The Theatre of Memory Symposium launches the Abbey Theatre’s 110th anniversary year

The Theatre of Memory Symposium launches the Abbey Theatre’s 110th anniversary year

The Abbey Theatre is excited to launch its 110th anniversary year this January by bringing together some of Ireland’s leading thinkers for The Theatre of Memory Symposium. Over three days assembled writers, scholars, theatre makers, historians, academics and journalists will interrogate ideas on the role of theatre in commemorating and remembering the past.

The Theatre of Memory Symposium is a wonderful opportunity for the artistic and cultural community in Ireland to engage in critical debate about the relationship between theatre and commemoration, asking how it can reflect our past with integrity. This will be the first of three annual symposia which the national theatre will host over the next three years.

The symposium’s keynote speakers are President Michael D. Higgins, Professor Richard Kearney – The Charles Seelig Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and Professor Declan Kiberd – Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of English at Notre Dame University.

In Writing Trauma; From Memory to Fiction, Professor Kearney will explore the importance of fiction in understanding and overcoming trauma. Professor Kiberd will present what promises to be a polemical paper on Ireland’s current situation in his address Disappearing Ireland?.

Other highlights from the symposium agenda include:

- Perspectives on how site specific theatre and documentary theatre can reveal the past (Gerard Mannix Flynn, Louise Lowe and Dr. Emilie Pine)
– Viewpoints on whether the old and new can co-exist in theatre (Wayne Jordan, Stacey Gregg and Patrick Mason)
– The use of archival material in scholarship, teaching and as a research tool in making new art (Professor Patrick Lonergan, Professor Fearghal McGarry and Mairéad Delaney)
– Insights into when the imaginative process begins for a writer (Professor Frank McGuinness).
– Writer Roddy Doyle in conversation with Fintan O’Toole about the historical context of his novel A Star Called Henry.
– Writer Thomas Kilroy who will be introduced by Stephen Rea and share his personal recollection of his parents.
– News of the Day which will highlight how topical matters such as statistics, direct provision, the stock exchange and war can play a role in influencing theatre. (Abbey Theatre Director Fiach Mac Conghail)

Rehearsed readings and performances form an integral part of the overall programme and include:

- Act Without Words II by Samuel Beckett from Company SJ, directed by Sarah-Jane Scaife.
– Rehearsed reading of Fishamble’s GUARANTEED! by Colin Murphy. This is a dramatisation based on documentary sources about Ireland’s bank guarantee. Directed by Conall Morrison.
– Rehearsed reading of No Escape which was first produced by the Abbey Theatre in 2010. This piece of documentary theatre is based on the Ryan Report edited and compiled by Mary Raftery. Directed by Conor Hanratty.
– Of This Brave Time by Jimmy Murphy is an Abbey Theatre commission and is a work in progress showing of a play. It is based on Rebels: Voices from the Easter Rising by Fearghal McGarry. Directed by David Horan.
The Risen People by James Plunkett, adapted by Jimmy Fay from a version by Jim Sheridan. Directed by Jimmy Fay.

Tickets for the symposium are now sold out, but you can still follow the debate below.

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