Section 3: The Greatest Living Irishwoman
At first merely an auxiliary in the theater movement, Gregory gradually assumed ever-greater prominence. When the Abbey Theatre opened in Dublin in 1904, her name was on the legal patent granting the Theatre a right to exist, and the first bill featured plays by her and Yeats. She, Yeats, and J. M. Synge would become its directorial triumvirate, and she remained at the helm until her death. Her short comedies would be the most frequently produced plays at the Abbey in its first decade, with Seven Short Plays becoming her bestselling book. Her dramatic works of the period also include longer Irish history plays. The demands of the theater were immense, from reading scripts, rehearsing productions, managing correspondence and fund-raising, to adjudicating personal quarrels and tensions, but Gregory was deeply committed to her role. George Bernard Shaw memorably dubbed her ''the charwoman of the Abbey'' for her willingness to take on all necessary tasks, but he later referred to her as ''the greatest living Irishwoman."