1st Edition

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

By Ciara L. Murphy Copyright 2023
    174 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.


    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



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