On 18 July 1951 the Abbey Theatre on Lower Abbey Street in Dublin was destroyed by fire.

Theatre producer and director Lennox Robinson describes how the Abbey Theatre deliberately set itself on fire.

It went up in flames and in glory reflecting the glory of its players and playwrights. The players and playwrights have not perished and the Abbey Theatre is as vital today as it was yesterday.

On the night of the 17 July 1951 the curtains fell on a performance of Sean O'Casey's 'The Plough and the Stars'. The audience, players and staff had left the theatre. Shortly after midnight two young men passing in the street saw the building in flames destroying everything apart from the front offices and the vestibule. Lennox Robinson says that it has taken the demise of the building to make people,

Realise how deeply rooted is the Abbey Theatre in the national life of Ireland.

The Abbey Theatre first opened in 1904.

This interview with Lennox Robinson was recorded in 1951.