© 2017

Adaptation and Nation

Theatrical Contexts for Contemporary English and Irish Drama


Part of the Adaptation in Theatre and Performance book series (ATP)

About this book


This book focuses on modern theatrical adaptations that rework classic plays in new British and Irish settings. It explores these shifted national contexts and examines what they might reveal about the political and cultural climate of the new setting. In examining the modern setting alongside the country of the original text, it also reveals fascinating resonances between two different national contexts. The book discusses five British and Irish playwrights and their current adaptations, examining well-known dramatists such as Martin McDonagh, Sarah Kane and Brian Friel, while analysing some of their less-well known plays, offering a novel examination of the adaptation process. The book further provides an insightful commentary on some significant events of the twentieth century in Britain and Ireland, such as the historic Labour victory of 1945 and scandals in the Royal Family since the 1990s. This book will appeal to theatre and performance enthusiasts, as well as students and scholars of both theatre and adaptation.


national theatre national identity contemporary theatre Irish theatre British theatre cultural adaptation dramatic translation national culture political theatre allegorical theatre theatrical adapatation cinematic adaptation Brian Friel Marina Carr Sarah Kane Patrick Marber Martin McDonagh intertextuality interdisciplinarity textual hybridity

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityLoughboroughUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Catherine Rees is Lecturer in Drama at Loughborough University, UK.  She works primarily on contemporary British and Irish playwrights, and has published on Martin McDonagh, Sarah Kane and Harold Pinter.  She is especially interested in questions of nationalism, gender and political theatre.  

Bibliographic information


“This is an excellent contribution to our understanding of both adaptation and national identity in contemporary British and Irish theatre. It is clearly written, coherently argued, theoretically savvy, and full of detailed analyses of a wide range of examples. Anyone interested in the profound question of how one culture both celebrates and appropriates another will benefit from reading it.” (Aleks Sierz, author of In-Yer-Face Theatre and Rewriting the Nation)

“Catherine Rees offers a lucid and provocative exploration of how theatrical adaptations, translations and versions engage in political representations which offer a complex hybridisation of a bygone generative event and each new moment of performance. This is a salutary and vital task at a juncture when various rhetorics of nationality are subtly shifting, even as they purport to invoke and promise stability. Rees draws our attentions to the how theatrical dynamics are importantly unfixed and unfixing, a dance of signs which expresses a deeper cultural vitality than what may seem most obviously on offer.” (David Ian Rabey, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, Aberystwyth University, UK)