Leading scholars of Irish drama will gather in Galway this week for the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) annual conference. Entitled Perform, or Else!, the conference will take place at NUI Galway from 26-28 October.
The conference will feature the latest international thinking on the historical, contemporary and future roles of Irish theatre. It will showcase research across many themes, such as Archives and Performance; Theatre and Memory; Capitalism and Theatre Performance; and Aesthetics, Irish drama and/or Irish Theatre History.
Rebecca Schneider, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies at Brown University, will deliver a keynote address. Author of The Explicit Body in Performance and Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, Professor Schneider will deliver her lecture on how her most recent research applies to the Irish context.
Second keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr Mark Phelan, Lecturer in Drama at Queens University Belfast. Dr Phelan will present his recent work involving Irish theatre history and historiography, which had been published in such international journals as Modern Drama and Theatre Journal.
The event coincides with important developments in NUI Galway’s theatre studies curricula and research resources. NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library boasts an extensive collection of theatre archives, including the Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Macnas and Belfast Lyric Theatre as well as the papers of Abbey actor Arthur Shields and playwright Thomas Kilroy. The recent announcement of the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway Digitisation partnership further strengthens NUI Galway’s status as one of the world’s great Irish theatre theatre archives.
This year NUI Galway also launched its new BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, taking in the first cohort of students in September. This programme provides a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from practical, theoretical and historical perspectives in Galway, a hub for Irish and international arts festivals and events.
Dr Patrick Lonergan, Director of the BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway, said: “A huge amount has been happening at NUI Galway recently. We have established a very strong partnership with Druid Theatre, and that is having a massive impact on how we teach students on our new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance and our MA in Drama and Theatre programmes. The Abbey Digitization project will have a huge effect on archival research in the University too. By hosting a conference that will bring together the world’s leading scholars of Irish drama at this exciting time, we will have a great opportunity to plan for future developments.”
Dr Lonergan is also the Director of NUI Galway’s MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and the BA Connect with Theatre and Performance. He is the author of The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh and the award-winning Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era (2010). Dr Lonergan will also present a paper entitled ‘Banking on Ireland’ at ISTR 2012.
The conference begins at 1pm on Friday, 26 October and takes place in the New Engineering Building located in North Campus. The official conference opening at 5.30pm features a presentation on the Abbey theatre/National University of Ireland partnership project.