31 October 2023 / News

TaPRA Theatre and Performance Histories – Online Seminars

The ‘TaPRA Theatre and Performance Histories’ working group invites you to their next two online seminars, as outlined below. As TaPRA affiliated events, these are free to attend. All you need to do is email them on if you would like to join and they’ll add you to the list.


Title: Theatre Revivals and Ecological Crisis: Historiographical Challenges 

Speaker: Prof. Patrick Lonergan (University of Galway) 

Date/ Time: 29 November 2023, 5pm-6.15pm (GMT).

Drawing on my recent book Theatre Revivals for the Anthropocence, I’ll consider how the practice of reviving old plays can make visible ecological or environmental features that might previously have gone unnoticed – and which, in some cases, might not have been consciously included by the original authors or makers of a work, but which are detectable to audiences in the present anyway. That semantic mercuriality poses interesting challenges for theatre historians – and might cause us to reconsider the meaning and function of categories that were previously considered (more or less) stable, such as theatrical influence, artistic intentionality, and the relationship between nature and culture. Viewing theatre revival as a form of theatre historiography in practice, I consider some of these questions by discussing recent Druid Theatre productions of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and the plays of Lady Augusta Gregory.


Bio: Professor Patrick Lonergan is Vice-Dean for Engagement and Student Recruitment in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, and he lectures in Drama, Irish Literature, and Music at the School of English and Creative Arts. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

He has edited or written eleven books on theatre and Irish literature, including Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era (winner of the 2008 Theatre Book Prize), The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh (Methuen Drama, 2012), Theatre and Social Media (2015) and Irish Drama and Theatre Since 1950 (Bloomsbury, 2019). His next book, Theatre Revivals for the Anthropocene, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2023, and other forthcoming publications include work on Shakespeare, Yeats, Synge, Joyce, and the history of blackface performance in nineteenth-century Ireland.


Please let them know on if you’d like to join and they can send you the MS Teams Link. 


Title: The Archival Tourist: Curation and Performance 

Speaker: Prof. Laura Engel (Duquesne University, USA)

Date/ Time: 21 February 2024, 5pm-6.15pm (GMT).


Abstract: Women, Performance, and the Material of Memory: The Archival Tourist 1780-1915 (Palgrave, 2019), proposes that the performance of archival research is related to the experience of tourism, where an individual immerses herself in a foreign environment, relating to and analyzing visual and sensory materials through embodiment and enactment. Each chapter highlights a particular set of tangible objects including: pocket diaries, portraits, drawings, magic lanterns, silhouettes, waxworks, and photographs in relation to actresses, authors, and artists such as: Elizabeth Inchbald, Sally Siddons, Marguerite Gardiner the Countess of Blessington, Isabella Beetham, Jane Read, Madame Tussaud, and Amelia M. Watson. Ultimately, operating as an archival tourist in my analyses, I offer strategies for thinking about the presence of women artists in the archives through methodologies that seek to connect materials from the past with our representations of them in the present. In this talk I will also discuss how the strategies explored in this book have engendered new connections between curation and performance in my current projects.


Bio: Laura Engel is a Professor in the English Department at Duquesne University, where she specializes in eighteenth-century literature, theater, gender studies, and material culture. She is the author of Women, Performance, and the Material of Memory: The Archival Tourist (Palgrave, 2019), Austen, Actresses, and Accessories (Palgrave Pivot, 2014), Fashioning Celebrity: Eighteenth-Century British Actresses and Strategies for Image Making (Ohio State University Press, 2011) and co-editor with Elaine McGirr of Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theater 1660-1830 (Bucknell University Press, 2015). She recently directed and adapted a new version of Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends (1801) staged as a performance piece in the Lewis Walpole Library Reading Room in May 2023. Her digital book, The Art of the Actress, is forthcoming from the Cambridge University Press Elements Series this spring. Current projects include curating the exhibition “The Paradox of Pearls: Fashioning Identities in the Eighteenth Century” at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University (opening in September 2024) and a fashion biography (or a life in clothes) of the actresses Katharine Cornell and Katharine Hepburn. She is the editor of the Performing Celebrity Series published by the University of Delaware Press.


Please let them know on if you’d like to join and they can send you the MS Teams Link.