Annie Horniman



  • (1860 - 1937) British theater patron and manager, who introducedmodern repertory theater (see repertory movement) to Britain at the beginning of the 20th century. Impressed by the subsidized repertory scheme in Germany, she returned to fund the 1894 season at the Avenue Theatre, London, which included Shaw's Arms and the Man.

    Horniman's most famous venture was financing the purchaseof the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1904 and turning its managementover to W. B. Yeats, whom she respected, and Augusta Gregory,with whom she had a strained relationship. Horniman was often at oddswith the company and withdrew her patronage when they didnot close on the day of King Edward VII's funeral in 1910.

    In 1907 Horniman bought and renovated the Gaiety Theatre,Manchester, which became an inspiration for repertory theaters inBirmingham, Liverpool, and elsewhere. During her ten years as managershe produced 200 plays, many of them new works by local authors (seeManchester school). Sybil Thorndike was a member of the companyand married its director, Lewis Casson. The Gaiety was not financially successful,however, and disbanded in 1917.