CFP Pearse Symposium

Symposium: Patrick Pearse and theatre / Pádraig Mac Piarais agus an Amharclann

Confirmed guest speakers: James Moran, School of English, Nottingham University

Brian Crowley, The Pearse Museum/OPW


St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, 29-30th November 2013

In the years before he became an icon of rebellion Patrick Pearse was obsessed with the theatre.  He was the author and producer of plays in both Irish and English and the imaginative force behind pageants that were staged on a truly remarkable scale. Contemporary performances of Pearse’s works attracted large and enthusiastic audiences, while many leading figures from the worlds of culture and politics were involved in the preparation, promotion, and staging of his ambitious scripts.  The plays themselves were often allegories for Pearse’s political vision and he drew on the theatrical expertise of his brother Willie and their circle to devise innovative productions that included open air performances as well as stagings in the Abbey and the Irish Theatre.

This symposium seeks to explore this sometimes overlooked dimension to Pearse’s life and work.  Papers are invited that discuss Pearse’s plays and his theatrical practice, as well as the wider impact and context (local, national, international) of his engagement with theatre and performance. Papers (20mins) may be presented in English or in Irish (a simultaneous translation service will be provided).

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Critiques of individual plays
  • Pearse as proto-modernist
  • Pearse’s dramatisations of classic Irish texts
  • Pearse as a theatre critic and theorist
  •  Pearse’s innovative performance praxis
  •  Pearse’s engagement with fellow dramatists: e.g. Yeats, Nic Shiubhlaigh, Hyde, O’Grady and Synge.
  •  Pearse’s interest in European dramatists such as Ibsen and Maeterlinck.
  •  Pearse and the postcolonial
  • The music and song of Pearse’s plays
  •  Pearse’s involvement with The Theatre of Ireland, the Abbey Theatre and the Irish Theatre.
  • The network of key figures in the organisation and staging of Pearse’s plays (MacDonagh, Hobson, Larkin, Willie Pearse, Yeats etc.)
  •  The role of theatre in the development of Irish nationalism
  •  Pearse and folk theatre
  •  Critical reactions and production histories

Please submit a title and 200 word abstract of your proposed paper by Friday 27th September to              Registration:        25 euro (payable at the symposium)

Organisers: Dr Eugene McNulty is a member of the English Department, St Patrick’s College, DCU

Dr Róisín Ní Ghairbhí is a member of Roinn na Gaeilge, St. Patrick’s College, DCU.