6 September 2019 / Conferences

Symposium: Performance and the Archive: Presence, Absence, and Digital Memory

National University of Ireland, Galway

Thu, 24 October 2019
10:00 – 18:30

Symposium discussing current research and practice in digital theatre, archival curation and the archival futures for performance.

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About this Event

This symposium will address current research, practice and developments in the field of digital theatre historiography, archival curation, and memory and performance studies. The digital interface between the archive of past performance and the present is enabling new encounters between presence and absence, as well as navigating and contesting the recognised documented repertoire. The digital future of the archive presents challenges in terms of documentation of contemporary theatre practice. Processes generated and experienced through virtual and augmented reality, digital video installation and other technologically-enabled performance, effects our collective memory. The reanimated archive of aural and visual media, the corporal record of movement and space, as well as the essence and affect of live reception, present an ever-more interdisciplinary engagement with the digital and born-digital archive of performance. The symposium will discuss and question the future presence and possible absence from digital theatre archives, how we encounter and experience exhibitions and display of such records, as well as the documentation and curation of future digital performance.

The event will also include a launch of the new book: Navigating Ireland’s Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance(Peter Lang Press, 2019) edited by Dr. Barry Houlihan and launched by Catriona Crowe.

Symposium Programme

10.00 – 10.30 Registration

10.30 – Welcome address and Introductions

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President, NUI Galway

John Cox, University Librarian, NUI Galway

10.45 – 12.00pm Panel 1: Sound and Vision: New Collections and Archive Discovery

• Voices from the Abbey Theatre – Mairéad Delaney (Abbey Theatre, Dublin)

• The Sounds of 1930s Irish Theatre: Theatre Music by Frederick May and Arthur Duff – Dr. Mark FitzGerald (Technical University, Dublin)

• The Samuel Beckett and Rough Magic Archives in the Library of Trinity College Library – Estelle Gittens and Jane Maxwell (Trinity College Dublin)

12pm – 12.30pm Coffee Break

(Exhibition: Exploring the Theatre Archives of the Hardiman Library – Hardiman Building Foyer)

12.30pm Panel 2: Theatre Technologies: Encountering Performance Memory

• Curation as Performance – Dr. Catherine Morris (NUI Galway)

• ‘Not There’: Tracing ‘Dark Matter’ through a Digital Genetic Edition of Samuel

Beckett’s Footfalls’ – Dr. James Little (Masaryk University, Brno)

• Immersive Perspectivalism: Theatre in the information age – Dr Joseph Dunne-Howrie (City University London)

1.45pm – 2.30pm Lunch

2.30pm – 3.45 Roundtable Panel:

Archives and Performance: Challenging the Present

• Jane Daly and Siobhán Bourke (Irish Theatre Institute)

• Mary Moynihan (Smashing Times Theatre Company)

• Patrick Lonergan (NUI Galway)

4pm Keynote: “Memorable … what?” (Krapp’s Last Tape). Archiving performance, performing the archive: creative encounters between the digital and the material, between lost histories and future connections. Professor Anna MacMullan, University of Reading

5pm – 5.30pm Break

5.30pm Book Launch

Navigating Ireland’s Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance

launched by Catriona Crowe.

For further information contact


Hardiman Building

Room G10

Hardiman Building

H91 REW4 NUI Galway



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