Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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The Queen’s Royal Theatre

From 'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyageby Turtle Bunbury (MPG, 2008).

`Children in arms cost one guinea. The public are advised that there are police in attendance. Bicycles are stored free. Gentlemen in bare feet are not admitted.’ These, according to the last assistant manager of the Queen's Royal Theatre on Pearse Street, were the quaint words emblazoned upon an old promotional poster from the 1950s. Known simply as the Queen's, the theatre was built in 1844 on the site of the former Adelphi Theatre. During the 1930s and 1940s, this was the home of the Happy Gang, a troupe of comics, singers and musicians who specialised in farce and pantomime. These were the vaudeville days when everyone tended to sing-a-long to ‘Jake the Peg, diddle-iddle-iddle-dum’ and so forth. Gang members included Danny Cummins, Cecil Nash and Rose Tynan. In 1935, Maureen Potter appeared as a fairy in a pantomime with Jimmy O'Dea, then Ireland's foremost comedian. Her subsequent take-off of Alfie Byrne, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, brought the house down. In 1951, the Abbey Theatre burned down and the Abbey theatre company took a lease on the Queen’s for sixteen years. The theatre closed in 1969 and was demolished in 1975.



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