Pictured is Dame Ninette de Valois, an Irish-born celebrated choreographer and dancer, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, c. 1928. The image is from the Arthur Shields Archive at the James Hardiman Library.
Jul 08 2015 Posted: 09:37 IST

An international conference will take place at NUI Galway to discuss theatre and performance archives. 'Performing the Archive' is a collaboration between the University’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and its James Hardiman Library, and will run from 22-24 July.

The event capitalises on the renowned theatre collections of the James Hardiman Library and the academic expertise of NUI Galway's Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.

The three-day conference is bringing together both national and international scholars, practitioners and artists including: Professor Tracy C. Davis, Northwestern University, Chicago; Professor Catherine Cole, University of California, Berkeley; Dr Doug Reside, New York Public Library; Professor Patrick Lonergan and Professor Lionel Pilkington, NUI Galway; Dr Emilie Pine, University College Dublin; and Dr Hugh Denard of Trinity College Dublin. Artist speakers will also feature including Louise Lowe, Anu Productions, and playwright and journalist Colin Murphy.

Conference delegates will address issues such as developing new performance work and research projects based on archival materials including scripts, costume designs, prompt books, as well as digitised audio and video of performances.

John Cox, NUI Galway Librarian, said: “Archives are vital to the academic mission. The James Hardiman Library has a particular strength in theatre archives, while a major project at the University, the largest of its kind internationally, to digitise the archive of the Abbey Theatre is nearing conclusion. Digital archives and in collaboration with academic colleagues on campus are opening up new opportunities for teaching and research, while also presenting a range of challenges, so this conference is very timely in promoting engagement with and among experts in the field.”

Within the conference will be a staged reading of a historic text from the archives of the Hardiman Library. Pilgrims is a play staged at the Abbey Theatre in 1938, written by Mary Rynne and has never received a revival in over 70 years and is an example of a forgotten female Irish and Abbey playwright. Curated by Ciara O’Dowd, this reading is directed by the Druid Director in Residence at NUI Galway, Thomas Conway.

The conference is supported by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme, the American Society for Theatre Research and NUI Galway.

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