Performing Social Change on the Island of Ireland : From Republic to Pandemic book cover
1st Edition

Performing Social Change on the Island of Ireland
From Republic to Pandemic

  • Available for pre-order on April 21, 2023. Item will ship after May 12, 2023
ISBN 9781032076492
May 12, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines the relationship between moments of significant social change on the island of Ireland and performance practice during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It examines how moments of significant change influence not only the content of performance practice but also the form and function of theatre production and reception.

This book investigates how the Troubles and subsequent Peace Process, Second-Wave Feminism, the Celtic Tiger and neoliberalism, social revolution and the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the form and function of performance practice across the island of Ireland. Although these forms of theatre and performance making refer to varied and distinct lineages of practice internationally, there are key parallels that compel a study of their inter-relationality in a specific Irish context

This book explores how the performance of Ireland illuminates histories and stories that are on the margins, illuminating the lived realities of everyday life through the presentation of moments of violence, oppression, and trauma as something that is as important as the larger narratives often ascribed to nationhood. This book asks how performance practice engages with and informs moments of major social change on the island of Ireland through the distinct yet intersecting lenses of place, performance form, and social context over the course of almost a century of Irish theatre and performance practice.

Table of Contents


Introduction: States of Change

Temporal Switch Points

The Politics of Naming Space

A Spectrum of Participation

Public Space as Performance Space

Structure and Design

Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1. Storytelling and Performance Post-Good Friday Agreement

A Marriage of Equals?

Troubled Spaces

Chapter 2. Tourism as Performance: Moving into a new Millennium

Papering Over the Cracks

The Trouble with Tourism

Performing the Legacy of the Past

Chapter 3. ‘A Bevy of Beauties’: Feminism, Double Jeopardy, and Charabanc Theatre Company

Creating Space for the Personal

A Feminist Approach to Creating Performance

Charabanc Theatre Company

Double Jeopardy: Women’s Experience in the North of Ireland

Lay Up Your Ends (1983) and Gold in the Streets (1986)

Community Spaces

Chapter 4. ‘Soujourned in Her Majesty’s Prison’: The Performative Actvism of Margaretta D’Arcy

The National Question

The Collision of Activism and Performance

Dirty Protest

Writing as Cultural Resistance

A ‘Feminist Tour of Duty’



Chapter 5. Reclaiming Personal Histories Through Performance

A Volatile Nation

Radical Commemoration

Public and Embodied Sites of Practice

Moments of Communion

Chapter 6. A Dying Tiger: Performing Ireland’s Housing Crisis

Neo-liberal Theatre Production

Critique as Commemoration

Hideously Inequitable Nation

Chapter 7. "Virtual Reroutings": Performing Ireland’s Social Revolution



Maser’s Mural

Chapter 8. "Survival is Insufficient": Ireland’s Pandemic Performance

#CovideoParty: Creating a Community Audience Online.

Dear Ireland (2020) – A Postcard from Pandemic Ireland

To be (or not to be) a Machine


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Ciara L. Murphy is Assistant Lecturer of Drama and Theatre at Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland.