The Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) Annual Conference was hosted by the Institute of Technology, Tralee on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd May. The ISTR facilitates research on Irish theatre in national and international contexts. It also aims to appreciate theatre on the page as well as theatre on the stage.
With 100 delegates in attendance over forty papers were presented by renowned academics from all over the world with attendees from Ireland, the UK, the US, Germany and France.
The keynote addresses were delivered by Professor Anna McMullan, Professor of Theatre, at the University of Reading and Dr Lillis O Laoire, Senior Lecturer, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Galway. A number of practical performances also formed part of the conference.
It was appropriate that IT Tralee would host the conference this year. The Institute has supported theatre and performance from undergraduate courses through to doctoral level research. Organiser of the conference, Dr. Sharon Phelan, IT Tralee said ‘this year’s conference theme focused on the stage as a site of ‘cultural tradition, transition and transformation’. In ways this theme reflects the approach to theatre and performance developments in many higher education providers, including IT Tralee. Overtime programme delivery and research in this area has grown and extended beyond traditional perspectives in courses such as folk arts, folk studies and Irish studies to a contemporary perspective in courses such as creative media, education and social studies.’
Dr. Oliver Murphy, President of IT, Tralee, opened the conference and in welcoming the delegates to Tralee spoke about the rich cultural tradition of Kerry, particularly in the field of theatre and stated ‘Here at the IT Tralee we are delighted to host this conference. The ISTR provides an excellent forum for experts in theatre to share their experiences, explore new opportunities and create fruitful networking opportunities. Events such as this inform teaching and research in the third level sector, ensuring our curriculum fully reflects developments in this field.’