fbpx Theatre History Podcast # 15 | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Theatre History Podcast # 15

Fiona Coffey on Women in Northern Irish Theatre During The Troubles



When we think of Irish theatre, we tend to think primarily of playwrights and theatre companies from the Republic of Ireland, not northern part of the island. Those Northern Irish playwrights we do know, such as Brian Friel, tend to be men. Fiona Coffey’s new book, Political Acts: Women in Northern Irish Theatre, 1921-2012, challenges these preconceptions, exploring how female playwrights and theatre practitioners have navigated the difficult political and social landscape of Northern Ireland.

vintage event poster
 Poster for the Charabanc Theatre Company's Oul' Delf and False Teeth, 1984. 


  • Learn more about Fiona’s book, Political Acts.
  • Explore the Linen Hall Library’s Digital Theatre Archive, “the primary source of theatrical material from Northern Ireland.”
  • Find out more about how theatre responded to The Troubles from the Troubles Archive.
  • Read some of Fiona’s research on figures and companies from Northern Irish theatre, such as Shannon Yee and DubbelJoint Theatre Company.

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Thoughts from the curator

This podcast aims to introduce listeners to the artists, scholars, and archivists who are working to bring the history of performance to life. We hope that, by listening to this show, you’ll learn about exciting new performances, fascinating books, and valuable repositories of knowledge, all of which will help you better understand theatre’s history.

Theatre History Podcast


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Great to hear more about Charabanc & Shannon Yee - & to discover Alice Milligan for the first time!

re: feminism in Irish theatre: A campaign called #WakingTheFeminists arose in response to the Abbey Theatre's announcement of their 2016 season (focused on the 1916 Easter Rising & more male-dominated than seasons at the same theatre a century ago). Many artists from the North travelled to Dublin for the first meeting & a WTF group still meets at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. A related group called Mothers Artists Makers is active north & south too. There's definitely reluctance to being 'tagged' as female playwrights, but there's a surefire fight for parity going on across the island.