Theatre: Othello at the Abbey, 5 May – 11 June


‘Beware, my lord, of jealousy: It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on’

Othello is a powerful man. The protector of Venice, he has won many battles. But victory comes at a cost. Despite his apparent loyalty, Iago works in the shadows to orchestrate Othello’s downfall. Just how far will these men go in the pursuit of power?

On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we are proud to present this contemporary thriller, featuring Peter Macon as Othello.

Internationally acclaimed Joe Dowling returns to the Abbey Theatre to direct this story of love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Come experience one of the greatest plays ever written.


5 May – 11 June
Previews 5 – 10 May
on the Abbey stage

Times: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Sat 2pm
Tickets: €13 – €45 / €13 – €23 Conc.

Sign Language interpreted performance: Thursday 9 June, 7.30pm
Audio-described and captioned performance: Saturday 11 June, 2pm

Book tickets at


This is part of the ‘Shakespeare Lives Across Ireland’ programme, which can be downloaded here. More #Shakespeare400 events can be found on the blog using the tag #ShaxIRL400. Follow us on Twitter at @ShakesinIreland.

Irish Renaissance Seminar, QUB: Shakespeare Lives across the Island, 7 May 2016


Shakespeare Lives across the Island:

Conversations and Celebrations

7th May 2016, Old Staff Common Room, QUB

12pm                                  Lunch (courtesy of School of English)

1pm – 2pm                         Plenary One                                   Chair: Ramona Wray (QUB)

Prof. Sheila T. Cavanagh (Emory University and Fulbright/Global Shakespeare Centre Distinguished Chair), ‘The Curiosity of Nations: Communities of Shakespeare in the Twenty-first Century’

2pm – 3:15pm                   Paper Session                                Chair: Edel Lamb (QUB)

Shakespeare on Film and in Performance

Emer McHugh (NUI Galway), ‘Irish Shakespeare on the Margins and in the Mainstream: The Case of Druid Shakespeare’

Dr Edel Semple (UC Cork), ‘Men, Women and the Nation in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth

3:15 – 3:30pm                   Coffee

3:30 – 4:30pm                   Plenary Two                                   Chair: Romano Mullin (QUB)

Dr Stephen O’Neill (Maynooth University), ‘“It is the digital, / The digital above us, govern our conditions”: Shakespeare, (Mis)Quotation and Digital Cultures’

4:30 – 5:15pm                   Roundtable: Belfast Tempest   Chair: Mark Burnett (QUB)

Belfast Tempest is a stunning adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest staged in the giant industrial cathedral that is T13. It combines 3D holographic sound, actors, dancers, a choir of Belfast voices and community groups from across the city. The roundtable features Andrea Montgomery, Director (Terra Nova), and cast member Ilana Gilovich (QUB)

5:30pm                               Reception and Launch of the British Council/QUB Exhibition, ‘Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen’, Queen’s Film Theatre

7pm                                     Dinner at French Village, Botanic Avenue (self-funding, but School of English to provide drinks to accompany dinner)

With grateful thanks to: British Council, British Shakespeare Association, School of English, School of Creative Arts, Society for Renaissance Studies


This is part of the ‘Shakespeare Lives Across Ireland’ programme, which can be downloaded here. More #Shakespeare400 events can be found on the blog using the tag #ShaxIRL400. Follow us on Twitter at @ShakesinIreland

Public lecture: “From William Shakespeare to David Cameron: A Cultural History of the Pig” at University of Ulster

“From William Shakespeare to David Cameron: A Cultural History of the Pig” by Dr Kevin De Ornellas. 

Wednesday 27 April, 2016  –  2pm to 3.30pm

University of Ulster, Coleraine Campus, Room U213.

A public lecture delivered as part of the British Council’s ‘Shakespeare Lives’ programme.


Dr De Ornellas is a known authority on Renaissance and Modern Drama and is an internationally recognised scholar of the role of animals in literature. This seminar will celebrate his recent appointment to the Management Committee of the Riverside Theatre, the glowing reviews of his book, The Horse in Early Modern England (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013), and will mark the start of his new project: a cultural history of the pig.

The session will take place almost 400 years to the day that Shakespeare was interred. This will be commemorated by the following events. There will be a brief talk by Frank Reynolds of the Ulster University Library: he will show a small sample of the rich variety of early printed books in the Library and will reflect on the impact of the Library’s ongoing “Shakespeare” exhibition. Student Michael Way will read a short piece about the perennial impact of Shakespeare on our language. And, marking the sad death of Sir Arnold Wesker this month, three students – Brendán Brennan, John Kavanagh and Megan Shaw – will read short extracts from Wesker’s irreverent, anti-Shakespeare play, Shylock. The session will be chaired by Dr Frank Ferguson. All are welcome.

For further information, contact Dr De Ornellas at UU.

Preview: Belfast Tempest, Terra Nova Drama


by Scott Russell, Queen’s University, Belfast

The Tempest, a late romance that explores  the thematic wonderings of race, love, and patriarchal control is often labelled as ambiguous. Is Prospero an overreaching imperialist, a solicitous father or a repentant representation of the Bard himself? Caliban, in particular, often personifies this  ambivalence, with dark and monstrous interactions, between himself and others, breaching the play’s domestic mode; disrupting its harmonious ending with the threat of being “pinch’d to death.” The Belfast Tempest, a brand-new adaptation by Terra Nova Productions, attempts to break down these somewhat sinister boundaries through an emphasis on local yet diverse communities. To quote Andrea Montgomery, Terra Nova’s Artistic Director, this version shall “showcase Belfast as a City moving towards a bright, creative and intercultural future – which offers so much potential and opportunity to all its citizens.” Togetherness is to be brought about through racial, gendered and cultural difference.

While speaking with several of the play’s cast members, I was given an opportunity to ask about The Tempest‘s altered gender roles. Four of its principle characters (Alonso, Gonzalo, Antonio and Stephano) are being portrayed by female actors this time around. Moninne Dargan, stressed the  timeless nature of her character (Gonzala), accentuating her characterisation in performance, rather than her gender: “The essence of the character is the same. It’s a loyal character; the character is providing a little bit of balance and tends to look a bit on the bright side. So once you find out who the character is and what their relationships are with the other characters, then just look at the point that it’s a woman and take it from there.” The positivity of Gonzala’s “charity” and “gentleness” will shine through despite the Jacobean expectation of her gender’s marginalisation, and silence, at the behest of her male counterparts.


This debunking of preconceived Renaissance norms, in the spirit of communal optimism, is further heightened through Nicola Gardner’s interpretation of Queen Alonsa. After asking Gardner about her thoughts on his gender reversal, she seemed positively elated: “I think it’s fair to say that this is a fantastic opportunity, and that Andrea Montgomery has not only produced an inter-cultural production, but she’s also given females a chance to interpret characters that have always been traditionally played by males. So being given that opportunity — the first thing I did was to get to grips with Alonso [King of Naples] as a character — to find out all about him, and then to simply make Alonso into Alonsa, a Queen. Using my imagination, I am now a Queen of quite a large region, and I have Dukes, I have children who are princes and princesses, etcetera. That hasn’t been done before, in history. I think I must be the first Queen Alonsa ever, and that certainly is something that is very special.” Gardner’s words not only indicate an empowered spirit at the thought of playing a female, high-status role, but they also signal an enhanced perspective on community. The Queen of Naples has been characterised as a figurehead, a mother and a potential jointress for Miranda’s suggestive “score of kingdoms” in the final scene.

Alonsa’s difference does not end at gender, however, as she is also played by a black British actress. In most productions, save for Caliban, who is more than readily associated with African slavery, almost all of the principal characters are conceived as white. In the interests of shattering racial stereotypes, which promote animality, distance, and fear whenever referenced in Shakespeare’s works, Terra Nova Productions has sought to place ethnic disparity at the forefront of its drama. Speaking on the matter, Gardner stated that “What we’re doing is embracing diversity, and as Stephen R. Covey said, “Diversity is looking at our differences, which makes us stronger.” And that is what I feel is happening here within this production. It’s brought together all of Northern Ireland in a fantastic way, and it’s showing Northern Ireland that the country isn’t white. It’s brown, it’s black, it’s yellow, it’s all colours. And what you’ve got here is an international society now, and this play reflects it, which is great, and it’s fantastic to be in a production that really embraces diversity.”

Despite The Tempest, as well as Shakespeare’s Othello and The Merchant of Venice, constantly drawing attention to its racial or ideological others, Terra Nova has truly reversed this concept through its non-normative casting, and its mission statement of togetherness.  While this certainly seems to empower its actors, it also alters character and text in the spirit of positivity, which will no doubt strengthen the audience’s perception of community and custom. The Tempest‘s enigmatic island has become a site for intercultural discovery.


Shows run until April 23, with matinees on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23.

Tickets available here

This is part of the ‘Shakespeare Lives Across Ireland’ programme, which can be downloaded here. More #Shakespeare400 events can be found on the blog using the tag #ShaxIRL400. Follow us on Twitter at @ShakesinIreland


Programme: Shakespeare Lives, 2016


The full programme of events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is now available for download: Shakespeare Lives Across the Island – Conversations and Celebrations 2016.

This fantastic line-up, happening all across Ireland, is in partnership with the British Council, and involves universities, museums, libraries and theatres on both sides of the border.

Here’s a preview of just some of the upcoming events:


Irish Renaissance Seminar, QUB: Shakespeare Lives across the Island

on Saturday 7th May, 12pm- 7pm, in the Old Staff Common room, QUB


“Shakespeare: Here and Elsewhere” workshop, dlr Lexicon

a workshop on Shakespeare in film and modern popular culture at dlr Lexicon, Dun Laoighaire, 14th May 


Public talks: UCD – Abbey Theatre Shakespeare Lectures 2016

11th May, 7pm, Pearse Museum:  Prof. Andrew Murphy (University of St Andrews),‘Shakespeare and Irish Radicalism: The Road to 1916’

12th May, 5pm, Abbey Theatre (Peacock):  Prof. Gordon McMullan (King’s College, London), ‘Remembering and Forgetting Shakespeare in 1916’

27th May, 4pm, Abbey Theatre (Peacock): Dr Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare’s Globe), ‘Gesture on the Shakespearean Stage’

9th June, National Library, 7pm: Prof. Margaret Kelleher (UCD) and Prof. Danielle Clarke (UCD): ‘An “Irish Mode”? The Literary Writings and Legacy of Thomas MacDonagh. A conversation, with selected readings from MacDonagh’s works, performed by the UCD Ad Astra Drama Scholars


Symposium: Shakespeare 400 Ireland, NUIM, 21-22 Oct 2016

with a keynote lecture by Professor Willy Maley (University of Glasgow) ‘”They are rising, they are rising”: Shakespeare and 1916’, and papers by Professor Mark Burnett (Queens University Belfast), Dr Jane Grogan (UCD) and Professor Patrick Lonergan (NUI Galway)


More events can be found here.


Check back for more details soon, including an exhibition on Sir Kenneth Branagh at Queen’s University Belfast, a Shakespeare Day at Trinity College Dublin, and a performance of Pericles, Prince of Tyre in association with University College, Cork.

You can also follow what’s happening on Twitter @ShakesinIreland and using the hashtag #ShaxIRL400. Get in touch and let us know what you think!

Public Lecture: “Shakespeare and Irish Radicalism: The Road to 1916”

The UCD/Abbey Theatre Shakespeare Lectures bring together practitioners, academics and audiences in an ongoing conversation about how, when and why Shakespeare matters in Ireland.

Book online at


Public lecture from Prof. Andrew Murphy (St Andrews) and Owen Roe (Dublin): “Shakespeare and Irish Radicalism: The Road to 1916”

11 May 2016 – 19:00

It has long been known that Patrick Pearse — in common with many of the other leaders of the 1916 Rising — had a great love of Shakespeare. Less well known, perhaps, is the fact that an enthusiasm for the playwright’s work was of long-standing within the Irish nationalist movement, stretching back over many decades. This talk will map out the connections between Shakespeare and Irish radicalism from the period of the United Irish movement onwards. The talk serves to complement the Shakespeare exhibition being mounted by the Pearse Museum.

Pearse Museum and St Enda’s Park was where Patrick Pearse lived and ran his innovative Irish-speaking school, Scoil Éanna, between 1910-16. Set in nearly fifty acres of beautiful parkland, the museum tells the story of Patrick Pearse and his brother William, both of whom were executed for their part in the 1916 Rising.

Professor Andrew Murphy, of the University of St Andrews, is a highly-regarded and prolific scholar of Shakespeare studies, Irish studies, cultural history and the history of the book. Among the many books and essays he has written are Shakespeare for the People: Working-class Readers, 1800-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Shakespeare and Scotland (Manchester University Press, 2005), Shakespeare in Print (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and ‘But the Irish Sea Betwixt Us’: Ireland, Colonialism and Renaissance Literature (University Press of Kentucky, 1999), and Seamus Heaney (Northcote House, 2000). He was recently awarded a fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to further his research on literacy and Irish cultural nationalism in the National Library of Ireland, and was a visiting fellow at the Long Room Hub, TCD.

***The actor Owen Roe (who played King Lear at the Abbey Theatre in 2013) will also contribute to Prof. Murphy’s talk.


For the listing of all 4 events in the UCD/AbbeyTheatre 2016 Lecture series – click here.


Part of the Shakespeare Lives Across the Island programme of events commemorating 400 years since the death of Shakespeare.

CFP deadline Fri 15 April: Tudor and Stuart Ireland

A reminder that the deadline for proposals to the Tudor and Stuart Ireland conference is this Friday, 15 April 2016.

This year the conference will feature a special panel on Shakespeare and Ireland.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 13.19.09

The 6th Annual Tudor & Stuart Ireland Interdisciplinary Conference will be held at the National University of Ireland, Galway, on 19-20 August 2016.  This year’s programme will feature plenary speakers Prof. Mary O’Dowd (Queen’s University Belfast), and Prof. Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex), as well as a special panel session ‘Shakespeare and Ireland’.

Call for Papers

Proposals for papers (20 minutes) are now welcome on any aspect of Ireland or the Irish abroad during the Tudor and Stuart periods, including:

♦ Print, propaganda, and public opinion
♦ Gender and society
♦ Poetry, literature, and song
♦ Ireland in a comparative/European context
♦ Political and economic history
♦ Material culture and the arts
♦ Religious/ecclesiastical history
♦ Writing (and rewriting) the past
♦ Public engagement, heritage, and early modern Ireland
♦ Ethnicity and identity
♦ Innovation and change
♦ Mobility, migration, and the Irish abroad

Postgraduates, postdoctoral scholars, early-career researchers, independent researchers, and scholars from the disciplines of English, Irish, archaeology, art history, theology, philosophy, music, and Irish studies are particularly welcome to submit proposals for consideration. Proposals that include an interdisciplinary element are strongly encouraged.

Abstracts of 250 words can be submitted by clicking here.

The call for papers will close on 15 April 2016

support banner TSI
The 6th Annual Tudor & Stuart Ireland Interdisciplinary Conference is generously supported by the President’s Award for Excellence in Research (awarded to Prof. Steven Ellis), NUI Galway, the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, the Discipline of History, NUI Galway and the Society for Renaissance Studies.