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Irish Society for Theatre Research Conference (ISTR) 2019

About/Call for Papers

Conference Theme: Conversations Through Time: Intersectional, Intergenerational, Interdisciplinary

We are very pleased to announce that the Department of Drama & Theatre Studies at Mary Immaculate College (University of Limerick) will host the ISTR conference on May 10th & 11th 2019.

Conference Keynote Speakers:

            Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, University of Ulster

            Dr. Emilie Pine, University College Dublin

Theatre and performance practices have often been called upon as ways to understand contemporary discourses. Now more than ever academics and theatremakers need to use art and the analyses of various mediums to explore and explain the world in which we live. This conference seeks to provide a platform for discursive practise to allow for conversations on how we engage with, and interpret given narratives, through the broad spectrum of theatre practice and performance types. Through promoting such conversation this conference seeks to generate new links between theatre and performative practice in light of the current international discourse.

In 2019 the ‘Global North’ is in crisis. Between the rise to power of the forty-fifth President of the United States of America Donald Trump, the fallout of Britain’s decision to exit the European Union, the increasing migrant crisis, the presence of extremist terrorist violence, and the growing threat of the ‘alt right’, pressure is mounting on academics and activists to promote full equality amidst narratives of racism, sexism, homophobia and rape culture. We must find new ways to combat old issues. What can we learn from examining the past and what can we discover through contemporary discourse?

The 2019 ISTR conference invites proposals for papers and practice-based presentations focusing on issues of intersectionality, activism and identity, as they relate to contemporary theatre practise and performance studies in Ireland and elsewhere.

Open the full Call for Papers and Conference details in PDF format


  • Proposals could respond to any of the following themes:
  • Performance of Marginalised Identities
  • Performing Identit(ies)
  • Applied Theatre Practices
  • Nationalism
  • Deconstructing the Canon
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Performance
  • Forgotten/Hidden Histories
  • Political Theatre
  • Sexism and Misogyny
  • Re-imagined Ireland
  • Reclaiming Spaces
  • Performances of Rape Culture

Submission of Abstracts:

Submissions are now being sought for:

  • Paper presentations (20 minutes duration)
  • Research performances (50 minutes duration) – Performances may be by individuals or groups, and should report on research practice, e.g. in the form of devised work, ethno-drama, performance ethnography, etc.
  • Symposia/Roundtables (1 hr duration) – Proposals should address how the symposium/roundtable session will focus on relevant aspects of the conference theme.
  • Poster presentations – A poster is a visual description of a project, prepared for viewing by those attending a conference. Posters can depict research or evaluation findings, outline a research process, or describe a project. Posters will be displayed across the two days of the conference.

All submissions should seek to address the conference theme.
Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words.
A biography of 150 words maximum for each presenter should be included
Closing date for receipt of proposals/abstracts is 22/2/2019
All presenters will be notified in March 2019
Proposals should be submitted in MS Word Format by email directly to


Conference Fees:

Full Fee (including ISTR Membership): €100

Student/Unwaged Fee (including ISTR Membership): €40



A limited number of small bursaries will be available to support postgraduate students who wish to present as part of this event. If you wish to be considered for a postgraduate bursary, then please indicate this in your proposal. Bursaries will be awarded competitively, based on the quality of postgraduate proposals received. These bursaries are courtesy of last year’s host institution, University of Lincoln, and ISTR.

Conference Coordinator
Dr Carole Quigley

Venue, Accommodation & Travel

Mary Immaculate College is located between the South Circular Road and the Dock Road in the leafy southern suburbs of Limerick City, within fifteen minutes walk of the city centre and close to the many social and cultural amenities of this historic city.

The College was founded in 1898 for the professional education of primary school teachers. In 1974, Mary Immaculate College became a recognised college of the National University of Ireland offering a three-year Bachelor of Education degree.  The Arts departments continued to provide a range of academic subjects for the B.Ed. degree.  In November 1991 the Minister for Education announced a new linkage between Mary Immaculate College and the University of Limerick. The BA in Liberal Arts was introduced to Mary Immaculate College in 1992 following the establishment of this link with the University of Limerick. 

The Faculty of Arts was established in 2007 and there are currently 13 Departments within the faculty – Drama & Theatre Studies, English Language & Literature, French Studies, Gaeilge, Geography, German Studies, History, Mathematics and Computer Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Music, Philosophy, Psychology and Theology and Religious Studies.

The Department of Drama & Theatre Studies at Mary Immaculate College was established in June 2015 with Dr Michael Finneran as the founding Head of Department. At undergraduate level, we offer our unique flagship single honours programme - the BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies; this is dedicated to the study of all aspects of drama and theatre studies, with particular emphasis on the contemporary ways of making and receiving theatre and how drama can be used in a range of settings beyond the stage. Students can also take Drama & Theatre Studies as a subject on the joint BA programme.

We are currently developing a taught postgraduate programme at MA level and we are home to an ever-expanding range of research at PhD level. 

Our full-time faculty conduct and supervise research in a number of aspects of drama and theatre studies, particularly in contemporary theatre and performance practices, applied drama and theatre, theatre for young audiences, gender and performance and practice as research.

Mary Immaculate College has rapidly become one of the most desirable places in Ireland to study drama at third level. Our campus is rich in artistic provision, and our relationship with visiting artists and our two linked professional venues (Lime Tree Theatre and Belltable) is central to our teaching and research. Our drama programmes are designed to accommodate all students passionate about drama, including those who wish to pursue a career in performance.

As with any major city, there is a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets available in Limerick City. The conference site at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) is on the South Circular Road and immediately adjacent (15 minutes walk) to the city centre.

We are happy to recommend the following hotels. If you ring or email them, please mention that you are attending a conference at MIC. All offer corporate rates to College guests:


The Clayton Hotel, Limerick City

Address: Clayton Hotel Limerick, Steamboat Quay, Limerick, V94 H6HN


Phone: +353 61 444100



Limerick City Hotel

Address: Limerick City Hotel, Lower Mallow Street, Limerick City, V94 NH93

Email:  /

Phone: +353 61 207000



The George, Limerick

Address: The George Limerick, Shannon Street, Limerick City, V94 FC65


Phone: +353 61 460400



The Strand Hotel (25 minute walk to campus)

Address: Limerick Strand Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick City, V94 03F2


Phone: +353 61 421 800



The Absolute Hotel (30 minute walk)

Address: Absolute Hotel Limerick, Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick, V94 WP52


Phone: +353 61 463 600


Travelling by Train/Bus

Mary Immaculate College is just a fifteen minute walk from Limerick’s Train and Bus Station, Colbert Station. From there, regular Irish Rail and Bus Éireann services conveniently connect Limerick to towns and cities throughout Ireland, including Dublin, Cork, Tralee, Killarney, Ennis, Tipperary, Waterford, Galway, Westport and (via Dublin) Belfast and Sligo.

Travelling by Air

Shannon International Airport is just a twenty-minute drive away and provides direct scheduled flights to Dublin, Belfast, the UK, Paris, New York, Washington and Boston.

Buses and taxis link the airport to Limerick City centre. Taxis from the airport cost on average €45 and car hire services are also available at the airport.

Travelling by Car

The College is easily accessible from all major routes, being just minutes away from the Dock Road entrance to the Southern Link Road and Limerick Tunnel, which connect all national roads coming into Limerick (N18 Ennis Rd, N69 Foynes, N20/N21 Cork/Kerry, N24 Tipperary and N7 Dublin).


MIC welcomes visitors with disabilities and we do all that we can to ensure that every visitor is able to fully enjoy what our campus has to offer.

If you require special assistance please contact our Access & Disability Officer, Maura Moore prior to you visit at +353 61 204927 or by email:

We can then give specific advice to assist in making your visit to the College as complete as possible.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Lisa Fitzpatrick

Defining Freedom: Intergeneration and Intersectional Debate in Contemporary Feminism

This paper looks at how tensions within feminism as an intersectional, cross-generational movement were foregrounded by the #Me Too and #Time’s Up movements, with a particular emphasis on contrasting conceptions of freedom. Drawing on Bergson’s writings on free will, and Elizabeth Grosz’s new materialist engagement with his work, the essay considers the competing and overlapping conceptions of ‘freedom from’, and ‘freedom to’. Seeking to situate feminist arguments and activism temporally, the essay proposes that different forms of freedom are more urgent at different stages in the movement, and that this is partly what underlies the ambivalent response of some older feminists to #Time’s Up. It also reflects upon the possibly complicity of second wave feminism with forms of sexual exploitation.

These contemporary protest movements have reinvigorated feminism, while reasserting the old feminist adage that ‘the personal is the political’ in a way that is oppositional to contemporary neoliberal constructions of freedom and empowerment.

The paper seeks to open up some of these questions to consider freedom as a powerful and conflicted feminist value with the potential to ameliorate differences of class, race, and ethnicity.  


Dr Lisa Fitzpatrick is Senior Lecturer in Drama at University of Ulster in Derry. Her areas of research include post-conflict performance, gender and violence, and contemporary performance in Ireland. Following the publication of her monograph Rape on the Contemporary Stage (Palgrave, 2018), she is working on the issue of violence and the erotic. She was a convenor of the conference ‘Protest and Performance’ in Derry in January 2019, and is currently working on a funded project with Kabosh Theatre Company, on a project about women and conflict.


Dr Emilie Pine

'Who gets to speak? Voice, storytelling and silence'

What are the ethics and aesthetics of representing child abuse, sexual violence and state violence? What role does storytelling play in allowing these experiences of violence to be heard? How do we think about silence in the wake of its 'breaking'? These questions will inform this discussion of Irish and international theatre works that attempt to give voice to the silent. 


Emilie Pine is Associate Professor of Modern Drama at University College Dublin. Emilie is Editor of the Irish University Review and Director of the Irish Memory Studies Network. She is PI of the Irish Research Council New Horizons project Industrial Memories a digital humanities re-reading of the Ryan Report on institutional child abuseEmilie has published widely in the fields of Irish studies, Performance studies, and Memory studies, including The Politics of Irish Memory: Performing Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Culture (Palgrave, 2011) and The Memory Marketplace: Performance, Testimony and Witnessing in Contemporary Theatre (forthcoming Indiana University Press, 2019). Her first collection of personal essays, Notes to Self, is published by Tramp Press (2018) in Ireland & Hamish Hamilton in the UK, was shortlisted for the Royal Irish Academy Michel Deon award, and has won the IACI Butler Literary Award, and the An Post Irish Book Awards for Best Newcomer, and Book of the Year 2018.

Conference Schedule & Programme

This is the final programme as of May 1st.

ISTR 2019 Schedule
Date Time Event Venue
Friday 10th May 9.30-11am Registration Open Foundation Building, Mary Immaculate College
  10.45-11am Opening Remarks and Conference Welcome Drama Studio
  11am-12.15pm Simultaneous Paper Panels & Workshops (G08, G10, Drama Studio) Panel One (Drama Studio) Political Nationalism and Re-Imagined Ireland

Chair: Rhona Trench

  • Ian R. Walsh, NUIG

‘Irish Language Pantomimes at the Abbey: How Popular entertainments led to a renaissance in Irish Theatre’

  • Geoffrey Gould

‘Identifying a New Generation of Playwrights’

  • Siobhán O’Gorman, University of Lincoln

‘‘Fake News,’ Nationalism, and Theatre NO99’s Unified Estonia (2010)’


Panel Two (G08) Deconstructing the Canon

Chair: Marie Kelly

  • Úna Kealy and Kate McCarthy, WIT

‘In Dialogue with Deevy: ‘Letters’ from the Margins’

  • Fiona McDonagh, MIC

‘Staging Edgeworth’s The Knapsack for a contemporary young audience’


Panel Three (G10) Performing Identities

Chair: Miriam Haughton

  • Katherine Nolan, TUD

‘Fictioning the Past: Performing the Self as the Mistress of the Mantle in Post-Catholic Ireland’

  • Umar Nizarudeen, JNU, New Delhi

‘Performative Continuum of Indigenous Life in Kerala, India’

  • Deirdre Flynn, UCD

‘Making the Personal Political: Autoethnography and Ann Blake’s Overnight Minority Report’

  12.15-1pm Lunch  
  1-2.15pm Simultaneous Paper Panels & Workshops (202, Drama Studio, G10) Panel Four (2.02) Feminisms in Action

Chair: Dorothy Morrissey

  • Miriam Haughton, NUIG

‘Galway 2020: A Feminist-Activist Bid’

  • Salomé Paul, UCD

‘The Myth of Phaedra in Marina Carr’s Phaedra Backwards

  • Martha Fitzgerald, UCD & GSA

‘“Mother” Earth and Her Children: An ecofeminist interpretation of postmodern contemporary theatre with reference to The Children and By the Bog of Cats


Panel Five (Drama Studio) Practice as Research I

Chair: Aoife McGrath

  • Emma Fisher, MIC

‘Examining puppetry as a tool to disrupt cultural perceptions of the disabled body, within my practice based research play Pupa’

  • Simon Thompson, UL

‘The neutral mask and the development of its application in a new creative pedagogy’

  • Aideen Wylde, MIC

‘Telling Other Stories – The ethno-briocleur and the Jewish community in Ireland’


Panel Six (G10) Forgotten Histories

Chair: Ian Walsh

  • David Clare, MIC

‘Lizzie Nunnery’s Intemperance (2007) and Compromised Mental Health among the Irish in Britain’

  • Allison Manuel

‘In Exchange: Conversations and Confrontations with Empire across Space and Time’

  2.15-2.30pm Break  
  2.30-3.15pm Round-table Discussion Drama Studio - Working Group Convenors
  3.15-3.45pm Tea/Coffee  
  3.45-5pm Simultaneous Paper Panels & Workshops (202, Drama Studio, G10) Panel Seven (2.02) Performing Toxicities 

Chair: Deirdre Flynn

  • Fiona Fearon, IT, Dundalk

‘Negotiating Representations of Toxic Masculinity on the Abbey Stage in 2018’

  • Neha Kamrani, UCD

‘Land pollution and Rape in Marina Carr’s On Raftery’s Hill and Manjula Padmanabhan’s Lights Out: A Trans-national study of representation of sexual violence on the Indian and Irish stage’

  • Claire Keogh, TCD

‘Monologue vs. Femologue: Unconscious Bias and Contemporary Irish Monologue Plays’


Panel Eight (Drama Studio) Practice as Research II

Chair: Chris Collins

  • Joe Duffy, Garret Scally, and Victoria Allen

‘Cilliní: performing and documenting what could never be said’

  • Cohen Ambrose

‘‘Shocked to Aliveness’: The Aesthetic Arousal of the Feeling-Knowing Body in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge


Panel Nine (G10) Political & Applied Theatre

Chair: Fiona McDonagh

  • Charlotte McIvor, NUIG

‘Baxter Theatre Centre’s The Fall: Intersectionality, Activism, Effort as Stage(d) Labour’

  • Helena Young, UCD

‘The Use of Postdramatic Theatre as a Tool in Social and Political Activism’

  • Heidi Schoenenberger, NUIG

‘Connecting Arts Organisations and Schools'

  5.15-6.15pm Keynote Address 1 Drama Studio

Lisa Fitzpatrick, University of Ulster

‘Defining Freedom: Intergeneration and Intersectional Debate in Contemporary Feminism’

Chair: Michael Finneran

  6.15-7pm Wine Reception & Book Launch Drama Studio
  8pm Conference Dinner  
Saturday 11th May 8.30am onwards Registration open  
  9-10.15am Simultaneous Paper Panels & Workshops Workshop (Drama Studio)

  • Dorothy Morrissey, MIC

An inquiry-based approach to understanding research-based theatre (Part One)


Panel Ten (G08) Reclaiming Spaces I

Chair: Angie Butler

  • Aoife McGrath, QUB

‘Dancing the Let Down: reclaiming space for communicating maternal experience’

  • Clara Mallon, UCD

‘(Post)Dramatic Strategies: Performing Difference in Pat Kinevane’s Solo Theatre

  • Ciara Murphy, NUIG

‘‘The Social Turn’: Reclaiming Public Space and Personal Histories Through Performance in Contemporary Ireland’


Panel Eleven (G10) Reclaiming Spaces II

Chair: Eamonn Jordan

  • Kate Harris

‘Provoking Dialogue’

  • Lisa Risch, UCD

‘Stigma and Community: Attitudes to Mental Health Issues in Anne Devlin’s After Easter and Paula Meehan’s Mrs Sweeney

  • Moonyoung Hong, TCD

‘“Dancing on the Hobs of Hell”: A Performative Analysis of Dancehalls and Discos in Tom Murphy’s On the Outside/On the Inside (1974) and Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs (1996)’

  10.15-10.30am Tea/Coffee  
  10.30-11.30am Working Groups
  • Gender & Performance (Staff Lounge)
  • Social & Applied Theatre (Drama Studio)
  • Comedy (G08)
  • Historiography (G10)
  11.45-12.45pm ISTR AGM Drama Studio
  12.45-1.30pm Lunch  
  1.30pm-2pm Book Launches  
  2-3.00pm Keynote 2 Drama Studio

Emilie Pine, University College Dublin

‘Thinking about Breaking and Silence: Staging Testimony’

Chair: Melissa Sihra

  3-3.15pm Tea/Coffee  
  2.45-4pm Simultaneous Paper Panels & Workshops Workshop (Drama Studio)

  • Dorothy Morrissey, MIC

An inquiry-based approach to understanding research-based theatre (Part Two)


Panel Twelve (G08) National Identity

  Chair: David Clare

  • Eamonn Jordan, UCD

 ‘A Very, Very, Very Dark Matter: Imperial Masquerades/ Alternative Histories’

  • Eimer Murphy

‘Wear Something Green: How the Artistic Community Reinvented the St Patrick’s Day Parade’

  • Aisling Smith, NUIG

‘The Egyptian Doctor in G. B. Shaw’s The Millionairess (1936)


Panel Thirteen (G37) Marginalised Identities

Chair: Siobhán O’Gorman

  • Zoë Tweed, University of Reading

‘Shame and its mechanisms in Samuel Beckett's Footfalls and Rockaby: the intersections of shame and performance’

  • Ella Daly

‘Intergenerational Family Trauma cause by Ambiguous Loss in the work of Marina Carr, especially By the Bog of Cats

  • Orla Mooney, UCD

‘The Marginalisation of Narratives in The Walworth Farce and The Pillowman


Panel Fourteen (G10) Re-interpreted Histories

Chair: Eric Weitz

  • Sue Healy, University of Lincoln

‘Revisiting the Royal Court Theatre’s fraught and fruitful years, 1968-1975’

  • Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin, UL

‘Teresa Deevy’s critique of the first Free State government in Temporal Powers (1932), The Reapers (1930) and A Disciple (1931)

  • Sharon Phelan, IT, Tralee

‘Siamsóirí na Ríochta and Siamsa Tíre: An attack on Coco-Colonisation’

  4.30-5.30pm Roundtables Roundatable Two (Drama Studio)

Clara Mallon, Fiona Charleton, Salomé Paul

‘(Un)homely Women: Navigating the constitutional definition of “Woman” and “The Home” in Contemporary Irish Theatre’


Roundtable Three (G10)

IMBAS Discussion

Participants: Dr. Yvon Bonenfant (UCC), Prof. Jools Gilson (UCC), Prof. Mel Mercier (UL), Daniel O’Connell (UCC) 

  5.30pm Conference Close Drama Studio



Irish Society for Theatre Research

The Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) aims to promote and support scholarly and practice-based research on theatre and performance taking place in Ireland as well as international research on topics related to Irish theatre and performance. Our remit is to facilitate transnational exchanges of research by including perspectives on theatre and performance from diverse regions internationally. The field of theatre and performance is being transformed by new approaches to historiography and by the remarkable diversity of contemporary practice. Thus, although we are located in Ireland and many of our members research theatre made here, we embrace multiplicity and facilitate research that engages with the full range of theatre and performance practices within and between different local, national and international contexts.

ISTR prides itself on creating warm, welcoming and intellectually-stimulating fora for researchers and practitioners to discuss key issues in theatre and performance (from within and beyond Ireland) relating to historical and contemporary times. For more than a decade, this organisation has valued culturally diverse perspectives, promoted critical generosity, and resisted perceptions of intellectual superiority in discussions and feedback. While maintaining high standards in the quality of material included across our different fora, we seek to support contributors at all professional levels and are open always to including new additions within our community.

Across the wide spectrum of our activities, we advocate for equality, social justice and active citizenship.

Visit: for further information on the work of the society

  • About/Call for Papers
  • Venue, Accommodation & Travel
  • Keynote Speakers
  • Conference Schedule & Programme
  • ISTR