Lecturer in Drama
Brenda Winter joined the faculty at Queen’s in 2009 after a successful first career as an actress, director and writer in the professional theatre, film and television. She was a founder member of Charabanc, the ground-breaking women’s theatre collective in the 1980s, the founder and first artistic director (1989-1996) of Replay, Northern Ireland’s longest established Educational Theatre Company and creative director of the Mixed Peppers Theatre Arts Training Programme for young people with motor disabilities from 2000-2004.
Brenda has recently completed a practice as research doctorate on the work of the Northern Irish dramatist George Shiels. Shiels, a writer with a disability who was born in Ballymoney in 1881, kept the doors of the Abbey Theatre Dublin open with his popular comedies from 1921-1948. He has subsequently been dismissed as a mere puveyor of entertainment. As part of this study Brenda wrote and directed a new piece of popular-political theatre Just Shiels which sought to investigate and recuperate Shiels as a dramatist of serious intent. The play was performed in May 2008 at the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s and subsequently at State University of New York (Rockland College) in March 2010.
Brenda gave the plenary address to a regional session of the American Conference for Irish Sudies in New York in September 2008 which focused on issues of disability in Irish literature. She was also an invited speaker at the Irish Theatre Diaspora Conference at University College Galway in 2009 where she spoke on Charabanc. In addition she has presented papers on Shiels at The International Association of Irish Literature at University College Dublin in 2007 and at the University of Porto in 2008.
Brenda’s research interests are wide-ranging and include Irish Theatre, Political Theatre, Applied Theatre and Site-Specific Theatre. Brenda is currently working on publishing Just Shiels. She is also completing an article on Theatre and Disability which will reflect upon her past practice in this area. She hopes to continue directing at Queen’s by staging a production of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad.
‘Charabanc, Cultural Capital and the Men of Recognised Credit’ in Ilha Do Desterro Vol. 58 pp. 439-458.
‘When Shiels Met Liberace’ in Studies in Theatre and Performance Vol. 29. No 3. pp. 239-252.
‘Introduction’ in Martin Lynch and the Charabanc Theatre Company, Lay Up Your Ends : A Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition (Belfast: Lagan Press, 2008) pp.17-36.
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3337
Room number: 103 House 110,University Square Office Hours : by appointment