The Girls in the Big Picture: Gender in Contemporary Ulster Theatre
Ulster theatre, in common with many other institutions in the north of Ireland, has until recently offered a cold house to women and their concerns. Ingrained patriarchal attitudes, along with a resolute separateness from the mainstream of European drama, have made it difficult for plays with a feminist focus to make it to the stage.
In the last two decades the status quo has been energetically challenged by a number of talented women dramatists, including Marie Jones, Christina Reid and Anne Devlin, and radical alternatives have also been suggested by the work of Frank McGuinness. Far from the old hard insularity, their plays celebrate the sort of openness and courage that the north needs more than ever as it moves towards a more inclusive society.
In this revealing new study, Imelda Foley presents a penetrating analysis of the work of the all-women Charabanc theatre company, and of the plays of Jones, Reid, Devlin and McGuinness and argues that, with much less fuss and fanfare, they have effectively achieved many of the stated ambitions of both the Ulster Literary Theatre and Field Day.
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Background to women
In the company of women
The gap between ideology
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Alice Milligan Anne Devlin Aoife audience Balcony become Big Picture Carthaginians Catholic central challenge Charabanc Charabanc Theatre Company characters China Cup Christina Reid comic contemporary critics cultural Declan Kiberd Derry Donna Drama Dublin Easter Faber and Faber Factory Girls fantasy female feminine feminism feminist Field Day Frank McGuinness freedom Frieda gender graveyard Greta hegemony Helen Ibid identity ideology interrogation Irish Literary Irish Literary Theatre Josie Josie's language Liam Linen Hall Library literal Literary Theatre lives Lojek London male Marie Jones Mary and Lizzie masculine McGuinness's metaphor Michael movement myth nationalism nationalist Night in November Northern Ireland Observe the Sons Ourselves patriarchy play playwrights political production Protestant reality Reid's represent republican sectarianism sexual social society Someone Who'll Watch Somme Sons of Ulster symbolic textual Theatre Ireland Thompson traditional Tucker Ulster Marching Ulster theatre violence voice Weeins and Wakes West Belfast woman writing Yeats