Annabel Barry is an undergraduate student concentrating in English. She studies set design through the Princeton Program in Theater and works as a political research assistant at the Bobst Center for Peace and Justice.
This paper examines the role of performance in the construction of cultural nationalism in pre-Revolution Ireland. In the history of the Abbey Theatre, formerly the National Theatre, this paper locates the materialization of Irish demands for self-determination, both on the stage and, ultimately, on the street. The Irish literary community that staged nationalist plays in the years preceding the Irish revolution claimed as its own many of the men and women who went on to stage performative acts of violent rebellion against the British empire, including the 1916 Easter Rising. I investigate not only theatre as a site of argument regarding self-determination, but also nationalist terrorism as itself an act of theatre. I interrogate nationalist theatre and theatrical nationalism for their relationships to the unique Catholic cultural nationalism that predominated in twentieth century Ireland.