Theatre & Performance Research: Covid-19

Despite our restricted mobility and the enormous challenges we have faced since the onset of Covid-19 in March of this year, the power of our performance culture has permeated our world across the web, on the airwaves, and in inventive and out of the ordinary public and private spaces. Our theatres, cinemas, and sports arenas may have been closed but we’ve had opera singing from balconies, home-made theatre staged in back gardens, free access to theatre archives; new plays on YouTube and Vimeo; meetings and events on Zoom, Teams, and other sites; socially distant gatherings; and public protests – some with masks and social distancing and some, controversially, without. Not all interactions were physical, but many were vital. They allowed us to: maintain, and make new, connections; represent our experiences; continue to play with and for each other; and to contribute collectively to securing a more equitable and sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. As Kelly, O’Gorman and Phillips point out in their 2020 article ‘Performing Ireland’, we ‘have learned to adapt, we have learned to see ourselves on screen, we have learned of the values and pitfalls of technology, and we have learned much about pervasive inequality; but most of all, we have learned the importance of “being in touch”’ (see forthcoming publications below). Critics, artists, arts organisations and members of the research community on theatre and performance in Ireland and elsewhere have been sharing their views and experiences during this hugely significant time in our history and we take pleasure in listing some of these below. 

If you have, or know of, related publications we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please forward any suggestions to our communications team at:

Arts Council, Covid-19 arts jobs crisis requires co-ordinated plan, 12 October 2020,

Bucs, Hillary Haft, et al. ‘Teaching Acting in the Face of COVID-19: Designing Instruction for Variable Acting Studios.’ Theatre Topics, vol. 30 no. 3, 2020, p. E-7-E-13. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/tt.2020.0047.

Byrne, Ursula and Teevan, David, ‘The show must go online: Irish festivals respond to Covid-19’, Irish Times, 16 May 2020.

Cziboly & Adam Bethlenfalvy, ‘Response to Covid-19 Zooming in on online process drama’ Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 25, 2020 – Issue 4, 9 Sept 2020

Coyle, Jayne, ‘Theatre vs Covid-19: How NI arts worked with BBC so show goes on’, Irish Times, 23 June 2020.

Deboeck, L., ‘Close Encounters Of An Intimate Kind: Gender And Performance During Covid-19’ Gender Forum, (76) 2020. Pp. 35-45,65.

Editors, TDR. ‘Forum: After COVID-19, What?’ TDR: The Drama Review, vol. 64 no. 3, 2020, p. 191-224. Project

Elchuk, Tanya. ‘Teaching Acting Online: Ten Tips Toward Creating a Strong Container’ Theatre Topics, vol. 30 no. 3, 2020, p. E-1-E-6. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/tt.2020.0046.

Finneran, Michael, ‘Keep making art that counts’

Gallagher, Kathleen,  Balt, Christine,  Cardwell, Nancy, Chrlebois, Brook, ‘Response to Covid-19 – losing and finding one another in drama: personal geographies, digital spaces and new intimacies’, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 25, 2020 – Issue 4, 9 Sept 2020.

Gillespie, Benjamin, et al. ‘Global Voices in the Time of Coronavirus’  PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, vol. 42 no. 3, 2020, p. 3-27. Project MUSE

Murphy, Ciara, ‘Why are audiences seeking out live collective events online?’ RTÉ Brainstorm. 6thApril, 2020.

National Campaign for the Arts and selected artists, ‘How do we save the arts after Covid-19 cripples sector?’, Irish Examiner, 2 August, 2020.

National Campaign for the arts, ‘A Critical Juncture: The Arts in Crisis’: Pre-Budget Submission 2020’, 14 September, 2020.

O’Toole, Fintan, ‘Covid-19 pandemic might be good for the arts – eventually’, Irish Times, 26 September, 2020.

Rushton, C.H., Doerries, B., Greene, J. And Geller, G., ‘Dramatic Interventions In The Tragedy Of The Covid-19 Pandemic’ The Lancet, 396 2020(10247), Pp. 305-306.

Savitch-Lew, Abigail, et al. ‘Art in the Time of Coronavirus: NYC’s Small Arts Organizations Fighting for Survival Center for an Urban Future, 2020, 

Wilsdon, Catherine, ‘The Arts in Ireland: The Massive Impact of Covid-19’, 29 April 2020.


Kelly, Marie, O’Gorman, Siobhán and Phillips, Áine eds. Scene: Performance and Ireland, (Intellect Journals, Volume 8, 2020).

Jacobs, Rachael and Finneran, Michael with Quintanilla D’Acosta Tere eds. Dancing towards the light in the dark: COVID-19 changes and reflections on normal from Australia, Ireland and Mexico, (Arts Education Policy Review, 2020)