Our Research

Mark Phelan

Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 5107

For media contact email
or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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Research Interests

My teaching and research is primarily concerned with the role theatre and performance 'plays' in ongoing processes of conflict transformation in the North of Ireland. I consider this work in a comparative context in relation to the extraordinary efflorescence of postconflict drama produced in South Africa, the former Yugoslavia, and Latin America over the past two decades that deals with issues of truth, remembrance, reconciliation, trauma, transitional justice, forgiveness and forgetting. 

 My research examines how disparate artists, activists, theatre companies, community groups, charities, and other organisations involved in conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, have collectively produced a diffuse repertoire of work through which  playwrights and practitioners have developed effective approaches for dealing with the legacies of political violence. This uncatalogued (and largely unpublished) body of work mobilises theatre as a public forum for civic debate, and has helped to assimilate traumatic history into public memory; to engage (and stage) the politics and processes of reconciliation; and to explore possible models through which a postconflict society may deal with the past.

I also maintain wide-ranging research interests in other areas and have written on post-conflict photography in the North; nineteenth-century faction fighting; bare knuckle boxing; radio drama; queer historiography; theatre criticism; Roger Casement; Stewart Parker, Brian Friel and The Northern Revival. Connecting these otherwise disparate topics is my shared interest in the roles ‘played’ by theatre and performance in relation to politics, culture and the public sphere.

 PHD Supervision

I have successfully supervised several doctoral projects: on post-conflict theatre and performance in Northern Ireland and Sarajevo; postconflict queer theatre & performance in Northern Ireland; the role of song twentieth century Irish theatre; Translation and Irish Theatre, with other doctoral projects focusing on the work of Stewart Parker, Brian Friel, Owen McCafferty, Marina Carr and John B. Keane. I would welcome prospective PhD students interested in working in any of these areas.

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Frequent Journals

  • Theatre Research International

    ISSNs: 0307-8833

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1474-0672

    Cambridge University Press

    Scopus rating (2015): SJR 0.354 SNIP 1.034


  • Kritika Kultura

    ISSNs: 1656-152X

    Ateneo de Manila University

    Scopus rating (2015): SJR 0.149 SNIP 0.353


  • Ilha Do Desterro

    ISSNs: 0101-4846

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 2175-8026

    Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

    Scopus rating (2015): SJR 0.104 SNIP 0.026


  • Theatre Journal

    ISSNs: 0192-2882

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1086-332X

    Johns Hopkins University Press

    Scopus rating (2015): SJR 0.139 SNIP 0.405


  • Modern Drama

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1712-5286


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