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Dr Fiona McDonagh

Dr Fiona McDonagh

BA (Drama & Theatre Studies) (St Mary's University, London); H-Dip (Arts Administration) (NUIG); MA (Drama & Theatre Studies) (NUIG); PhD (MIC)

Research interests

Theatre for Young audiences, Applied Theatre, Community Theatre, Devising Theatre, Research Based Theatre, Practice as Research, Phenomenology, Drama Education, Arts Education, Interactive design, Interactive and Museum Installations.

Member of the Talking TYA Research Network steering group: 

More information

Current Artistic Practice 

(2022-2024) Artistic lead of Jub's Story-Finding stories through the Arts, a collaborative storytelling project led by staff from MIC in collaboration with MIC students, MIC’s theatre artist in residence, Liam McCarthy, Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick Education Support Centre and Limerick schools. The project, nominated for an Education Award in 2023, is derived from the successful pop-up TYA event at Lime Tree in October 2022 and 2023. Jub's Story sets out to develop a cross-arts approach to theatrical performance. 

Current Research Activity

2021-2024 (with Morrissey, D.) Feasibility study into the development of an All of Ireland TYA (Theatre for Young Audience) Archive. The study is supported by MIC, University of Ulster, and Talking TYA Research Network. 

2019 -2023 (with Morrissey, D.) Investigation into the impact on undergraduate education and theatre students of co-participating in a module on Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA). 



Co-edited books

(2021)  The Golden Thread: Irish Women Playwrights, Vol. One (1716-1992), Clare, D., McDonagh, F. & Nakase, J. (Ed.s). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

(2021)  The Golden Thread: Irish Women Playwrights, Vol. Two (1993-2016), Clare, D., McDonagh, F. & Nakase, J. (Ed.s). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Journal articles

(2022)  “Print Roundtable” Discussing ‘The Golden Thread: Irish Women Playwrights’, 1716-2016 (2 vols., Liverpool University Press, 2021). New Hibernia Review Journal: A Quarterly Record of Irish Studies. PANELLISTS: Dr. Tanya Dean (TU Dublin), Dr. Barry Houlihan (NUI Galway), Gemma Whelan (Corrib Theatre Company), with introduction by Dr. David Clare (Mary Immaculate College, UL), Dr. Fiona McDonagh (Mary Immaculate College, UL), and Dr. Justine Nakase (Portland State University).

(2017) (with Finneran, M.) 'The teacher as co-creator of drama: a phenomenological study of the experiences and reflections of Irish primary school teachers'. Irish Educational Studies, Vol 36, Issue 2 (peer reviewed).

(2015) Book review: 'Forum Theatre for Children: Enhancing Social, Emotional and Creative Development' by Nick Hammond. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 20, Issue 4 (peer reviewed).

(2006) 'Reflections on the Practice and Approach of Playback theatre'. Youth Drama Ireland Journal (National Association of Youth Drama) (non-peer reviewed).

Book Chapters

(2022) Enlivening teachers' co-creating attitude, Routledge Companion to Drama in Education. Mary McAvoy and Peter O'Connor (Eds), Taylor & Francis.

(2021) 'Staging Edgeworth's The Knapsack for a contemporary young audience. Irish Women Playwrights, Vol. One (1716-1992). Clare, D., McDonagh, F. & Nakase, J. (Ed.s). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

(2021) 'Marie Jones- representations of disability and young audiences. Irish Women Playwrights, Vol. Two (1993-2016). Clare, D., McDonagh, F. & Nakase, J. (Ed.s) Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

(2019) (with Finneran, M and Anderson, M) 'Theatres and a Spectrum of Engagement', Education and Theatres: Beyond the Four Walls, Finneran, M and Anderson, M, (Ed.s). Dordrecht: Springer.


Podcast: Episode of New Books in Irish Studies podcast featured an interview with David Clare, Fiona McDonagh, and Justine Nakase, co-editors of The Golden Thread: Irish Women Playwrights (1716-2016) Nov 2021:

Podcast: Irish Theatre at Play with Dr Fiona McDonagh. Episode 6- April, 2021

Webinar: Theatre for Young Audiences: Education and Practice. Featured speakers: Dr Fiona McDonagh (MIC, UL), Dr Dorothy Morrissey (MIC, UL), Michael Chang (Branar), and Aideen Howard (The Ark) - chaired by Heidi Schoenenberger (NUI Galway). Eighth webinar for the Re-Imagining the Creative Arts Curriculum and the Creative Arts Canon webinar series hosted by the School of English and Creative Arts at NUI Galway and supported by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, April 2021:

Conference papers 

(2023) (with Morrissey, D.) Balancing Acts, ISTR Conference, University of Galway, Teacher-artist partnerships: Navigating between education and theatre. May 5-6 2023.

(2022) 9th Conference of IDEA (International Drama Education Association) Iceland, 4th – 8th of July 2022. 'Sowing the seeds- fostering collaboration between future theatre artists and future teachers'.

(2021) 'Enlivening Qualities of Collaboration and Creativity in our Practice'-Children, Youth, and Performance Conference, Toronto, Online June 25th 2021.

(2020) Organisation and inaugural speech- Talking TYA Conference- 3-day virtual conference on Participation in TYA. The Event was a collaboration between staff from Ulster University, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and NUI Galway. It was held in partnership with Branar Téatar do Pháistí, O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. It was supported by Galway 2020, celebrating its status as European Capital of Culture - 8th-10th October 2020

(2019) (with Morrissey, D.) Using Theatre to Trouble Gender with Young Children. ITYARN Conference, Sept 12th 2019.

(2018) (with Morrissey, D.) 'Using theatre to trouble young children's gender narratives'. 4th International Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference. Institute of Technology, Sligo. 19-20th April 2018.

(2018) 'A teacher's story of dramatic change'. 9th International Drama in Education Research Institute (IDIERI 9)-Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre, University of Auckland, New Zealand. 2-9th July 2018.

(2018) (with Morrissey, D.) 'Making theatre to trouble gender with young children'. IDIERI 9-Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre, University of Auckland, New Zealand. 2-9th July 2018.

(2017) 'Looking at Female Theatre Makers in TYA'. The Irish Women Playwrights and Theatre Makers Conference. Mary Immaculate College, UL. 8-10th June (curated conference).

(2017) (with Morrissey, D.) 'Making Theatre and Troubling Gender with Young Children'. The Irish Women Playwrights and Theatre makers Conference. Mary Immaculate College, UL. 8-10th June 2017.

(2016) 'An ethnographic study of Branar's 'Tiny Show' as a safe and creative space for TYA artists'. ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering; On the Edge Symposium, Birmingham. 8th July 2016.

(2016) (with Morrissey, D.) 'Collaborative learning as renegotiation of selves'. Irish society for Theatre Research Conference, WIT, 22nd April 2016.

(2015) 'Considering co-creation in drama through teacher practice'. IDIERI 8, Singapore. 5th July 2015.

(2013) 'Negotiating co-creation: Reflections on teacher–researcher collaboration and struggles in classroom drama research'. International Drama/Theatre and Education Association Conference (IDEA), Paris, 10th July 2013.

(2012) Research workshop: Cultivating a practice of teacher as co-creator in the classroom drama experience. 7th International Drama in Education Research Institute Conference (IDIERI 7), Limerick, 11th July 2012.

Conference performances

(2016) (with Morrissey, D.)  ‘Narrating the Self-Collaboratively: Interrogating Identity through practice’. 3rd Narrative Inquiry Conference, NUI Galway. 11th March 2016. 

(2015) (with Morrissey, D.) ‘Some say I am’. IDIERI 8, Singapore. 4th July 2015.

(2015) (with Morrissey, D.) ‘Some say I am, the beginning’. International Research Methods Summer School (IRMSS), Limerick. 7th June 2015.