AbstractThis thesis investigates queer identity in performance in Northern Ireland, focusing on its socioculturally disruptive agency. Queer theory provides a poststructuralist paradigm that unsettles any binary structures in the analysis of gender and sexuality in social, historical and cultural studies. Its disruptive analysis can also be harnessed to subvert the outwardly dysfunctional sectarian binary in Northern Irish society by critiquing the construction of identities. I explore this localised interpretation of queer and argue for a re-evaluation through a ‘queer reading’ (or ‘queering’) of recent Northern Irish cultural/theatrical history, contending that this geographically particular reading of queerness can place it as a desegregated identity exemplar. The practice portion of the thesis then stages this desegregating queer agency and explores its potentials for cultural comment and critical reordering.
I approach the research as a scholar and a theatre practitioner, with the result that the thesis is undertaken and organised as a 60% written dissertation along with 40% creative practice. Firstly the thesis explores the somewhat obfuscated history of gay characters in Northern Irish drama (especially in non-canonical, alternative works) and their attendant queerness or disordering (or reordering) potentials in relation to the ethnosectarian conflict and also contemporary post-conflict Northern Ireland. I will pay particular attention to cross-dressed characters in performance as both popular and subversively queer parodies that often collapse sectarian binaries. I then theorise how this queer agency can work dramaturgically through my practice and how its transformative potentiality can be harnessed through such cultural interventions. I will conclude that the localised Northern Irish lens establishes a model of situating and
understanding queer that, through engaging with the discourse around conflict resolution, provides a useful alternative identity marker beyond any binaries.
|Date of Award||Jul 2016|
|Supervisor||Anna McMullan (Supervisor), Alyson Campbell (Supervisor), Mark Phelan (Supervisor) & Franziska Schroeder (Supervisor)|