Mary teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, also at the University of Birmingham. Outside the UK she has given concerts and courses in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, Romania, USA and Brazil. In Romania, Mary also inspired and helped create the Orange
Young Musician Award to find and promote young musical talent throughout the country. She has presented several programmes on early dance and its music for TV, and includes projects for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The National Trust, English Heritage, and The British Museum, and a forthcoming collaboration with the Irish Baroque Orchestra.