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Navigating Ireland's Theatre Archive

Theory, Practice, Performance


Edited By Barry Houlihan

The historiography of Irish theatre has largely been dependent on in-depth studies of the play-text as the definitive primary source. This volume explores the processes of engaging with the documented and undocumented record of Irish theatre and broadens the concept of evidential study of performance through the use of increasingly diverse sources. The archive is regarded here as a broad repository of evidence including annotated scripts, photographs, correspondence, administrative documents, recordings and other remnants of the mechanics of producing theatre. It is an invaluable resource for scholars and artists in interrogating Ireland’s performance history.

This collection brings together key thinkers, scholars and practitioners who engage with the archive of Irish theatre and performance in terms of its creation, management and scholarly as well as artistic interpretation. New technological advances and mass digitization allow for new interventions in this field. The essays gathered here present new critical thought and detailed case studies from archivists, theatre scholars, historians and artists, each working in different ways to uncover and reconstruct the past practice of Irish performance through new means.

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Digitally Re-envisioning Lost Theatre Spaces: Dublin’s Theatre Royal (Freya Clare Smith / Hugh Denard)


Freya Clare Smith, in collaboration with Hugh Denard

Digitally Re-envisioning Lost Theatre Spaces: Dublin’s Theatre Royal

Digital architectural modelling involves a distinctive approach to assessing and analysing both visual and textual sources for theatre history. Research being carried out as part of an EC-funded project, , is using this approach to construct, as well as to virtually populate, historically accurate three-dimensional computer models of Dublin theatres that have long since vanished.1 The project is currently focused on three theatres, the pre-1951 Abbey Theatre (1904–1951), the Queen’s Theatre (1909–1969) and the Theatre Royal (1935–1962), and aims to propose and demonstrate the value of new research agendas and methods in Irish theatre history; specifically, to focus on architecture, décor, spectatorship and scenography (agendas) by means of 3D modelling and virtual reality, combined with oral history (methods) and to articulate new questions arising out of this central concern with architecture and space. This current chapter focuses on progress to create a digital architectural model of Dublin’s Theatre Royal, located in Hawkins Street and designed by Leslie C. Norton, London (the executant architects were Scott and Goode, Dublin), which replaced two former theatre buildings on the same location, whilst also drawing attention to some comparisons with the original Abbey Theatre digital model.←79 | 80→

Theatre and Designed Space

Architecture and performance as discrete disciplines ostensibly stand in direct opposition to each other: permanency versus ephemerality; mathematically applied rules versus...

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