Breaking Silences: Women, Citizenship and Theatre In Northern Ireland




Silence, affect, gender, democracy, citizenship, violence


This essay seeks to weave together an analysis of women’s citizenship and its dependency on certain silences, and the exploration of this tension in two recent productions by Belfast- based Kabosh Theatre Company. Kabosh, and company Artistic Director Paula McFetridge, stage work that examines the realities of the region in the post-conflict era.  In constructing the theoretical frame for the analysis, the concept of “silence” and “silencing” draws from Kristie Dotson (2015), and from work on violence such as Gayatri Spivak’s concept of “epistemic violence” and a wide range of sources on the performance of violence in theatre. Chantal Mouffe’s concept of agonistic democracy shapes the discussion of the Northern Irish state, and Wendy Brown and Joane Butler are the key scholars for the consideration of citizenship and nation.   

Author Biography

  • Lisa Fitzpatrick, University of Ulster

    Lisa Fitzpatrick is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Ulster University in Derry, where she teaches critical theory and Irish theatre, and supervises doctoral research in staging violence, and post-conflict theatre.  She is the author of Rape on the Contemporary Stage (2018), and her recent edited books include The Theatre of Deirdre Kinahan (with Maria Kurdi; Lang, 2022) and Plays by Women in Ireland 1926-1933: Feminist Theatres of Freedom and Resistance (with Shonagh Hill; Methuen, 2022). Her current work on gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict societies includes a collaboration with Kabosh Theatre Company, Belfast. She is co-convenor of the Feminist Working Group at the International Federation for Theatre Research, and associate editor of Theatre Research International.


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How to Cite

Fitzpatrick, L. (2023). Breaking Silences: Women, Citizenship and Theatre In Northern Ireland. ABEI Journal, 25(2), 87-100.