Postgraduate Travel Bursaries Available!


With a week still to go for submissions for ‘Performing the Archive’ conference, we are delighted to announce POSTGRADUATE TRAVEL BURSARIES! 

A limited number of €250 postgraduate travel bursaries that also entitles you to free registration will be available for those travelling to attend the conference.

To apply, please submit a 250 word statement outlining your reasons for attending this conference in relationship to your current research and career trajectory and a copy of your current CV.

Postgraduate travel bursary applications should be submitted to by 15 May 2015.

These postgraduate bursaries are made possible by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme.


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Don’t forget – you can stay up to date with conference news, learn about the theatre collections of the Hardiman Library, share news of theatre and performance research, practice and events and see a little about Galway before you arrive in July! 


Arthur Shields – The 1916 Rising on the Street, Stage and Screen

On the 11th February 1926, rioting greeted the Abbey Theatre performance of Sean O’Casey’s “The Plough and the Stars” because of what was viewed as it’s anti-Irish sentiment. Yeats tells the audience “You have disgraced yourselves again”.

From the Arthur Shields Family Collection is a photograph from that production, featuring G Fallon, Arthur Shields, FJ McCormack and Shelah Richards(T13/B/246). In spite of the controversy surrounding aspects of the play, it played to full houses, and had many re-runs and revivals, as well as a film version in 1937.

Arthur Shields in “The Plough and the Stars”, 1926. T13/B/246 Hardiman Library

In a reply to critics, printed in “The Irish Times” on 19 February 1926, O’Casey tackled some of the criticisms of the play, and went on to state.

The politicians – Free State and Republican – have the platform to express themselves, and Heavens knows they seem to take full advantage of it. The drama is my place for self-expression, and I claim the liberty in drama that they enjoy on the platform (and how they do enjoy it!), and am prepared to fight for it.

In a unique twist, Arthur Shields, an actor and stage manager at the Abbey Theatre, was also an active participant in the Easter Rising of 1916, would star in the 1926 production of “The Plough and the Stars” at the Abbey Theatre and also feature in the 1936 film version of “Plough and the Stars”, directed by John Ford.

For more on productions of “The Plough and the Stars” check out the Shields Family Collection at and programmes from the various Abbey Theatre productions of ‘The Plough and the Stars’ as part of the abbey Theatre Digital Archive, available at the Hardiman Library.

Announcing ‘Performing the Archive’ Conference at NUI Galway!

T13/B/157 (c) Shields Archive, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway

T13/B/157 (c) Shields Archive, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway

“Performing the Archives” Conference
National University of Ireland, Galway
22 – 24 July 2015

Co-sponsored by the American Society for Theatre Research

Professor Tracy C. Davis (Northwestern University)
Dr. Doug L. Reside (New York Public Library)
Professor Catherine Cole (University of California, Berkeley)
Dr. Hugh Denard (Trinity College, Dublin)
Professor Patrick Lonergan (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Professor Lionel Pilkington (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Dr. Emilie Pine (University College, Dublin)

“Performing the Archives” responds to the new innovations in archival practices including digital methodologies brings together new thinking in the will gather together scholars, artists and archivists engaged in working with archival materials on research and performance projects to explore the uses and possibilities of the archive today from theoretical and methodological perspectives.

We will debate:

• What is the status of archival research methodologies in published research and graduate training today?
• What are the possibilities of collaboration between researchers and practitioners working together to remount work based on the archives or research on new material? What working models exist and what have yet to be imagined?
• How has the digital humanities begun to reshape the possibilities of archival engagement?
• How can we support the labour of not only archival research methodologies but the maintenance of the archives themselves? How does the holding location of archives (university vs. community archive) affect the circulation of these resources? How can partnerships be expanded or reimagined?
• How has the cataloguing of new/recent archives contributed to new learning and change?
• Connection of archives, theatre and society: Documentary theatre and socially responsive theatre
• Theatre, Peace and Conflict – How memory of theatre and conflict, especially that of Northern Ireland, is newly understood and experienced through the archives and contributing to resolution and reconciliation
• The craft of the playwright: Drafting, editing and writing for stage or radio

This conference capitalizes on NUI Galway’s unparalleled strength in Irish theatre and literary archives, taking advantage of holdings including the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, the Druid Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Thomas Kilroy, Siobhan McKenna and the Galway Arts Festival, among others, to facilitate a national and international conversation about the place of archives in not only theatre and performance research and teaching, but arts practice and perception of theatre history more broadly.

Coinciding with the Galway Arts Festival, the conference will immerse participants in the living performance culture of Galway as the Galway Arts Festival links together artists from around the world to mount Ireland’s largest international arts festival.

Participants will take part in intensive working group sessions as well as participate in keynote and plenary sessions with leading scholars, archivists and performers working at the intersection of practice and research.

You may propose either an individual paper or panel of three speakers. Abstracts for individuals for individual papers should be no more than 350 words in length and panels should submit their panel title and grouped abstracts to be considered. Proposed papers can address practical projects in the area of digitization, curation, or archives administration as well as presenting creative, scholarly or theoretical case studies.

Individuals will also designate a working group to be associated with for an intensive workshop during the conference.

You can apply to the following strands:

• Archival Materials In/As Performance
• Digitization: Methodology and Ethics
• Early-Mid-Twentieth Century Irish Theatre
• Irish Theatre After Beckett
• Conflict, Memory and Trauma
• Scenography and Theatre Technologies

Please submit a 350-word abstract for your proposed paper as a PDF file ONLY with brief bio by 30 March 2015 to

For more information, please contact Barry Houlihan (, Charlotte McIvor ( or Ian Walsh (