In the early days of Irish Theater’s history, theatrical productions in Ireland tended to serve the political purposes of the administration, but as more theaters opened and the popular audience grew, a more diverse range of entertainments were staged. Many Dublin-based theaters developed links with their London equivalents and performers and productions from the British capital frequently found their way to the Irish stage. However, almost all Irish playwrights from William Congreve to George Bernard Shaw found it necessary to leave their native island to establish themselves.
At the beginning of the 20th century, theaters and theater companies dedicated to the staging of Irish plays and the development of indigenous writers, directors and performers began to emerge. This allowed many of the most significant Irish dramatists to learn their trade and establish their reputations in Ireland rather than in Great Britain or the United States.