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Emer O'Toole, PhD

Performance Studies, School of Irish Studies

Office: S-H 1001-6 
Henry F. Hall Building,
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4094


I study Irish theatre, performance and film. My critical frameworks are Bourdieusian, performative, postcolonial and cultural materialist. My research asks questions about power, identity and culture, and is always underwritten by a commitment to social equality.

My current research projects, funded by the FRQSC and the SSHRC, explore the relationship between contemporary Irish performance and activism. 

I am deeply invested in the importance of bringing academic ideas to non-specialist readerships. My popular audience book, Girls Will Be Girls (2015), renders Judith Butler's theory of performativity accessible and, I hope, exciting to a wide demographic. I also write columns for media sources including The Guardian and The Irish Times; these often deal with feminism and Ireland.

If you are a potential graduate student and would like to work with me, I am particularly interested in supervising research on Irish film, theatre and performance that has resonance with my own, but am open to discussing work in adjacent fields.


My Ph.D (Royal Holloway, University of London, 2012) examined the ethics of intercultural theatre practice, with a particular focus on adaptations of J. M. Synge’s canonical Irish play The Playboy of the Western World. The thesis can be downloaded in full here. Articles and chapters based on my doctoral work can be found in journals including Target: International Journal of Translation Studies and The Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, as well as in the upcoming edited collections Irish Migrant Adaptations and Ethical Exchanges.

Following my PhD, I spent a year working on as a postdoctoral research assistant on the Indigeneity in the Contemporary World project, and retain a keen interest in first nations, aboriginal and indigenous art and politics.

I also hold an MPhil in Irish Theatre and Performance from Trinity College Dublin, as well as a BA in Philosophy and English Literature from the National University of Ireland, Galway. My teaching practice is accredited by the UK's Higher Education Academy.

Teaching activities


At 300 level I teach:
Irish Plays
Irish Film
Irish Performance Studies
Contemporary Irish Theatre
Intercultural Ireland
At 200 level I teach:
Introduction to Irish Studies

At 800 level I teach:
Performance Studies

I also regularly supervise independent undergraduate field studies in Ireland

Please consult Concordia's class schedule tool (here) to see what I'm teaching this year



O’Toole, Emer, Andrea Kristic Pelegri and Stuart Young, eds. Ethical Exchanges: Translation, Adaptation and Dramaturgy. Boston; Leiden: Brill, 2017
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
O'Toole, Emer. 'No Propaganda But.’ Art, Aesthetics, Activism, and THEATREclub’s Ireland Trilogy.' Contemporary Theatre Review 29.4, 2019.
Panti Bliss Still Can’t Get Hitched: Meditations on Performativity, Drag, & Gay Marriage' Sexualities 22.3 2018  ---. 'Waking the Feminists: Re-imagining the Space of the National Theatre in the Era of the Celtic Phoenix.' Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory 28.2 (2017): 134-152.
---. ‘Towards Best Intercultural Practice: A Study of Tim Supple’s Pan-Indian A 
Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, 4.3, 2011. P. 289-302

O’Toole, Emer. ‘The Eternal Interculture Wars: Reading the Controversy Surrounding Bisis Adigun and Roddy Doyle's Playboy of the Western World.’ Irish Migrant Adaptations: Memory, Performance and Place. Ed. Jason King, Matthew Spangler and Charlotte McIvor. 2018 (Forthcoming)
---. “Intercultural Adaptation: The Ethics of Peter Brook's 11 & 12.” Translation,  Adaptation and Dramaturgy: Ethics in Dialogue, Ethics in Action. Ed. Emer O’Toole, Andrea Kristic Pelegri and Stuart Young. Boston; Leiden: Brill, 2017
Book reviews and articles in scholarly journals without a review committee
O’Toole, Emer. ‘Review of Staging Intercultural Ireland ed. Matthew Spangler and Charlotte McIvor.’ Cultural Diversity and the Stage. 2000 words. (Forthcoming)
---. ‘Performance Review of Terminus, The Centaur Theatre, Montréal, Feb 2015.’ Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 39.1, 2015
---. ‘Universality and Difference: The Politics of Peter Brook’s 11 and 12’ Cultural Diversity and the Stage. 8.1, 2010. P. 21-27
---. ‘Review of Representation and Contestation: Cultural Politics in a Political Century. Ching-Yu Linn and John McSweeney.’ Performing Ethos 1.2, 2011.
---. ‘Review of Political Performances ed.Deirdre Heddon et al.’ Contemporary Theatre Review. 20.4, 2010.

Participation activities


I am an ambassador for the National Women's Council of Ireland

I am a fellow of Concordia's Simone de Beauvoir institute

I am a co-convener of Concordia's Feminism and Controversial Humour Working Group

I am a member of the International Federation of Theatre Research, where I served on the executive committee as New Scholars' Representative between 2009 & 2011

I am a member of the Canadian Association of Irish Studies

I serve as performance review editor for the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies

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