Contemporary Irish Theatre and Social Change : Activist Aesthetics book cover
1st Edition

Contemporary Irish Theatre and Social Change
Activist Aesthetics

  • Available for pre-order on March 17, 2023. Item will ship after April 7, 2023
ISBN 9781032071589
April 7, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book uses the social transformation that has taken place in Ireland since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993 to the repeal of the 8th amendment in 2018 as background to examine relationships between activism and contemporary Irish theatre and performance.

It studies art explicitly intended to create social and political change for marginalised constituencies. It asks what happens to theatre aesthetics when artists’ aims are political and argues that activist commitments can create new modes of beauty, meaning, and affect. Categories of race, class, sexuality, and gender frame chapters, provide social context, and identify activist artists’ social targets. This book provides in depth analysis of: Arambe – Ireland’s first African theatre company; THEATREclub – an experimental collective with issues of class at its heart; The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival; and feminist artists working to Repeal the 8th amendment. It highlights the aesthetic strategies that emerge when artists set their sights on justice. Aesthetic debates, both historical and contemporary, are laid out from first principles, inviting readers to situate themselves – whether as artists, activists, or scholars – in the delicious tension between art and life.

This book will be a vital guide to students and scholars interested in theatre and performance studies, gender studies, Irish history, and activism.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. A Hammer with Which to Shape It

Chapter 2. THEATREclub

Chapter 3. The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Chapter 4. Art and the 8th



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Emer O’Toole is Associate Professor of Irish Performance Studies at the School of Irish Studies, Concordia University.