SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Prepared by Gregory F. Gatto, June 17, 1998; Updated by Thomas Scheuerman, 1999; Revised 2013
9 record storage boxes, 9 cubic feet, 11th floor
Vincent Dowling played over 100 major roles in his 45-year professional career, most of them in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. He also appeared in New York, London, the Edinborough Festival, Paris, Florence, Chicago, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Boston.
He was born in Ireland and attended St. Mary's College and Brendan Smith Academy of Acting. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen, married Olwen O'Herlihy (daughter of actor Dan O'Herlihy), and became father to four daughters and a son, and grandfather to three girls and three boys.
Dowling was the Founding and Artistic Director of the Miniature Theater of Chester, and was a Lifetime Associate Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre. He led the Abbey Theatre on its first visit to the Soviet Union and as Producing Director of North America, on its first national tour of America in 35 years. For nine years as Artistic and Producing Director of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and Producing Director of the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in California, he directed more than a score of classical and new works.
He also directed the classics throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. His American credits included leading resident theatres, among them Trinity Square, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Meadow Brook and Missouri Repertory Theatre. He held the Cockefaire Chair of Continuing Studies at the University of Missouri, an honor shared by John Houseman, Alan Schneider, and Adrian Hall.
Dowling appeared throughout the country as performer, lecturer, and radio and television broadcaster. As a writer, his works include an acting version of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, an adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, the 1979 GLSF production Do Me A Favourite!, and a Miniature Theatre of Chester production Upstart Crow, a play about Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and Richard Burbage.
As an actor, he performed a one-man show commissioned by the Festival in 1980, My Lady Luck. The performance ultimately toured Florida and New York City. In 1981, Dowling performed excerpts of the show at the White House for President Reagan, and in January, 1982, he was invited to return to perform before the bipartisan leadership of Congress.
He authored and performed one-man shows such as Wilde About Oscar, Another Actor at the White House, A Life in the Day of an Abbey Actor, and 4 P's at various U.S. venues, including the White House on three State occasions. He also won an "Emmy" for his PBS production of The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge.
Dowling received Doctor of Fine Arts Honorary Degrees from John Carroll
University and the College of Wooster in Ohio, Westfield State University of
Massachussetts, and Kent State University.
He died, at the age of 83, on May 10, 2013.
Scope and Content
The Vincent Dowling Papers were first given to the Department of Special Collections and Archives at Kent State University in 1997 by Vincent Dowling, director, producer, actor, and playwright. The collection consists of various materials from the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival dating back to Dowling's first year with the Festival in 1976, and contains his scripts, production notes, and other related materials while he was Producing Director at the Festival.
Also included are video recordings of interviews with Dowling and sound recordings of plays performed at the Festival. In addition, the collection includes recognition awards and proclamations of congratulations presented to Dowling and the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival during its 1976 to 1984 seasons.
The collection is a valuable resource to scholars interested in research on Ohio theatre, as well as Shakespearian theatre.
Researchers are advised that complementary collections to the Vincent Dowling Papers, are the Arthur Lithgow papers and the Great Lakes Theater Festival records. There is also a group of Vincent Dowling papers housed at John Carroll University's Grasselli Library.
Vincent Dowling donated additional materials to the collection in recent years that will be added to this finding aid in the future. Please consult Special Collections and Archives staff for more information.
The collection is divided into six series and arranged in alphabetical order by title. The first series includes the scripts and production notes used by Mr. Dowling as Producing Director with the Festival. The second series includes sound recordings of many of the plays produced at the Festival. The third incorporates the recognition awards and proclamations of congratulations presented to Vincent Dowling and the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. The fourth series contains interviews and related video recordings with Vincent Dowling. The fifth series includes papers from other theater companies with which Mr. Dowling has been associated. The sixth series contains documents from various schools, agencies, and professional organizations as well as miscellaneous correspondence.