Richard Huddleson: On the Edge (Again?): Irish-Language Theatre in Covidian Times

Irish-language theatre is not well known outside of Ireland and Scotland, and even then, after centuries of repression and attrition, it is only accessible to a small number of people. There can be no doubt that Covid-19 poses a variety of threats to theatre, regardless of the language in which it is performed, and yet Irish-language theatre seems well positioned to take advantage of the situation and gain access to new audiences in the wake of the virus.

In this paper, I will reflect on the new body of work of Irish-language theatre ‘performed under Lockdown’ that has emerged of late and how this work responds to, interacts with, and challenges the wider body of Irish-language theatre. I will also disclose audience trends at different levels and how new potential audiences for Irish-language theatre are emerging. Finally, reflecting on major socio-political changes in contemporary Ireland, I will highlight the issues that Irish-language theatre, produced both now and in pre-Covidian times, seems unable to address.

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