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Community Theatre

Community Theatre

Northern Ireland has a rich history of community theatre that interprets and reimagines local experiences, culture, and political and social issues. Women have often been the backbone of these community organisations, forming approximately 90% of participants in community drama, and in many cases, leading these projects.

The Community Theatre collection contain materials relating to a wide range of groups and organisations working in the arts in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. It comprises letters, newsletters, programmes, script excerpts, poems, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Significant materials include magazines and newsletters from the Community Arts Forum, which document the various roles that women have played in the arts sector; the newsletter of the Community Theatre Association; Ballynafeigh Community Development Association; reviews and evaluations of large-scale community productions, such as The Mourning Ring by the Ballybeen Theatre Company; and flyers for various events that sought to engage women in the arts.

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I Was There: Working-Class Women in Community Drama - ciara-mcallister-02

I Was There: Working-Class Women in Community Drama

The extraORDINARYwomen project at the Linen Hall Library has one fundamental goal: to celebrate the significance of ordinary women’s lives in Northern Ireland. As part of Ciara McAllister's PhD research, Ciara explored the Theatre and Performing Arts collections in the Linen Hall Library, looking specifically at materials relating to community arts.

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Anna Lo: an election journey

Anna Lo discusses her election journey, making change for a better future and her debut in politics. A tough campaigning journey proved to be fruitful as she made history by becoming ‘the first non-white elected politician in Northern Ireland and more astonishingly, the first China-born parliamentarian in Europe.’

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Charabanc: A Cultural Exchange in Russia

Carol Moore, a co-founder of Charabanc Theatre Company, talks about the exciting first years of the company, and what she describes as ‘a journey of female empowerment’.

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