The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance

Editors: Jordan, Eamonn, Weitz, Eric (Eds.)

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  • Examines key moments, movements, works, artists, companies and spaces in contemporary Irish theatre and performance from a range of thematic angles
  • Provides new insights into the ways Irish theatre practice has evolved over the past sixty years
  • Brings together a wide spectrum of voices and perspectives to encourage fruitful new understandings of the legacy of recent Irish theatre and performance
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About this book

This Handbook offers a multiform sweep of theoretical, historical, practical and personal glimpses into a landscape roughly characterised as contemporary Irish theatre and performance. Bringing together a spectrum of voices and sensibilities in each of its four sections — Histories, Close-ups, Interfaces, and Reflections — it casts its gaze back across the past sixty years or so to recall, analyse, and assess the recent legacy of theatre and performance on this island. While offering information, overviews and reflections of current thought across its chapters, this book will serve most handily as food for thought and a springboard for curiosity. Offering something different in its mix of themes and perspectives, so that previously unexamined surfaces might come to light individually and in conjunction with other essays, it is a wide-ranging and indispensable resource in Irish theatre studies.

About the authors

Eamonn Jordan is Associate Professor in Drama Studies at the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, Ireland. His published works include Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre (2000) and Dissident Dramaturgies: Contemporary Irish Theatre (2010), and he has co-edited The Theatre of Martin McDonagh: A World of Savage Stories (2006) and The Theatre of Conor McPherson: 'Right beside the Beyond' (2012) with Lilian Chambers.

Eric Weitz is Associate Professor in Drama and Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. His publications include The Cambridge Introduction to Comedy (2009) and Theatre & Laughter (2016), as well as edited collections and single-author essays and articles. He sits on the boards of two socially-engaged theatre companies – Smashing Times (Dublin) and Collective Encounters (Liverpool) – and he is President of the Irish Society for Theatre and Performance Research.


“Theatre and performance in Ireland occupies a special position in the modern world, but its variety and scope make it a very challenging subject to discuss.  This extensive collection rises admirably to that challenge, covering an impressive range of material, artistic, sociopolitical, and economic, drawing from both academic and professional analysts, and extending its overview into amateur theatre, audiences, and unscripted and other experimental work.  It will become an essential reference work for anyone interested in the modern Irish theatre, or indeed in modern theatre in general.” (Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies, CUNY, USA)

“This groundbreaking volume of extraordinarily diverse essays may well heal the schism between playwriting and performance in current Irish theatre. The reach of the volume goes well beyond the traditional emphasis on the playwright to consider the central contributions of performers, directors, dramaturgs, musicians, choreographers, designers, and sound and visual artists to the making of the theatrical act. Essays defending the playwright and these other theatre makers are often provocatively juxtaposed by the editors in the interest of opening up debate and extending interpretation. The dazzling outcome is a decisive intervention in the current state of Irish theatrical practice.” (Anthony Roche, Professor Emeritus in the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, Ireland)

“A vast array of voices and approaches to the contemporary moment of Irish theatre, historically contextualised, and socio-politically framed, is contained in this book. Its 'broad spectrum' approach to theatre and performance blends the writing of scholars and practitioners, blurring disciplinary boundaries and providing 'snapchats' of insight, reflection, and critical thinking.” (Brian Singleton, Samuel Beckett Chair of Drama & Theatre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

“The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance is a beautifully curated collection offering unique and varied perspectives on theatre and performance in Ireland over the last sixty years. In its carefully selected montage of contributions from leading scholars and practitioners, the handbook moves beyond the shape and structure of conventional scholarly collections and offers ‘a wide range of generational voices’, whilst also making room for ‘closeups from the spectator’s or social observer’s view’. Readers can explore ‘previously unexamined surfaces’ through essays that reflect on theatre process and performance, or new scholarly perspectives that theorize, historicize, summarize, and scrutinize. This is an exceptionally important and interesting collection; a rich resource for contemporary and future scholars, practitioners, and general readers in the field.” (Marie Kelly, Vice-President, Irish Society for Theatre Research, Lecturer in the Department of Theatre, University College Cork, Ireland)

Table of contents (60 chapters)

Table of contents (60 chapters)
  • Introductions/Orientations

    Pages 1-28

    Jordan, Eamonn (et al.)

  • The Mainstream: Problematising and Theorising

    Pages 31-44

    Richards, Shaun

  • The Theatre Royal: Dublin

    Pages 45-49

    Doyle, Conor

  • The Politics of Performance: Theatre in and about Northern Ireland

    Pages 51-67

    Fitzpatrick, Lisa

  • The Literary Tradition in the History of Modern Irish Drama

    Pages 69-83

    Murray, Christopher

Buy this book

eBook n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-137-58588-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-137-58587-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance
  • Eamonn Jordan
  • Eric Weitz
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
Number of Illustrations
21 b/w illustrations