Professor Patrick Longergan
Apr 24 2015 Posted: 12:16 IST

Major Conference will explore the legacy of the Gate Theatre in Ireland and beyond 

Friday, 24 April, 2015: NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, together with the Irish Theatrical Diaspora Project (ITD) and the Gate Theatre, Dublin, will be presenting the first academic conference dedicated solely to the Gate Theatre. The conference features public talks, academic panels, and rehearsed readings of plays by Samuel Beckett and Bernard Shaw.

Those taking part in the panels and talks include world experts on Irish theatre, the Gate and its history (such as Christopher Fitz-Simon, Nicholas Grene, Emilie Pine, Richard Pine, Paige Reynolds, Anthony Roche, and Elaine Sisson), as well as theatre practitioners associated with the Gate including Gate artistic director Michael Colgan and designer Joe Vanek.

The two rehearsed readings, which are being presented with support from the Irish Research Council, feature well-known actors associated with the Gate. The reading of Beckett’s The Old Tune (a free translation of Robert Pinget’s French play La Manivelle) stars Barry McGovern, the great Beckett actor, and Bryan Murray, familiar from his star turns in Fair City, Strumpet City, Brookside, and The Irish R.M.; McGovern and Murray play two old Dublin codgers, exiled in England.

The reading of Shaw’s World War I play O’Flaherty, V.C. stars Michael James Ford, known for his work on the Gate and Abbey stages and from productions that have toured across Ireland and the world. Ford is joined by three actors who have appeared in critically-lauded Dublin productions in recent years: Elliot Moriarty, Karina Power, and Hanna Tatschl.

Speaking about the conference, NUI Galway Professor of Drama Patrick Lonergan stated that the event will provide a long overdue assessment of the Gate. “The Gate Theatre is one of Ireland’s great theatres. It has given the world many great actors, launching the careers of Orson Welles, James Mason and Michael Gambon, among many others. It has transformed our understanding of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, two of the great dramatists of the twentieth century. And it has premiered major Irish plays, notably Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! Our conference will give new attention to the actors, writers, designers and managers who have made the Gate what it is – from the era of Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir to Michael Colgan today.”

This joint event with the Gate marks one of many links between NUI Galway and Irish theatre companies. In 2012, it launched a project to digitize the entire archive of the Abbey Theatre (a task that will be completed in 2016), and last year established the Druid Academy with Druid Theatre. It also has links with Galway International Arts Festival and many other companies. Its BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance is one of the university’s most popular programmes, and it recently launched new full-time and part-time MA programmes in Irish theatre, theatre practice, and playwriting.

In advance of the conference, Michael Colgan, Artistic Director at The Gate said: “The Gate Theatre has always enjoyed a strong relationship with NUI Galway and welcomes the opportunity to further collaborate with the University on this year’s 12th Annual Irish Diaspora Conference.  We are honoured that the theme of the conference will be the history of the Gate Theatre and continue to be grateful to NUI Galway for their interest in the Gate and their continuous dedication to Irish theatre.”

The conference takes place on 30 April and 1 May at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Attendance is free, but registration in advance is required.

For more details regarding this free conference – including how to register – please visit: www.gatetheatre.ie/section/IRISHTHEATRICALDIASPORACONFERENCEGATETHEATRE.

ENDS

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