DRAM20110 Contemporary Ireland On Stage

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course examines new Irish theatre from the 1980s forward, with particular emphasis over the past twenty-five years, during a time of profound economic and social change. The disintegration of a unified national consciousness is reflected on Irish stages, and the proliferation of forms, themes, and styles signals trans-national concerns, urban consciousness, recreation of ‘traditional’ images and themes, and an interrogation of narrative, identity, and empathy.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the course students should:

be familiar with a range of contemporary Irish plays; be aware of issues of representation, convention and innovation in contemporary Irish theatre;
be able to discuss and write critically about contemporary theatre practice in Ireland;
be familiar with current sources on contemporary Irish theatre.

Indicative Module Content:

List of Seminars

21/01 Introduction (EJ)

28/01 The Weir by Conor McPherson (EJ)

04/02 The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh (EJ)

11/02 The Mai by Marina Carr (SH)

All students are expected to draft a review prior to their SGT.

18/02 One Upon a Time & Not So Long Ago by Bisi Adigun (EJ)

25/02 Override Stacy Gregg (AT)

03/03 Performance Review (EJ)

Theatre Review due 06/03 at 14:00: Deliver to Drama and Film Studies Administrator, Newman Building

Reading Weeks

24/03 The Factory Girls by Frank McGuinnesss (EJ)

31/03 Howie The Rookie by Mark O’Rowe (EJ)

07/04 I know my Own Heart by Emma Donoghue (SH)

14/04 A Woman in Progress by Panti Bliss (CM)

21/04 Conclusion/Overview (EJ)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is lecture based.
Students are expected to have read the play in advance of each lecture.
The lecture is followed by one hour of small group teaching.
These sessions are more practice-orientated.
Lectures will be informed by at least one theatre visit.
The focus of one SGT will be on the writing of theatre reviews.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Work prepared in advance of Small Group Teaching Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: Mid semester review Week 7 n/a Graded No


Essay: Final Essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat (CFP) Within Three Semesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will be given feedback on their theatre reviews within two weeks of the probject submission.

Required Readings

Adigun, Bisi, One Upon a Time & Not So Long Ago in
Staging Intercultural Ireland: New Plays and Practitioner Perspectives, edited by Charlotte McIvor and Matthew Spangler (Cork: Cork University Press, 2014)
Carr, Marina, The Mai in Plays 1 (London: Faber, 1999)
Gregg, Stacy, Override (London: Nick Hern Books, 2013)
Donoghue, Emma, I know my Own Heart is published in Emma Donoghue: Selected Plays (London: Oberon Books, 2015) and in Seen and Heard: Six New Plays by Irish Women, ed. by Cathy Leeney (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2001).
McDonagh, Martin, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (London: Methuen, 2001)
McGuinness, Frank, The Factory Girls in Plays One (London, Faber and Faber, 1996)
McPherson, Conor, The Weir (London: Nick Hern Books, 1998)
O’Rowe, Mark, Howie the Rookie (London: Nick Hern Books, 1999)
Panti Bliss, A Woman in Progress in Fintan Walsh’s Queer Notions: New Plays and Performances from Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 2010).

Numerous articles will be available to you on Blackboard
Recommended Readings

Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance Studies Reader, eds, Finola Cronin and Eamonn Jordan (EBOOK, 2016)
The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance, eds Eamonn Jordan and Eric Weitz (2018)
Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Drama edited by Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash (Oxford 2016)

Dissident Dramaturgies: Contemporary Irish Theatre, Jordan, Eamonn, (Dublin: IAP, 2010)
Irish Drama and Theatre Since 1950 by Patrick Lonergan (London: Methuen, 2019)
Contemporary Irish Drama, Roche, Anthony (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009)
The Theatre of Marina Carr: “before rules was made”, edited by Cathy Leeney and Anna McMullan (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2003)
Theatre Talk: Interviews with Irish Theatre Practitioners edited by Lilian Chambers, Dan Farrelly, Ger Fitzgibbon, Cathy Leeney and Eamonn Jordan (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2001)
A Century of Irish Drama: Widening the Stage edited by Stephen Watts (Indiana University Press, 2000)
In-Yer-Face Theatre: British Drama Today, Sierz, Aleks (London: Faber, 2001)
Druids, Dudes and Beauty Queens: The Changing Face of Irish Theatre edited by Dermot Bolger (New Island, 2001)

Numerous other publications will be suggested throughout the semester.

Name Role
Dr Emma Bennett Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Fiona Charleton Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Paul Halferty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Shonagh Hill Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Clara Mallon Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Ashley Taggart Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Helena Young Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Justine Zapin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer