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The Irish and the London Stage: Identity, Culture, and Politics, 1680-1830

Friday, 17 February 2017, 9 – 10pm

The Irish and the London Stage: Identity, Culture, and Politics, 1680-1830

The Irish contribution to the writing, performance, and staging of theatre in London over the eighteenth century was significant. Playwrights such as Farquhar, Goldsmith, and Sheridan have elicited much discussion although it is fair to observe that their nationality has often been elided, their work subsumed into critical accounts of English comedy. More recently, less well known playwrights have begun to receive critical attention: as eighteenth-century theatre studies engages more with ‘Four Nations’ approaches, celebrity studies, censorship, and political theatre, playwrights such as John O’Keeffe, Charles Macklin, Dennis O’Bryen, and Richard Lalor Shiel have come more into focus. Important female dramatists such as Mary Davys and Frances Sheridan are waiting in the wings for similar treatment.
This conference will consider how recent approaches to eighteenth-century literary studies, as well as theoretical approaches to diaspora studies, might be applied to the case of the London Irish theatrical migrant. It will interrogate the constitutive and instrumentalist function of Irish identity for individuals as well as for social and professional networks. Many of the people listed above considered themselves British as well as Irish (and perhaps for many, more the former than the latter). How did Irish identity inform, advance or impede their professional ambition and direction, politics, and social standing? How well did Irish identity in London withstand political stress points such as the 1720 Declaratory Act, the ’45, the Seven Years’ War, the French Revolution, the 1798 Rebellion, Union, and Catholic Emancipation?
Confirmed speakers: Helen Burke (Florida State University); Felicity Nussbaum (UCLA); Michael Burden (Oxford); Sarah Burdett (York); Norma Clarke (Kingston); Claire Connolly (University College Cork); Jim Davis (Warwick); John Greene (Louisiana); Berta Joncus (Goldsmith's); Oskar Cox Jensen (King's); Raphael Ingelbein (Leuven); Robert Jones (Leeds); Miranda Kiek (King's); Joe Lines (Queen's, Belfast); Georgina Lock (Nottingham Trent); Declan McCormack (York); Bridget Orr (Vanderbilt); Peter Sutton (St Andrew's); Colleen Taylor (Boston College); David Worrall (Nottingham Trent/Roehampton)
Performance: The conference will include a performance of Charles Macklin's Love à la Mode (1759) at Smock Alley Theatre.
"No harm in a little mirth."
In this comedy of manners, double-entendres and double-crossings, an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a dandy, compete for the hand of a rich bachelorette: but is she all she appears? Love à la Mode After Macklin, is a farce in two acts: some lies: sword-fights: slapstick, and assorted song-and-dance routines. A time capsule to Smock Alley’s eighteenth-century past, by KNAVES, a band of players bent on bamboozling your present.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Campus information, Careers, Children’s activities, Classes, Conferences, Courses, Exhibits, External sport events, Key dates, Lectures and Seminars, Library, Public, Science Gallery, Special events, Student events, Trinity Sport events, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public

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