Myth and Gender in Contemporary Irish Theatre

Tom Maguire, Carole-Anne Upton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The figuration of Irish national identity in gendered terms has been ubiquitous, not leastly on the stage. The Irish Literary Revival through the Irish Literary Theatre, sought to deploy specific dramatic versions of Celtic mythology in service of its broader aims. The shadow cast by such iconographic renderings within the work of Yeats inhibited the development of alternative versions for most of the last century. Such figurations have been reconceived by contemporary theatre makers in ways which have interrogated the roles of such myths in specific narratives of national identity. This essay explores strategies to reclaim gendered myths from the Ulster cycle through contemporary staging forms, using Mary-Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy’s Women-in-Arms and Big Telly’s The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne as specific examples.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerforming Feminisms in Contemporary Ireland
EditorsLisa Fitzpatrick
Place of PublicationDublin
PublisherCarysfort Press
ISBN (Print)978-904505-1-62-4.
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Mar 2013


  • Contemporary irish Theatre
  • feminist performance
  • feminist theory


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