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  • St. Michael’s Theatre
    South St, New Ross,
    Co. Wexford, Ireland

Call For Papers


Eugene O’Neill’s early plays are often overlooked, with much scholarship focusing on the masterpieces he penned later in life. Yet, these apprentice works illuminate many aspects of the later plays and clearly show the young genius struggling to escape, as he famously put it, “the theatre of my father”, that is, the melodramatic tradition inherited from his Irish-born actor father James. Moreover, these early one-acts shed light on vital aspects of American culture in the early twentieth century; in sometimes surprising ways, the plays examine immigration, shifting gender norms, a re-defined workforce, and the modern re-interpretation of marriage. The plays also testify to O’Neill’s belief in the redemptive power of Art.

O’Neill’s critical portrayals of society, families, and individuals in these plays points towards different, better ways of living, and of a redeemed America—an America that might somehow be (to use the title of another famous play) “Beyond the Horizon” but present nonetheless. Recent theatre artists have revived—and, adapted—O’Neill’s early works to address the persistent relevance of these themes. This artistic experimentation is abundantly clear in two adaptations of O’Neill’s early one acts: Warnings Before Breakfast and A Wife for a Life, which will be performed at the Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre in New Ross, Ireland this fall.

We invite scholars, educators, and theatre artists to draft papers or artistic pieces (8-10 minutes) that speak to the theme of mourning and redemption in the work of Eugene O’Neill. Possible topics might include:

  • The “portrait of the artist” and the role of art in O’Neill’s plays
  • The politics of O’Neill’s early one acts
  • Adaptations of O’Neill’s plays
  • Gender roles and marriage in O’Neill’s works
  • The emigrant or diasporic experience in O’Neill’s plays
  • Papers and praxis about teaching O’Neill
  • O’Neill’s adaptations from Classical works
  • O’Neill on film

Scholarly panels and theatre workshops will coincide with The Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre in New Ross, Ireland, October 10 — 13, 2024.

A possible publication of scholarly pieces will be pursued.

Please send a 250-word abstract to Katie N. Johnson,; and Richard Hayes, by June 15, 2024.