'The city was then drama mad!' Irish drama in the 20th century

Course Dates: 03/05/24 - 21/06/24
Time: 13:15 - 15:15
Location: Keeley Street
Reflecting on the 1916 Easter Rising, W.B. Yeats speculated: “Did that play of mine send out certain men the English shot?” The Irish political revolution is unique in being preceded by a literary revolution, most especially on the Irish stage, which hugely influenced the generation of politicians and thinkers that went on to shape modern Ireland. In this course we will trace developments in Irish drama throughout the 20th century, from the Irish Literary Revival to experiments from groups such as the Field Day Theatre Company, reading plays by writers including Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, Seán O’Casey, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, and Marina Carr.
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Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £143.00 Concession £116.00

'The city was then drama mad!' Irish drama in the 20th century
  • Course Code: HLT331
  • Dates: 03/05/24 - 21/06/24
  • Time: 13:15 - 15:15
  • Taught: Fri, Daytime
  • Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Niall Culligan

Course Code: HLT331

Fri, day, 03 May - 21 Jun '24

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

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What is the course about?

This face-to-face, eight-week-long literature course will explore developments in Irish drama throughout the twentieth century, in particular looking at how the Irish stage both influenced and responded to cultural and political events. Students will be encouraged to read set texts in advance of the class, which we will then discuss in detail together. There will be a particular focus on the social and political contexts in which the texts were written, as well as a discussion as to why the Irish theatre has occupied such a huge place in the country’s literary tradition.

What will we cover?

We will discuss a number of Irish dramatists and their primary works, in particular thinking in terms of major themes across Irish drama, from politics to religion to notions of identity. We will also discuss concepts within drama more generally. We will cover the following plays:
• W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, Cathleen Ni Houlihan
• J.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World
• Seán O'Casey, Juno and the Paycock
• Samuel Beckett, Krapp's Last Tape
• Brian Friel, Translations
• Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Have a general overview of the Irish dramatic tradition and its legacies;
Understand the political and social contexts to the plays in question;
Read and discuss drama in an informed and confident manner;
Understand various dramatic techniques and the effect they have on our experience of them.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

All who have an interest in Irish drama, history and society are welcome. Those with some experience of studying drama will find it interesting to explore a dramatic context that they may not be familiar with.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught through a combination of short lectures, group work, and class discussion.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please buy or borrow:

Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama: A Norton Critical Edition, edited by John P. Harrington.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This tutor will be teaching HLT327 Joyce, Ulysses, and Politics on 4 Nov; in term two he will also be teaching HLT184 Exploring literature: Irish Poetry in the 20th century. He is teaching HLT37 The History of the Irish Short Story: from early Joyce to Claire Keegan, starting on 23 April 2024.
For other literature courses please look under History, Culture and Writing/Literature at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Niall Culligan

Niall is a literature and Irish language teacher, originally from Co. Clare, Ireland. He has recently received a PhD in English Literature from University College London and has published and presented his research across Europe. His work primarily focuses on Irish literature, rural life, and modernism. He is an active member of Conradh na Gaeilge i Londain, which promotes and organizes events relating to the Irish language in London. He is also a contributor to the Nuacht Mhall podcast, which provides the news through Irish at a gentler pace for learners of the language. He also speaks French and (some!) Italian.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.