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Dr. Melissa Sihra
Assistant Professor, Drama

Biography

Melissa Sihra is Head of Drama and Assistant Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin. Her monograph 'Marina Carr: Pastures of the Unknown' was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. She held the post of President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) from 2011-2015. She researches and teaches in the field of Feminism, gender, Women in Performance, Playwriting, Dramaturgy and Irish Theatre with special interest in the work of Marina Carr and Lady Augusta Gregory. She was Chair of the annual Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering at Gregory's Galway home of Coole Park in September 2016 and gave a day-long workshop on the life and works of Augusta Gregory at The Abbey Theatre as part of their Canon Camp in May 2016. Melissa is a professional Dramaturg and has worked with Holly Hunter on Carr's BY THE BOG OF CATS... at San Jose Repertory Theatre in 2001. She was Dramaturg for the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre Company's production of Carr's PORTIA COUGHLAN (2001) and the Chicago Irish Repertory's production of BY THE BOG OF CATS...(2001) and Brian Friel's MAKING HISTORY (2002) and G.B. Shaw's JOHN BULL'S OTHER ISLAND (2002) and facilitated a South Korean production of Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT at the Samuel Beckett Theatre (2008).She was a consultant for the Abbey Theatre world premiere of Carr's ARIEL (2002), and a Script Reader at the Abbey Theatre (1998-2002). She was invited by Professor Jill Dolan to lecture on Irish Theatre at Princeton University (Autumn 2011), where she also participated in a symposium at the McCarter Theatre, Princeton, in conjunction with the world-premiere of Marina Carr's play PHAEDRA BACKWARDS, directed by Emily Mann. She is a regular speaker at the annual Synge Summer School, and has delivered Keynote Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Irvine, the University of Pittsburgh, Villanova University, the University of Glasgow and Helsinki University. In 2007 she was chosen to represent Ireland as part of the Next Generation Leaders Program in South Korea, co-funded by South Korean Government and the National Strategy Institute. Prior to working at Trinity College, she was Lecturer in Drama at Queen's University Belfast (2002-2006)and part-time Lecturer in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (2000-2002). She was a member of the judging panel of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1997. She is editor of the volume WOMEN IN IRISH DRAMA: A CENTURY OF AUTHORSHIP AND REPRESENTATION (Palgrave Macmillan 2007).

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Melissa Sihra, Marina Carr: Pastures of the Unknown, UK, Palgrave Macmillan , 2018, 1 - 270pp Book, 2018

Circuitous Pathways: Marina Carr's Labyrinth of Feminist Form in the US World Premiere of Phaedra Backwards in, editor(s)Eamonn Jordan and Eric Weitz , The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance, UK, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp517 - 526, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2018

"Time to Possess my Soul: One Day, Lady Gregory': Foreword' in, editor(s)Burcin Erol , One Day, Lady Gregory: Irish Writers Series 7, Ankara, Turkey, Hacettepe University Press, Ankara, 2018, pp11 - 20, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2018

Obscene Transformations: Violence, Women and Theatre in Sarah Kane and Marina Carr in, editor(s)Maria Anita Stefanelli , Performing Gender and Violence in Contemporary Transnational Contexts, Milan, LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto, 2016, pp27 - 40, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2016

Shadow and Substance: Women, Feminism and Irish Theatre in, editor(s)Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash , The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp545 - 558, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2016

Melissa Sihra, Beauty Beyond The Everyday: A Critical Appraisal of Marina Carr, Readiing Ireland, 1, (4), 2016, p18 - 28 Journal Article, 2016

Marie Jones in, editor(s)Maggie Gale and John Deeney , Fifty Modern and Contemporary Dramatists Routledge Key Guides, London, Routledge, 2014, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2014

Irish Theatre International , 3, 1, (2014), 1 - 109p, Melissa Sihra, [General Editor], 2011-2015 Journal, 2014

12 Entries on Irish Actors, Simon Williams, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Acting, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2014

Marina Carr in, editor(s)Maggie Gale and John Deeney , Fifty Modern and Contemporary Dramatists Routledge Key Guides, (In Press) London, Routledge, 2014, ppIn press - [Melissa] Book Chapter, 2014

Theatre Research International , 36, 3, (2011), 269 - 291p, Elaine Aston, [eds.] Journal, 2011

Melissa Sihra & Pirkko Koski (editors), The Local Meets the Global in Performance, First, England, Canbridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, 1 - 199pp Book, 2010

Melissa Sihra (edited with Paul Murphy), The Dreaming Body: Contemporary Irish Theatre, London & New York, Colin Smythe Ltd & Oxford University Press, 2009, 1 - 231pp Book, 2009

'A Cautionary Tale: Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats' in, editor(s)J.P. Harrington , The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, Second Edition, New York, Norton, 2009, pp582 - 586, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2009

Melissa Sihra, The Unbearable Darkness of Being: Marina Carr's Woman and Scarecrow, Irish Theatre International, 1, (1), 2008, p22 - 37 Journal Article, 2008

Melissa Sihra (editor), Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, First, United Kingdom, Palgrave Macmillan. Paperback 2009., 2007, i - 241pp Book, 2007

The House of Woman: The Plays of Marina Carr in, editor(s)Melissa Sihra , Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, United Kingdom, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, pp201 - 218, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2007

Marina Carr in the US: Perception, Conflict and Culture in Irish Theatre Abroad in, editor(s)Nicholas Grene and Christopher Morash , Irish Theatre on Tour, Dublin, Caryfort Press, 2005, pp179 - 192, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2005

Melissa Sihra, "Nature Noble nor Ignoble": Woman, Family and Home in the Theatre of Marina Carr., Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies, 11, (2), 2005, p133 - 148 Journal Article, 2005

Greek Myth, Irish Reality: Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats in, editor(s)Steve Wilmer and John Dillon , Rebel Women: Staging Ancient Greek Drama Today, London, Methuen, 2005, pp115 - 135, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2005

Playing the Body: Marina Carr's Comedy of (Bad) Manners in, editor(s)Eric Weitz , The Power of Laughter: Comedy in Contemporary Irish Theatre, Dublin, Carysfort Press, 2004, pp157 - 172, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2004

Melissa Sihra, Renegotiating Landscapes of the Female: Voices, Topographies and Corporealities of Alterity in Marina Carr's Portia Coughlan, Australasian Journal of Theatre Studies, 43, (43), 2003, p16 - 31 Journal Article, 2003

Reflections Across Water: New Stages of Performing Carr in, editor(s)Anna McMullan and Cathy Leeney , The Theatre of Marina Carr: before rules was made, Dublin, Carysfort Press, 2003, pp92 - 113, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2003

Olwen Fouere in Conversation with Melissa Sihra in, editor(s)Eamonn Jordan, Lilian Chambers and Ger Fitzgibbon , Theatre Talk: Conversations with Irish Theatre Practitioners, Dublin, Carysfort Press, 2001, pp155 - 165, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2001

Marina Carr in Conversation with Melissa Sihra in, editor(s)Eamonn Jordan, Lilian Chambers and Ger Fitzgibbon , Theatre Talk: Voices of Irish Theatre Practitioners, Dublin, Carysfort Press, 2001, pp55 - 63, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2001

A Cautionary Tale: Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats in, editor(s)Eamonn Jordan , Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre, Dublin, Carysfort Press, 2000, pp257 - 268, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2000

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Melissa Sihra, 'Troublesome Women': Wise-women and Witches in the Plays of Lady Gregory and Marina Carr, Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering, Coole Park, Co. Galway, 29 September, 2018, Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering Invited Talk, 2018

Melissa Sihra, The Memory of Water; Program Note for The Mai, Dublin Theatre Festival, 2018, - Miscellaneous, 2018

Melissa Sihra, The Haunted Kitchen, Program Note, Abbey Theatre, 2018, - Miscellaneous, 2018

Melissa Sihra, Sound and Fury, Program Note for Look Back in Anger, Gate Theatre, 2018, - Miscellaneous, 2018

Melissa Sihra, Theatre of Silence; Teresa Deevy Returns to Abbey, Irish Independent, 2017, - Miscellaneous, 2017

Melissa Sihra, Keynote Address: 'One Day, Lady Gregory', One Day, Lady Gregory, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 23 November , 2017, irish Embassy, Turkey & Hacettepe University Invited Talk, 2017

Melissa Sihra, Keynote address: 'Towards a Matriarchal Lineage from Lady Gregory to Marina Carr', Irish Women Playwrights and Theatremakers, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, 12 June , 2017, Department of Theatre Invited Talk, 2017

Melissa Sihra, Meet the Makers: Marina Carr in Conversation with Melissa Sihra, Meet the Makers: Marina Carr in Conversation with Melissa Sihra, Abbey Theatre, 20 September, 2011, Abbey Theatre Invited Talk, 2011

Melissa Sihra, Marina Carr; Violence and Greek Theatre, Princeton University Theater Studies Series, Princeton University, 2 - 6 November , 2011, Professor Jill Dolan Invited Talk, 2011

Melissa Sihra, Death Aria of the Soul: Program Note for Marina Carr's Woman and Scarecrow, Primecut Productions, Belfast, 2009, - Miscellaneous, 2009

What Lies Beneath in, editor(s)Ali Curran , Operating Theatre 1980-2008, Dublin, Zero-G, 2008, pp70 - 72, [Melissa Sihra] Book Chapter, 2008

Melissa Sihra, Keynote Address: Irish Theatre and Globalisation, University of California Multi-Campus Research Group, University of California, Irvine, 20 July, 2006, Professor Janelle Reinelt Invited Talk, 2006

Melissa Sihra, The Theatre of Marina Carr, irish Studies Postgraduate Seminar Series, Villanova University, Philadelphia, 23 April, 2003, Department of Irish Studies Invited Talk, 2003

Planting Words, Program Note for Brian Friel's Making History, Chicago Irish Repertory Theatre , 2002, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2002

Writing in Blood, Program Note for Marina Carr's Ariel, Abbey Theatre, Abbey Theatre, 2002, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2002

Planting Words, Program Note of Brian Friel's Making History, Chicago Irish Repertory , 2002, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2002

Writing on Water, Program Note for Marina Carr's Portia Coughlan, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre Company 2001, Progam Note, 2001, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2001

Shifting Landscape, Program Note for Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats, Chicago Irish Repertory Theatre, John Istel, Stagebill, 2001, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2001

Melissa Sihra, Topographies of the Mind: Marina Carr's Portia Coughlan, Theater Studies Seminar, Department of Theater, University of Pittsburgh, 25 March, 2001, Professor Bruce McConachie Invited Talk, 2001

Melissa Sihra, Dramaturgy and the Living Writer, Post-graduate Forum, Department of Theater, University of California, Berkeley, 25 September, 2001, Professor William Worthen Invited Talk, 2001

Melissa Sihra, Dramaturgy and the Living Writer, Post-graduate Forum, Department of Theater, University of California, Berkeley, 25 September, 2001, Professor William Worthen Invited Talk, 2001

Landscape of Otherness, San Jose Repertory Theatre Subscribers' Newsletter, 2001, [Melissa Sihra] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2001

Melissa Sihra, Dramaturgy and the Living Writer, Post-graduate Forum, Department of Theater, University of California, Berkeley, 25 September, 2001, Professor William Worthen Invited Talk, 2001

Melissa Sihra, Dramaturgy and the Living Writer, Post-graduate Forum, Department of Theater, University of California, Berkeley, 25 September, 2001, Professor William Worthen Invited Talk, 2001

Research Expertise

Description

My research challenges the patriarchal foundations of modern and contemporary Irish drama, relocating women as central to Irish theatre history and contemporary practice. My research on playwright Marina Carr is underscored by an original feminist historiography which reconsiders the gendered nexus of Irish theatre, recalibrating the status of Lady Augusta Gregory as a foundational playwright of the Irish Literary Revival. My monograph 'Marina Carr: Pastures of the Unknown' establishes and explores connections between these two playwrights for the first time and, in so doing, re-presents a tradition in which women are central rather than peripheral. In re-evaluating and repositioning the dramatic legacy of Gregory my monograph on Carr presents a new lens through which to view women in Irish theatre, past and present, radically recalibrating the status of women in Irish theatre and rebalancing the biases of previous histories and approaches. My research since 1998 is an incremental feminist historiography which has made a significant and lasting impact on the field, including my edited volume 'Women in Irish Drama' which identified over 600 plays by Irish women. My research is intellectually incremental where each output builds upon the previous one to develop and solidify a foundational status for women in Irish theatre past and present.

Keywords

; Irish Theatre, Marina Carr. Irish Playwrights. Women in Performance. Feminism; Lady Gregory; Marina Carr. Augusta Gregory

Recognition

Representations

External Examiner on PhD Dissertation, O'Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre, School of English, National University of Ireland, Galway. 12 December 2018

External Examiner on PhD thesis, School of English, National University of Ireland, Galway. 12 March 2018

External Examiner on PhD Dissertation, O'Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre, School of English, National University of Ireland, Galway. 14 June 2018

External Assessor on Accreditation Panel for the MA in Creative Writing, School of English, Dublin City University. 14 March 2018

President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research. I was elected and held the post from 2011 - 2015. ISTR is an international research organisation with members from around the world, an annual international conference and a peer-reviewed journal. I was responsible for the leadership, development and growth of the organisation and its members. I chaired all meetings, AGM, and organised the international conferences at University of Pecs, Hungary, University of London, Birkbeck. UCC, NUIG. I oversaw funding, publicity, marketing and was Editor of the peer-reviewed journal IRISH THEATRE INTERNATIONAL. 2011-2015

Artistic Director of the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Responsible for overseeing the management, programming and maintenance of the Beckett Theatre. September 2018

Head of Drama Responsible for the Leadership and Management of all aspects of Drama Department at Trinity College. Artistic Director of the Samuel Beckett Theatre; responsible for overseeing all aspects of the management of the Beckett Theatre. 01 September 2018

External Examiner of BA Cultural Studies and BA Cultural Resource Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology. 2006

External Assessor on Degree Validation Panel for: 'BA Performing Arts Degrees in Acting and Design', School of Business, Computing and Performing Arts, Institute of Technology, Sligo. 30 April 2017

External Examiner and Member of PhD Dissertation Committee, Department of Theater Arts, University of California, Irvine. 2006

External Assessor for the validation of the Drama and Performing Arts BA degree, Sligo Institute of Technology. April 2010

External Examiner for PhD Dissertation (Doctor Europas), Department of Theatre, Universidad Autonoma, Madrid. June 2007

External Assessor and member of Validation Panel for the MA in Cultural Innovation for the Arts, Dundalk Institute of Technology. 06 June 2006

Chair of Panel Discussion on the life and works of Lady Augusta Gregory, Irish Film Institute. 16 April 2018

Awards and Honours

Europe - South Korea Next Generation Leaders Program, Seoul, South Korea; Representing Ireland as a New Generation Leader in Seoul 2007

Memberships

President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) 2011 – 2015

Member of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) 2002 – Present

Member of the Irish Association of Studies in Irish Literature (IASIL) 2004 – Present

Member of the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast 2004 – Present