Fulbright Speaker Series: "The Women of the Abbey: Margaret O'Leary"


Location: Room 1050, Nanovic Hall (View on map )

Abstract: The Abbey Theatre has a long history of controversy surrounding the depiction of Irish womanhood on the national stage. Most recently this argument extended from a preoccupation with misrepresentation into a sustained debate around underrepresentation. A debate immediately followed by the demand for transformation through the rise of the ‘Waking the Feminists’ movement in 2015. This talk contributes to the current conversation by resisting the patriarchal narrative surrounding the Abbey. It does so by considering Margaret O’Leary’s The Woman (1929) as part of a larger historiography which foregrounds the experiences of Irish women in plays submitted to the Abbey by women playwrights, prior to 1950.  Ireland in the 1920s and 30s saw the erosion of women’s ability to contribute to the socio-political sphere and within this historical context figures such as O’Leary, and Waterford playwright Teresa Deevy, are revolutionaries who sought to depict the internal destruction that such oppression produces. Situating O’Leary within this environment this talk will recoup the work of women playwrights who challenged the contemporaneous status quo. 

Speaker: Dayna Killian is a doctoral candidate for the ‘Performing Women’ project at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. She is currently affiliated with the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies as a Fulbright Doctoral scholar at Notre Dame where she is exploring the works of Cork playwright Margaret O’Leary.

This talk is supported by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.

The Fulbright Speaker Series will promote research, pedagogy, and cultural exchange based on the principles of the Fulbright program.  It will provide a platform for Fulbrighters across the world to visit the Notre Dame campus and share their experience, research, and learning with the Notre Dame community.  Moreover, the series will strongly encourage Fulbrighters at the University of Notre Dame to participate in academic engagement with the Notre Dame community.