Barry HoulihanSep 9, 2022
Theatre and Archival Memory
Irish Drama and Marginalised Histories 1951-1977
Palgrave MacMillan 2021
Drawing on newly released and digitized archival records, Houlihan’s Theatre and Archival Memory: Irish Drama and Marginalised Histories 1951-1977 (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021) examines a pivotal period of social and cultural change in the history of Irish theatre, offering unique insights into the production and reception of Irish drama, its internationalization and political influences. From the 1950s onwards, Irish theatre engaged audiences within new theatrical forms at venues from the Pike Theatre, the Project Arts Centre, and the Gate Theatre, as well as at Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey.
Incorporating the work of overlooked female playwrights like Edna O’Brien, Mary Manning, Carolyn Swift, and Mairead Ni Ghrada, this book argues for an inclusive historiography reflective of the formative impacts of marginalized performance histories upon modern Irish theatre. This study examines these works' experimental dramaturgical impacts in terms of production, reception, and archival legacies. Theatre and Archival Memory is framed by the device of ‘archival memory’ and serves as a means for scholars and theatre-makers to inter-contextualize existing historiography and to challenge canon formation. It also presents a new social history of Irish theatre told from the fringes of history and reanimated through archival memory.
Bridget English is a scholar of Irish literature and culture, modernism, and health humanities, based at the University of Illinois Chicago. She co-convenes the Irish Studies Seminar at the Newberry Library and is the Literature Representative for the American Conference for Irish Studies. On Twitter.