Theatres of the Troubles
Theatre, Resistance and Liberation in Ireland
The first book to document grass roots popular theatres which developed from within the working class Republican and Loyalist communities of Belfast and Derry during the latest phase of the four hundred year conflict between Ireland and Britain. Theatres of the Troubles explores the history of one of the most important periods of political theatre activity in post-war Europe.
This significant study seeks to convey how the moment to moment unfolding of the conflict determined organisation, ‘texts’, performance contexts and reception, and how the theatres operated within Republican and Loyalist communities. All chapters draw upon previously unpublished primary sources, including texts, interviews and letters, shared workshops and witnessed performance.
In examining not only how these theatres related to each other, but also their relationship to European traditions of radical theatre and to the liberation models which were developing in neo- and post-colonial contexts in the South, Theatres of the Troubles represents a key addition to our understanding of the critical relationship between historical conditions and the development of radical theatre forms.
Chronology of Key Events
Glossary of Terms
2. The Historical Context
3. 'Gentle Fury': Father Des and the People's Theatre
4. 'At the Heart of the Struggle': the plays of Belfast Community Theatre
5. 'From Pedagogy of the Oppressed to Theatre of the Oppressed': the H Block Theatres
6. Derry Frontline: a template for liberation
7. Staging the Peace (1) Dubbeljoint at Amharclann na Carraige
8. Staging the Peace (2) the plays of Laurence McKeown and Brian Campbell
9. 'Not a Profession but a Movement': politics, theatre and Republicanism
10. 'Only Catholics Combine': Loyalism and theatre
11. Last Words
‘...a valuable document about grassroots, working-class community theatre in Northern Ireland.’
‘...methodologically sound and historically extremely interesting.’
The Journal of Theatre Research International, Sruti Bala, Volume 35/1 – 2010
‘It is of course particularly difficult to recapture performances by community theatres.’
‘McDonnell’s book is a superb example of how such difficulties can be overcome.’
‘One of the text’s most appealing characteristics is the constant sense that McDonnell is deeply engaged with the material he is researching: he is himself an important presence in the book.’
Contemporary Theatre Review, Volume 19(4), 2009, Patrick Lonergan
‘Of vital importance for students and researchers interested in the politics of theatre in the UK and Ireland… a significant contribution to the body of scholarship….compelling...a timely book, providing a provocative perspective on political theatre during the first decade of the new century as well as drawing attention to a neglected and important period of theatre history’.
New Theatre Quarterly, 2010, Jenny Hughes
‘McDonnell’s excellent book…. opening up a fascinating terrain for future scholars… stands as a testament to the courage of communities making work in the face of political crisis, and equally speaks to the methodological challenges of thinking through the tensions and contradictions in the work of living theatre’.
‘McDonnell [...] offers an extremely useful resource for scholars, drawing from previously unused archival sources’
The Drama Review, Volume 56, No 2, Summer 2012, Aoife Monks
Bill McDonnell is Senior Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Sheffield. He has worked both as an actor and writer and was founder and co-director of Theatreworks, Sheffield. He is co-author of Social Impact in UK Theatre (with Dominic Shellard, Arts Council England, 2006).
Theatres of the Troubles - Theatre, Resistance and Liberation in Ireland - Hardback cover
New Titles List
Exeter Performance Studies
- Ancient Greek and Contemporary Performance - Collected Essays
- British South Asian Theatres - A Documented History (with accompanying DVD)
- British Theatre And The Red Peril - The Portrayal of Communism 1917-1945
- The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 1 - Volume One 1900-1932
- The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 2 - Volume Two 1933-1952
- The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3 - Volume Three: The Fifties
- The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 4 - The Sixties
- Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre
- Eighteenth-Century Brechtians - Theatrical Satire in the Age of Walpole
- Forms of Conflict - Contemporary Wars on the British Stage
- Freedom's Pioneer - John McGrath's Work in Theatre, Film and Television
- From Mimesis to Interculturalism - Readings of Theatrical Theory Before and After ‘Modernism'
- Grand-Guignol - The French Theatre of Horror
- In Comes I - Performance, Memory and Landscape
- John Mcgrath - Plays For England
- London’s Grand Guignol and the Theatre of Horror
- Making Theatre in Northern Ireland - Through and Beyond the Troubles
- Marking Time - Performance, Archaeology and the City
- On Actors And Acting
- Performing Grand-Guignol - Playing the Theatre of Horror
- Singing Simpkin and other Bawdy Jigs - Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage: Scripts, Music and Context
- Theatre Workshop
- Theatres of the Troubles - Theatre, Resistance and Liberation in Ireland
- Victory Over the Sun - The World's First Futurist Opera