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Remembering Michael

Remembering one of Ireland's most famous actors Alfred Willmore also known as Micheál MacLiammóir. This dramatist, impresario, writer, poet and painter was a prominent figure who dominated the arts world and helped co-found The Gate Theatre in 1928 (1998)

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4.7/5 (3 ratings)

Remembering Michael

Afred Willmore more commonly known as Micheál MacLiammóir or Michael to his friends was a British-born Irish actor, dramatist, impresario, writer, poet and painter who was a prominent figure among the artistic community of twentieth-century Ireland.

Although born in London, MacLiammóir was so captivated by Irish culture that he adopted Ireland as his home and became an honorary Irishman. He is remembered for his contribution to the worlds of Irish literature and theatre.

One of his most noted achievements was the establishment, along with his partner Hilton Edwards, of The Gate Theatre in Dublin. This giant of the arts had many talents.  His much-acclaimed published books, poems and writing, for example.  But to many, he will be remembered for his stellar performances of 'The Importance of Being Oscar', a one-man show created by himself on the writings of Oscar Wilde. It was later filmed by the BBC with MacLiammóir reprising the role.

Directed by his partner Hilton Edwards, this production was an outstanding success when it was staged at the 1960 Dublin Theatre Festival and brought both men to theatres across the world. MacLiammóir formed a life-long relationship with Edwards and both men established The Gate Theatre in 1928, making it one of the lasting institutions of the Irish stage. 

During their first season, they presented seven plays, including Ibsen’s "Peer Gynt", O’Neill’s "The Hairy Ape" and Wilde’s "Salomé". Their productions were innovative and experimental and they offered Dublin audiences an introduction to the world of European and American theatre as well as classics from the modern and Irish repertoire. 

Edwards and MacLiammóir were the subject of a biography titled, 'The Boys' by Christopher Fitz-Simon. Edwards and MacLiammóir are buried alongside each other at St. Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton, County Dublin and in 1973 both men where awarded Freedom of Dublin City.

Remembering Michael, is an affectionate look at the life and legacy of Micheál MacLiammóir twenty years after his death.  It features actor, Bill Golding, biographer, Christopher Fitz-Simon and former Managing Director of The Gate Theatre, Mary Cannon. Throughout this documentary we hear extracts of MacLiammóir; including him reading Padraic Pearse's poem "Mise Éire".

Sound supervision by Myles Nealon.

Presented and Produced by Gerry McArdle

First broadcast 01 June 1998

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