In the wake of Ireland’s recent economic rise, fall, and associated social crises, theatre and performance have played vital roles in reflecting on the past, engaging the present, and imagining possible futures.
That Was Us features a wide, rich range of critical essays and artist reflections that strive to make sense of some of the most significant shifts and trends in contemporary Irish theatre and performance.
Focusing on artists connected to the Dublin Theatre Festival, the book addresses work by the Abbey Theatre, ANU Productions, Brokentalkers, The Corn Exchange, Druid, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, the Gate Theatre, Landmark Productions, Rough Magic Theatre Company, THEATREclub, Theatre Lovett, Pan Pan, The Stomach Box and THISISPOPBABY, among others.
Some of the burgeoning forms and practices discussed include: site-specific and site-responsive theatre; testimonial, documentary, and biographical performance; dance theatre; theatre for children and families; new writing; and fresh takes on canonical writing staged at home or toured internationally.
In bringing together critics and artists to think side by side, That Was Us is indispensable for anyone interested in contemporary practices and cultural politics.
1. The Power of the Powerless: Theatre in Turbulent Times by Fintan Walsh
ONE: Theatres of Testimony
2. ANU Productions and Site-Specific Performance: The Politics of Space and Place by Brian Singleton
3. Witnessing the (Broken) Nation: Theatre of the Real and Social Fragmentation in Brokentalkers’ Silver Stars, The Blue Boy, and Have I No Mouth by Charlotte McIvor
4. You Had to be There by Louise Lowe
TWO: Auto/Biographical Performance
5. Making Space: Female-Authored Queer Performance in Irish Theatre by Oonagh Murphy
6. The Writing Life by Helen Meany
7. Metaphysicians of Unnatural Chaos: Memories of Genesi by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio by Dylan Tighe
THREE: Bodies Out of Bounds
8. Insider and Outsider: Michael Keegan-Dolan in the Irish Dance Landscape by Michael Seaver
9. And the Adults Came Too! Dublin Theatre Festival and the Development of Irish Children’s Theatre by Eimear Beardmore
10. Living Inspiration by John Scott
FOUR: Placing Performance
11. Representations of Working-Class Dublin at the Dublin Theatre Festival by James Hickson
12. ‘Getting Known’: Beckett, Ireland, and the Creative Industries by Trish McTighe
13. The Art of Perspective by Michael West
FIVE: Touring Performances
14. Druid Cycles: The Rewards of Marathon Productions by Tanya Dean
15. Staging the National in an International Context: Druid at the Dublin Theatre Festival by Sara Keating
16. Viewed from Afar: Contemporary Irish Theatre on the World’s Stages by Peter Crawley
17. A Dance You Associate With Your Family by Gary Keegan