Dr M Sihra
School of Languages, Literatures & Arts (Drama Studies)
Queen's University Belfast
Short Biography and Irish Studies research interests
Melissa Sihra is a Lecturer in Drama Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. In 2002 she completed a PhD on Irish Theatre, which focused on the work of contemporary dramatist Marina Carr, at the School of Drama, Trinity College Dublin. Melissa’s dissertation identifies the ways in which Carr renegotiates conventional representations of Irish landscape, dialect and female subjectivity through imaginative reconfigurations of corporeality, theatrical space and form and the ways in which Carr’s work challenges limiting ideologies of womanhood in Irish social, historical and cultural contexts. She is currently writing a monograph on the theatre of Marina Carr which will be published by Syracuse University Press.
She has Lectured in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, (2000-2) and delivered lectures on Irish Theatre at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Pittsburgh, Villanova University, Philadelphia, University College Dublin, the Synge Summer School, The Abbey Theatre, Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Theatrical Diaspora at the Royal Irish Academy. She is a member of the International Association of Studies in Irish Literature (IASIL) and the Nordic Irish Studies Network (NISN). She was a Script Reader at the Abbey Theatre (1998-2003) and has worked as a dramaturgical consultant at the Abbey Theatre (‘Ariel’ world premiere 2002). She is delivering a talk on Contemporary Irish theatre at the University of Glasgow in December 2005.
As a professional dramaturg, Melissa has consulted on a number of productions of Irish theatre in the United States. Most notably Melissa has worked with Academy Award winner Holly Hunter in Carr’s ‘By the Bog of Cats…’ for San Jose Repertory Theatre (2001). She has also worked on productions of G.B. Shaw (‘John Bull’s Other Island’), Brian Friel (‘Making History’), and Carr (‘By the Bog of Cats…’) with Irish Repertory of Chicago (2001-2) and Carr (‘Portia Coughlan’) with the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre (2001).
Melissa is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and is a member of the Lyric’s programming committee. She has a forthcoming publication, 'Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation' (London: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming December 2006).
1. 2005, ‘Greek Myth, Irish Tragedy: Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats’, Wilmer, Steve & Dillon, John, (eds.), ‘Rebel Women: Staging Ancient Greek Drama Today’, Methuen.
2. 2005, ‘Marina Carr in the US: Perception, Conflict and Culture’, Grene, Nicholas, & Morash, Christopher, (eds.), ‘Irish Theatre on Tour’, Carysfort Press.
3. 2004, ‘Playing the Body: Marina Carr’s Comedy of (Bad)Manners’, Weitz, Eric, (ed.), ‘The Power of Laughter: Comedy in Contemporary Irish Theatre, Carysfort Press.
4. October 2003 / 43, ‘Renegotiating Landscapes of the Female: Voices, Topographies and Corporealities of Alterity in Marina Carr’s Portia Coughlan’, Singleton, Brian, & McMullan, Anna, (eds.), ‘Performing Ireland: Australasian Journal of Drama Studies.
5. 2003, ‘Reflections Across Water: New Stages of Peforming Carr’, Leeney, Cathy, & McMullan, Anna, (eds.), The Theatre of Marina Carr: Before Rules was Made…’, Carysfort Press.