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Dr. Melissa Sihra

Associate Professor (Drama)

Melissa Sihra is Associate Professor in Drama Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Her monograph 'Marina Carr: Pastures of the Unknown' was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. She was Head of Department from 2019-21. She is Co-Series Editor, with Elaine Aston, of the Cambridge University Press 'Women Theatre Makers' Elements Series. She is Editor of 'Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation' (Palgrave Macmillan). She was President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) from 2011-2015. She researches and teaches in the field of Feminism, gender, Women in Performance, Playwriting, Dramaturgy and Irish Theatre with special interest in the work of Marina Carr and Lady Augusta Gregory. She has been Chair of and regular speaker at the annual Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering at Gregory's Galway home of Coole Park and has presented workshops on the life and works of Augusta Gregory at The Abbey Theatre. She has contributes to The Irish Times and The Irish Independent on women in Irish theatre. Melissa is a professional Dramaturg and has worked with Holly Hunter on Carr's BY THE BOG OF CATS... at San Jose Repertory Theatre in 2001. She was Dramaturg for the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre Company's production of Carr's PORTIA COUGHLAN (2001) and the Chicago Irish Repertory's production of BY THE BOG OF CATS...(2001) and Brian Friel's MAKING HISTORY (2002) and G.B. Shaw's JOHN BULL'S OTHER ISLAND (2002) and facilitated a South Korean production of Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT at the Samuel Beckett Theatre (2008).She was a consultant for the Abbey Theatre world premiere of Carr's ARIEL (2002), and a Script Reader at the Abbey Theatre (1998-2002). She was invited by Professor Jill Dolan to lecture on Irish Theatre at Princeton University (Autumn 2011), where she also participated in a symposium at the McCarter Theatre, Princeton, in conjunction with the world-premiere of Marina Carr's play PHAEDRA BACKWARDS, directed by Emily Mann. She is a regular speaker at the annual Synge Summer School, and has delivered Keynote Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Irvine, the University of Pittsburgh, Villanova University, the University of Glasgow and Helsinki University. In 2007 she was chosen to represent Ireland as part of the Next Generation Leaders Program in South Korea, co-funded by South Korean Government and the National Strategy Institute. Prior to working at Trinity College, she was Lecturer in Drama at Queen's University Belfast (2002-2006)and part-time Lecturer in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (2000-2002). She was a member of the judging panel of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1997.
     Irish Theatre, Marina Carr. Irish Playwrights. Women in Performance. Feminism   Lady Gregory   Marina Carr. Augusta Gregory
Details Date
External Examiner on PhD Dissertation, O'Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre, School of English, National University of Ireland, Galway. 12 December 2018
External Examiner on PhD thesis, School of English, National University of Ireland, Galway. 12 March 2018
External Examiner on PhD Dissertation, O'Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre, School of English, National University of Ireland, Galway. 14 June 2018
External Assessor on Accreditation Panel for the MA in Creative Writing, School of English, Dublin City University. 14 March 2018
President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research. I was elected and held the post from 2011 - 2015. ISTR is an international research organisation with members from around the world, an annual international conference and a peer-reviewed journal. I was responsible for the leadership, development and growth of the organisation and its members. I chaired all meetings, AGM, and organised the international conferences at University of Pecs, Hungary, University of London, Birkbeck. UCC, NUIG. I oversaw funding, publicity, marketing and was Editor of the peer-reviewed journal IRISH THEATRE INTERNATIONAL. 2011-2015
Artistic Director of the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Responsible for overseeing the management, programming and maintenance of the Beckett Theatre. September 2018
Head of Drama Responsible for the Leadership and Management of all aspects of Drama Department at Trinity College. Artistic Director of the Samuel Beckett Theatre; responsible for overseeing all aspects of the management of the Beckett Theatre. 01 September 2018
External Examiner of BA Cultural Studies and BA Cultural Resource Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology. 2006
External Assessor on Degree Validation Panel for: 'BA Performing Arts Degrees in Acting and Design', School of Business, Computing and Performing Arts, Institute of Technology, Sligo. 30 April 2017
External Examiner and Member of PhD Dissertation Committee, Department of Theater Arts, University of California, Irvine. 2006
External Assessor for the validation of the Drama and Performing Arts BA degree, Sligo Institute of Technology. April 2010
External Examiner for PhD Dissertation (Doctor Europas), Department of Theatre, Universidad Autonoma, Madrid. June 2007
External Assessor and member of Validation Panel for the MA in Cultural Innovation for the Arts, Dundalk Institute of Technology. 06 June 2006
Chair of Panel Discussion on the life and works of Lady Augusta Gregory, Irish Film Institute. 16 April 2018
Details Date From Date To
President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) 2011 2015
Member of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) 2002 Present
Member of the Irish Association of Studies in Irish Literature (IASIL) 2004 Present
Member of the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast 2004 Present
Melissa Sihra, Marina Carr: Pastures of the Unknown, UK, Palgrave Macmillan , 2018, 1 - 270pp, Book, PUBLISHED
Circuitous Pathways: Marina Carr's Labyrinth of Feminist Form in the US World Premiere of Phaedra Backwards in, editor(s)Eamonn Jordan and Eric Weitz , The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance, UK, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp517 - 526, [Melissa Sihra], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
"Time to Possess my Soul: One Day, Lady Gregory': Foreword' in, editor(s)Burcin Erol , One Day, Lady Gregory: Irish Writers Series 7, Ankara, Turkey, Hacettepe University Press, Ankara, 2018, pp11 - 20, [Melissa Sihra], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Shadow and Substance: Women, Feminism and Irish Theatre in, editor(s)Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash , The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp545 - 558, [Melissa Sihra], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Obscene Transformations: Violence, Women and Theatre in Sarah Kane and Marina Carr in, editor(s)Maria Anita Stefanelli , Performing Gender and Violence in Contemporary Transnational Contexts, Milan, LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto, 2016, pp27 - 40, [Melissa Sihra], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Beauty Beyond The Everyday: A Critical Appraisal of Marina Carr, Readiing Ireland, 1, (4), 2016, p18 - 28, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Marina Carr in, editor(s)Maggie Gale and John Deeney , Fifty Modern and Contemporary Dramatists Routledge Key Guides, (In Press) London, Routledge, 2014, ppIn press - [Melissa], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Marie Jones in, editor(s)Maggie Gale and John Deeney , Fifty Modern and Contemporary Dramatists Routledge Key Guides, London, Routledge, 2014, [Melissa Sihra], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
12 Entries on Irish Actors, Simon Williams, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Acting, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014, [Melissa Sihra], Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, PUBLISHED
Irish Theatre International , 3, 1, (2014), 1 - 109p, Melissa Sihra, [General Editor], 2011-2015, Journal, PUBLISHED

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Melissa Sihra, 'Troublesome Women': Wise-women and Witches in the Plays of Lady Gregory and Marina Carr, Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering, Coole Park, Co. Galway, 29 September, 2018, Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, The Haunted Kitchen, Program Note, Abbey Theatre, 2018, -, Notes: [Program Note for Marina Carr's On Raftery's Hill, Abbey Theatre], Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Sound and Fury, Program Note for Look Back in Anger, Gate Theatre, 2018, -, Notes: [Program Note for John Osbourne's Look Back in Anger, Gate Theatre.], Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, The Memory of Water; Program Note for The Mai, Dublin Theatre Festival, 2018, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Keynote address: 'Towards a Matriarchal Lineage from Lady Gregory to Marina Carr', Irish Women Playwrights and Theatremakers, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, 12 June , 2017, Department of Theatre, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Keynote Address: 'One Day, Lady Gregory', One Day, Lady Gregory, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 23 November , 2017, irish Embassy, Turkey & Hacettepe University, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Theatre of Silence; Teresa Deevy Returns to Abbey, Irish Independent, 2017, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Marina Carr; Violence and Greek Theatre, Princeton University Theater Studies Series, Princeton University, 2 - 6 November , 2011, Professor Jill Dolan, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Meet the Makers: Marina Carr in Conversation with Melissa Sihra, Meet the Makers: Marina Carr in Conversation with Melissa Sihra, Abbey Theatre, 20 September, 2011, Abbey Theatre, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Melissa Sihra, Death Aria of the Soul: Program Note for Marina Carr's Woman and Scarecrow, Primecut Productions, Belfast, 2009, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Europe - South Korea Next Generation Leaders Program, Seoul, South Korea; Representing Ireland as a New Generation Leader in Seoul 2007
My research challenges the patriarchal foundations of modern and contemporary Irish drama, relocating women as central to Irish theatre history and contemporary practice. My research on playwright Marina Carr is underscored by an original feminist historiography which reconsiders the gendered nexus of Irish theatre, recalibrating the status of Lady Augusta Gregory as a foundational playwright of the Irish Literary Revival. My monograph 'Marina Carr: Pastures of the Unknown' establishes and explores connections between these two playwrights for the first time and, in so doing, re-presents a tradition in which women are central rather than peripheral. In re-evaluating and repositioning the dramatic legacy of Gregory my monograph on Carr presents a new lens through which to view women in Irish theatre, past and present, radically recalibrating the status of women in Irish theatre and rebalancing the biases of previous histories and approaches. My research since 1998 is an incremental feminist historiography which has made a significant and lasting impact on the field, including my edited volume 'Women in Irish Drama' which identified over 600 plays by Irish women. My research is intellectually incremental where each output builds upon the previous one to develop and solidify a foundational status for women in Irish theatre past and present.