WIT staff members involved in Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre

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The festival celebrates Eugene’s life and works and this year will involve the production of his greatest play, Long Day’s Journey into Night. In all, 10 plays will be presented during the Festival which will also involve a series of talks and discussions on O’Neill’s work.

The festival celebrates Eugene’s life and works and this year will involve the production of his greatest play, Long Day’s Journey into Night. In all, 10 plays will be presented during the Festival which will also involve a series of talks and discussions on O’Neill’s work.

Festival dedicated to ‘America’s Shakespeare’, an influential American Nobel Prize-winning playwright with south east of Ireland roots, will have WIT input

October 2019 will see the second Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre take place in New Ross, Co Wexford, a festival that involves partners including WIT, Wexford County Council, and the Eugene O’Neill Trust in Danville California. The festival runs from 9-13 October 2019.

WIT’s School of Humanities, one of the largest in the country, runs an Arts degree that includes English literature and Theatre Studies as study options. Eugene O'Neill's work features in the English degree at WIT.

Staff from WIT's School of Humanities have been closely involved with academic dimensions of the festival. Lecturers in English and Theatre Studies Dr Christa De Brun, Dr Una Kealy, and Dr Kate McCarthy will moderate the discussion sessions.

WIT seminar

Students of English and Theatre Studies and staff from the School of Humanities will participate in a seminar on the great American playwright, Eugene O’Neill, in WIT on Thursday. The event, part of the Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre, will be chaired by Dr Christa de Brun and features presentations from a number of international academics on the theatre of O’Neill. These include Professor Beth Wynstra, Babson College; Professor William Davies King, University of California Santa Barbara; Zander Brietzke, Eugene O’Neill Society; Professor Alexander Pettitt, University of North Texas; Professor Jeffrey Kennedy, Arizona State University.

Two discussion sessions

Dr Kate McCarthy, lecturer in Theatre Studies and English, is set to chair the first of two discussion sessions on the life and work of Eugene O’Neill held as part of the Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre in New Ross, Co. Wexford. The second session, on Friday 11 October, will be led by Dr Una Kealy, also lecturer in Theatre Studies and English at WIT.

Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece, “Long Day’s Journey into Night”, is the subject of the seminar which fwill feature contributions from a number of international academics.

The play features on the WIT Bachelor of Arts (Honours) English programme.

Wexford and Kilkenny links

Eugene O’Neill is generally credited as being the first major American dramatist and to date is the only American dramatist to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His father, James, a famous actor in his day, hailed from Rosbercon in Co Kilkenny and emigrated from New Ross during the Famine.

The festival celebrates Eugene’s life and works and this year will involve the production of his greatest play, Long Day’s Journey into Night. In all, 10 plays will be presented during the Festival which will also involve a series of talks and discussions on O’Neill’s work.

Dr Richard Hayes, currently WIT’s Vice President for Strategy, and former head of the School of Humanities is Creative Director of the festival.

Dr Hayes explains the historical significance of O’Neill. “Eugene O’Neill is America’s Shakespeare, the first great American playwright who has been hugely influential on all American theatre to date. He acknowledged during his life the tremendous influence on his of his father and, through him, of his Irish roots. It is right to celebrate his achievement in what amounts to his ‘home town’ of New Ross.”

Chance to see one of the greatest plays of the 20th century

Referring to this year’s programme, Dr Hayes said, “In 2019 we will present, in a production from San Francisco, O’Neill’s masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey into Night, arguably one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century. We will also present, as a unique event, a reading of Strange Interlude for which O’Neill won one of his four Pulitzer prizes. But these are only a few of the productions and readings taking place over the course of the festival.”

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