Recollections of Nellie Bushell who has been working at the Abbey Theatre Dublin for 42 years.

Nellie Bushell took time out from her job at the Abbey Theatre to cross over to Radio Éireann at the GPO on O'Connell Street Dublin to share some memories.

From the Liberties in Dublin Nellie Bushell started work at the Abbey Theatre aged 16 and has worked there for over forty years. Her memories bring back a city of horse trams and gas lamps and somebody known with affection to every friend of the Abbey Theatre.

Somebody quite unique in the theatre world of Dublin.

Nellie Bushell began work selling tickets where here job also meant she had to quickly maker her way to the theatre entrance door to tear the ticket. The curtain would not rise on the performance until it seemed certain that all the audience members had taken their seats. She describes the audience as being as much a part of the theatre as anyone on the stage. One night at the Abbey Theatre, there were only 14 people in the audience and even some of those were complimentary tickets. However, the show went on regardless.

The Abbey Theatre faced a number of challenges through the years and Nellie Bushell recalls one particular crisis when all the staff had to agree to a pay cut. Since then, she has lived to see packed houses and long runs and believes that all the sacrifices were worthwhile.

She describes both the players and plays of that time as wonderful and still remembers the voices of the young Abbey Theatre through the years. She particularly remembers the beautiful voices of Frank Fay and Sara Allgood.

Beauty of speech was one of the Abbey's earliest aims and as you know it has been carried on until today.

The Abbey Theatre and those that worked there were united in both their love for theatre and by their part in the national movement.

This interview was recorded on 8 April 1947 for use in the programme 'Microphone Parade'.  The presenter is Tomás O'Faolain.

From the RTÉ Archives Acetate Disc Collection which has been digitised with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) Archiving Scheme.