No crown without the cross: the formation, existence, and disappearance of the Catholic Stage Guild of Ireland
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] In December 1948, an article by Seamus Brady in The Manitoba Ensign claimed, “[The Catholic Stage Guild of Ireland] has branches in every city in Ireland, as well as in Britain, America and Australia.” Its presence, according to Brady's article, was overwhelming. And yet by the 1970s, the Guild mysteriously seemed to disappear altogether from Irish society. This popularity and disappearance formulated my dissertation's primary research question: how did the life of the Catholic Stage Guild of Ireland (its birth, success, and disappearance) reflect twentieth century Irish Catholicism and its relationship with the nation? This question encouraged numerous subsidiary questions including: how was the Guild as popular as Brady claims? And if it indeed was as Brady claims, then why did it extinguish? This dissertation seeks to uncover whether the Catholic Stage Guild of Ireland's seemingly short, but powerful years emulating the status and movements of Irish Catholicism in the twentieth century The Catholic Stage Guild of Ireland dramatically depicted the heartaches and successes of the Irish Catholics. Created by firm Catholics during a time in which the religion was celebrated, then altered, then slandered, the Catholic Stage Guild offers insight into individual attitudes concerning the state of the country and its primary religion. A study of the Catholic Stage Guild (which until now has not been conducted) will not only examine the history and purpose of this group of Catholic artists, but also falls in the foreground against the backdrop of twentieth century Ireland and provides insight into the movements of Irish Catholicism and nationalism during this time. Ultimately, this dissertation provides a historical context for Catholics to understand the relationship between Irish Catholicism, Irish nationalism and Irish theatre in the twentieth century, as well as provides non-Catholics with a sense of the importance of a Catholic Stage Guild in a time consumed by religious conflict.