Women in Northern Irish Theatre, 1921–2012
A social history of women in Northern Irish theatre, examining how sectarian
conflict and the ensuing peace process have affected women’s
"The definitive account of women in the Irish theatre of the North from Alice Mulligan through Shannon Yee... The politics of violence in Northern Ireland and the innovation of women artists there together allow Coffey to define dynamics of public performance that add to the history of theatre in Ireland and also to the history of public performance in centers of social conflict."—John P. Harrington, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Fordham University
"A genuinely new and significant contribution to Irish theater
history. . . . No other monograph out there that does what this
book does, which is to provide a comprehensive and contextualized
history of contemporary women’s contributions to theater in
Northern Ireland."—Susan Cannon Harris, author of Gender and Modern Irish Drama
Fiona Coffey holds a BA from Stanford University, a MPhil from Trinity College, Dublin, and a
PhD from Tufts University. She teaches theatre history and Irish cultural studies.
Book Description »[Close »]
Since the establishment of the Northern Irish state in 1921, theatre has often
captured and reflected the political, social, and cultural changes that the North
has experienced. From the mid–twentieth century, theatre has played a particularly
important role in documenting women’s experiences and in showing how
women’s social and political status has changed with the transformation of the
state. Throughout the North’s history, women’s dramatic writing and performance
have often contradicted mainstream narratives of the sectarian conflict,
creating a rich and daring trove of counternarratives that contest the stories
promoted by the government and media.
Moving beyond the better-known women theatre practitioners of the North
such as Marie Jones, Christina Reid, Anne Devlin, and the Charabanc Theatre
Company, Coffey recovers the lost history of lesser-known, early playwrights
and highlights a new generation of women writing during peacetime. She examines
how Northern women have historically used the theatrical stage as a
form of political activism when more traditional avenues were closed off to
them. Tracing the development of women’s involvement in Northern theatre,
Coffey ultimately illuminates how issues such as feminism, gender roles, violence,
politics, and sectarianism have shifted over the past century as the North
moves from conflict into a developing and fragile peace.
View other series books on Irish Studies.
6 x 9, 304 pages, notes, bibliography, index