Making Theatre in Northern Ireland examines the relationships between theatre and the turbulent political and social context of Northern Ireland since 1969. It explores in detail key theatrical performances which deal directly with this context. The works examined are used as exemplars of wider approaches to theatre-making about Northern Ireland.
The book is aimed at a student readership: it is largely play-text-based, and it contains useful contextualising material such as a chronological list of Northern Ireland's plays in the modern period, a full bibliography, and a brief chronology.
Students find it hard to obtain any detailed and informed perspective on this key element of the theatre of Ireland and Britain: Northern Ireland's theatrical traditions are normally discussed only as an adjunct to discussions of Irish theatre more generally, or as so exceptional as to be beyond comparison with others. This book sets out to fill this gap.
Tom Maguire is Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Ulster
Contents: Introduction; Arguing for a distinctive treatment of Northern Irish theatre, this chapter locates the study's focus on the discussion of performances as events at the nexus of political, social and cultural contexts over thirty years in Northern Ireland; A Direct Engagement; Beyond the cliched 'Troubles play', two distinct formal traditions of representing the conflict are examined through a detailed exploration of Martin Lynch's The Interrogation of Ambrose Fogarty and Vincent Woods's At the Black Pig's Dyke; Authentic History; Here authenticity is examined in the relationship between personal and collective memory and public history with a focus on Brian Friel's The Freedom of the City and JustUs/DubbbelJoint's Binlids; Failed Origins; The focus of this chapter is the staging of missed opportunities of the past in Martin Lynch's Dockers and Stewart Parker's Northern Star at points where the possibilities for a political resolution to the contemporary conflict were again opened up; Myths and Myth making; This chapter explores how theatre makers have invoked three sources of residual mythology to address Northern Ireland's contemporary reality: Christian in Stewart Parker's Pentecost; Greek in Tom Paulin's The Riot Act; and Irish in Big Telly's Diarmuid and Grainne; Women's Troubles; This chapter addresses the intersections between representations of gender and the Troubles focusing on resistant representations in Charabanc's Somewhere Over the Balcony and Derry Frontline's Inside Out; Let the People Speak; In this chapter, the ways in which the theatre has been used to articulate the concerns of specific communities, traditionally disenfranchised from theatrical representation are examined in Charabanc's Now You're Talkin' and Martin Lynch's The Stone Chair; Staging the Peace; The response to the peace process has been an emphasis on the partial and personal: through the use of story-telling performance in Marie Jones's A Night in November, the implication of the audience in Tim Loane's Caught Red-Handed; and the creation of constituency theatre in works by Gary Mitchell such as As the Beast Sleeps; Conclusion; This chapter discusses the issues of perspective and balance in the representation of conflict and the phases in the development of stage representations of the Troubles over the period; Playography; Brief Chronology; Bibliography.