Colm Tóibín: Irish Literature for the 21st Century

Black Box Theater
FEB 18/2016

Colm Tóibín: Irish Literature for the 21st Century
FEB 18 following 7:30pm performance of The Testament of Mary

Kyna Hamill, PhD, Boston University


  • Ronan Noone, Playwright
  • Carmel O’Reilly, Director
  • Megan Sullivan, PhD, Boston University Institute for the Study of Irish Culture

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Kyna Hamill received her PhD in Theatre History from Tufts University. She is currently the Assistant Director of the CAS Core Curriculum and also teaches dramatic literature in BU’s School of Theatre. She specializes in the iconography of the Commedia dell’arte, theatre and war, and theatre semiotics. She has published articles in Print Quarterly, Theatre Symposium and The Performance of Violence in Contemporary Ireland. She also edited They Fight: Classical to Contemporary Stage Fight Scenes, a collection of stage combat scenes, with special attention paid to diverse weaponry and scenes for women. Her current research project examines the legacy of the Baroque print artist, Jacques Callot on art, literature and theatre.

IMG_1988 copyRonan Noone’s The Second Girl is the winner of the Inaugural Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Excellence in Playwriting Award. Additional plays include: The Atheist, Brendan, Scenes from an Execution, (The Beile Trilogy) The Lepers of Beile Baiste, The Blowin of Baile Gall, The Gigolo of Baile Breag, The Compass Rose, Little Black Dress, and A Small Death. The themes that run through Ronan’s work are immigration, dispossession, issues of social conscience, and the ability of a character to survive difficult and fascinating circumstances. He believes in re-inventing story through language, form and format that best illustrates its narrative trajectory for the stage.  His play The Atheist played at the Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. It was also co-produced by The Culture Project and Ted Mann’s Circle in the Square productions in New York, and received both Drama Desk and Drama League Acting nominations. Other recent international productions have taken place in the UK (London and Edinburgh), Spain, Canada, the Philippines, and Ireland.  His full-length and one-act plays are published by Samuel French, Smith and Kraus, Baker Plays, and Dramatists Play Service.  Awards include: Jeff recommendations in Chicago; Ovation Recommendations in Los Angeles; Critics Award in Austin, Texas; American Critics Steinberg New Play Award nomination; nomination for best play at 1st Irish Festival New York; 3 Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards for Best New Play; the Boston Theatre Critics Association’s Elliot Norton Outstanding Script Award; a Kennedy Center National Playwriting Award; and a 2014 Edgerton New American Play Award. His essay on theatre, “Being Afraid to Breathe,” is published by the Princeton University Library Chronicle LXVIII, and his plays have been featured in books on Irish Studies, such as Anail an Bheil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture and Sinead Moynihan’s Other Peoples Diasporas. He has attended the Sundance Theatre Workshop and developed work at New York Stage and Film, The Orchard Project, The Lark Theatre and Theresa Rebeck’s Vermont Writer’s Retreat, American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, and  The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida. He is Artistic Associate at the Vineyard Playhouse on Martha’s Vineyard. Noone has also developed work for television with Pretty Matches Productions and the reality TV-based production company High Noon Entertainment. His 2014 Live Action Short The Accident (based on his short play I Glue You)  has played the Boston International Film Festival and the Montclair Film Festival. After studying Politics and Mathematics at University in Galway (NUIG), Ireland, Ronan began his writing career with a postgraduate diploma in journalism. He wrote for various newspapers in Ireland with a small stint in Prague. After an editor told him his writing was de-constructive and did not meet the formula for a newspaper, he wrote his first play and immigrated to America. He submitted that play to Boston Playwrights Theatre and studied with Noble Laureate Derek Walcott. There he understood that deconstruction wasn’t a bad word and that for a play to develop you needed the support, belief, and resources of a theatre community behind you.

16b2ae0Carmel O’Reilly has directed numerous productions in the New England area over the past twenty-five years with many theatre companies, including the A.R.T, New Rep, Speakeasy Stage, Gloucester Stage, WHAT, Lyric Stage and others.  She is founder and Artistic Director of the Súgán Theatre Company, for which she directed many Elliot Norton award-winning productions.  She has directed at several area colleges including Harvard, Emerson, and Boston College, where she was the Monan Visiting Professor in Theatre Arts in 2010.  Most recently she directed two new plays by Bernard McMullan for Tir Na Theatre Company: Jimmy Titanic, which has toured to NYC, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, Dublin, Belfast and other venues, and the hit Christmas comedy, The Return of the Winemaker.

11/24/08 11:25:41 AM -- Boston, Massachusetts CGS Prof. Megan Sullivan Photo by Vernon Doucette for Boston University Photography © 2008 Boston University all rights reservedMegan Sullivan Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning at Boston University, Megan Sullivan also teaches courses in Irish Studies. She is the author of one book, Women in Northern Ireland: Cultural Studies and Material Conditions; one collection of interviews, Irish Women and Cinema: 1980-1990; and many articles and essays in Irish Studies. In March of 2016 her co-edited volume Parental Incarceration: Personal Accounts and Developmental Impact will be published by Routledge Press.