Given the huge contributions of Irish playwrights, among them Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, and Sean O'Casey, to contemporary drama, a night at the theater can be a highlight of a visit to Dublin. While the Abbey Theatre is famous for having played a key role in promoting Irish writers at the beginning of the 20th century, the Gate Theatre had a different goal. Using a studio space at the Abbey for its first two years (from 1928 to 1930), the Gate was founded to promote experimental works and bring the works of European and other international writers to Ireland.
The theater is now located in an 18th-century building that was originally part of the Rotunda Hospital. Orson Welles, James Mason, and Ralph Fiennes are a few of the many actors who developed their talents on the stage of the Gate. Under the artistic direction of Michael Coogan since 1983, it continues to produce works that often go on to tour London's West End and New York's Broadway theaters as well as leading festivals around the world.