• Room 02.004 - 19 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Irish Theatre; Theatre and conflict; Post-conflict theatre and performance in Northern Ireland; Greek Tragedy and Performance; Theatre History/Historiography


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

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 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 This uncatalogued (and largely unpublished) body of work mobilises theatre as a public forum for civic debate, and has helped to assimilate traumatic history into public memory; to engage (and stage)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:

- Irish Theatre
- Postconflict Theatre & Performance
- Theatre and Memory Studies
- Theatre history/historiography
- The Politics/Performance/Adaptation of ancient Greek Tragedy
- Theatre and Conflict

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Mark Phelan is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 6 Similar Profiles

Research Output

A Day in the Life of... introduction to edited collection "Owen McCafferty: Plays"

Phelan, M., Oct 2013, Faber and Faber. London

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Not So Innocent Landscapes: Remembrance, Representation and the Disappeared’

Phelan, M., Jun 2011, Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict. Anderson, P. & Menon, J. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 285-316 32 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

“Authentic Reproductions”: Staging the “Wild West” in Modern Irish Drama

Phelan, M., May 2009, In : Theatre Journal. 61, 2, p. 235-248 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Beyond the Pale: Neglected Northern Irish Women Playwrights Alice Milligan, Helen Wadell, Patricia O'Connor

    Phelan, M., Mar 2007, Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation. Sihra, M. (ed.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 109-129 21 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)


    • 1 Participation in Festival/Exhibition

    Belfast International Arts Festival

    Mark Phelan (Participant)

    Apr 2018Oct 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in Festival/Exhibition

    Press / Media

    Channel 4 Britain's Most Historic Towns: Victorian Belfast. 12th May 2018

    Mark Phelan


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Commissioned Feature article to commemorate the death of Brian Friel

    Mark Phelan


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Discussion on the state of play of Northern Irish Theatre on BBC Arts Show

    Mark Phelan


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Field Day Return

    Mark Phelan


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities


    Queer Identity in Performance in Northern Ireland

    Author: Rea, N., Jul 2016

    Supervisor: McMullan, A. (Supervisor), Campbell, A. (Supervisor), Phelan, M. (Supervisor) & Schroeder, F. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy