Drama for Children in the Irish Free State: Sinéad De Valera’s Plays for Schoolchildren
This chapter considers the role of drama in education in the Irish Free State, focusing on the school plays of Sinéad De Valera. The chapter first contextualises De Valera’s plays in terms of their relationship with various modes of performance available to children in the 1930s, as well as in terms of the ideologically driven priorities of contemporary educational reforms. It then goes on to consider the creative and dramatic potential of the plays themselves, focusing on those which adapt European stories to an Irish context. Harvey concludes that De Valera’s plays are more than merely vehicles for nationalist indoctrination; they also reveal a sophisticated appreciation for the potential of drama both as an educational tool and as a means of creative expression for young people.