NUI Galway Academic Wins Theatre Book Prize

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

NUI Galway lecturer, Dr Patrick Lonergan has won the STR Theatre Book Prize for Theatre and Globalisation – Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era published by Palgrave Macmillan. The winner was announced yesterday by the actor, dramatist and director Steven Berkoff in Drury Lane Theatre, London. Speaking at the announcement, Kate Newey, a member of the judging panel, said: "We were all quite surprised at our nomination of Patrick Lonergan s Theatre and Globalisation for the short list. Each of us recounted how we picked it up, expecting difficult concepts, expressed in the highly technical language of economics and political theory, and with not much to speak to us as working theatre practitioners or scholars, only to find that each of us was gripped by the book. For me, it spoke to so much of what is current in theatre as an industry; and indeed, reinforces what I say as a theatre historian - that the theatre always has been a globalised international industry. Lonergan discusses the ways in which Irish theatre is a text-book example of an apparently unique national culture, marketed internationally. He introduces sophisticated ideas, with clarity and humour, and identifies the ways in which all of us think about the global and the local at the same time". Dr Lonergan's book will be launched formally on Friday, 17 April when NUI Galway will host the sixth annual conference of the Irish Theatrical Diaspora Project. Entitled 'Irish Drama: Local and Global Contexts', the conference will consider many important questions, from how Irish writers have responded to the challenges of globalisation, to what kinds of images of Ireland are being promoted abroad by our theatre companies - and how those images shape international attitudes to real Irish people. Speakers from Ireland, the UK, the US, France, and Austria will present papers on Irish theatre companies such as Druid, Charabanc, and Blue Raincoat – and on writers like Brian Friel and Samuel Beckett. Speakers will also explore Irish theatre in Britain, the status of theatre from Northern Ireland internationally, the production of plays by Martin McDonagh in Germany, community theatre in Belfast, the recent Roddy Doyle/Bisi Adigun adaptation of The Playboy of the Western World, and many other topics. Playwrights Ursula Rani Sarma and Elizabeth Kuti will also be present, to discuss their experiences of producing work in Ireland and abroad. Organiser and author of the winning STR Theatre Book Prize, Dr Patrick Lonergan, said: "I am truly honoured to be named the STR Theatre Book Prize winner and I look forward to its launch at the Irish Theatre conference in NUI Galway next week. I hope that this conference will be wide-ranging, provocative, and stimulating - and that it will help us to shed new light on the relationship of Irish theatre to the world stage". The conference is being held as part of a joint Trinity College Dublin/NUI Galway research project on Irish Theatre since 1975. The project is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS), and runs until 2010. It is operated under the joint direction of Professor Nicholas Grene of TCD and Dr Patrick Lonergan NUI Galway. The event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required online at www.irishtheatricaldiaspora.org/ For further information, please contact Patrick Lonergan, 091 495609 Patrick.lonergan@nuigalway.ie
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