Articulating Dissent: Teresa Deevy’s participation in creative networks of resistance (1940-1960)

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When the Abbey rejected Teresa Deevy’s Wife to James Whelan in 1941, leaving her with the distinct impression that the theatre had ‘no use’ for her plays (105) she was disadvantaged but not bereft of alternatives. Deevy’s name had become synonymous with the Abbey during the 1930s and the theatre, in its stated mission to critique Irish life, was the obvious theatre to produce her work. When the Abbey closed its doors to her, Deevy turned to a diverse group of literary and theatre friends and colleagues in Dublin in a bid to develop and produce her work differently. The components and personalities within Deevy’s milieu included publishers Blanaid Salkeld, David Marcus and Terence Smith, the independent theatre producer Toto Banard Cogley and writing groups such as Irish P.E.N. and the Dublin-based Women’s Writers Group.

Interpreting archival material of unpublished correspondence and dramatic scripts within the social, cultural and political context of the 1940s and 1950s, the paper situated Deevy within an ecosystem of Irish writers, theatre producers and publishers who challenged prevailing orthodoxies in creative tension with other theatre producers, such as the Abbey, at that time. Using Mouffe’s argument that art can make ‘visible what the dominant consensus tends to obscure’ (93) by creating ‘networks of resistance’ (95) which Aston interprets as ‘sites of oppositional and affirmative activity, each linked into articulating dissent’ (16), the paper asked how the ecosystem in which Deevy worked, during the 1940s and 1950s, impacted upon her creative output. The research constituted an original contribution to existing research undertaken on how relationships between creative artists and literary publishers developed in Ireland at this time and further constitutes an original contribution to the study of Deevy’s work.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021
EventTheatre Ecologies: Environment, Sustainability and Politics, : International Federation for Theatre Research - Online
Duration: 12 Jul 202116 Jul 2021


ConferenceTheatre Ecologies: Environment, Sustainability and Politics,


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