‘Dancing on the Edge’: A Consideration of Jim Nolan’s plays Sky Road, Brighton, and Dreamland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper examineed the contribution of Jim Nolan’s dramatic work to the narrative of contemporary Irish theatre. Strongly associated with Waterford city in Ireland’s south east Nolan’s drama emanates from the edge of centre geographically and from the left of centre politically. Critical of contemporary neo-liberalism Nolan’s work considers the value of the arts and of imaginative freedom and explores the boundaries and bonds of community. At crucial moments of communication and expression, his characters eschew speech for dance, star-gazing and dreaming. This paper proposesd that these non-verbal moments are acts of resistance to the homogenizing force of popular culture and politics and that the geographical and political orientation of his plays explore and assert the value of narratives and personalities that remain off-centre.

The paper focused on the plays Sky Road (2007), Brighton (2010) and Dreamland (2014); plays of quiet characters and communities including the elderly, the disabled and the disenfranchised. These plays have not received scholarly attention to date and this paper breaks this silence. Using dramatic texts, critical literature on Irish theatre and social and arts policy documentation as research material the paper examined how these plays represent the shifting cultural, political and social concerns of contemporary Ireland. The paper contended that those who speak from the margins provide valuable perspectives on narrational discourse emanating from centres of government or population
Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2014
EventSilence....and Irish Writing: Pazmany Irish Studies Conference - Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 25 Jun 201428 Jun 2014


ConferenceSilence....and Irish Writing
Internet address


  • Jim Nolan
  • Waterford
  • Red Kettle Theatre Company
  • Irish theatre


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