The Continuing Theatrical Challenge of Yeats

The Continuing Theatrical Challenge of Yeats
Wednesday 30 Oct at 6.30 pm

James W. Flannery, the Director of the W. B. Yeats Foundation and the Winship Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Emory University will deliver a lecture on Yeats' legacy as a dramatist.

All welcome. No booking required.

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Learn more about the Library’s award winning exhibition Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats.

More about James W. Flannery
A producer, stage director, singer, scholar and critic, James Flannery is a specialist in the dramatic work of W.B. Yeats. In 1988 he founded the W.B. Yeats Foundation in order to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Yeats’s work as a poet, dramatist and cultural activist. From 1989 to 1993 he was the Executive Director of the Yeats International Theatre Festival at the world famous Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland. His Yeats Festival productions of fourteen of Yeats's challenging plays won critical acclaim and established Yeats's reputation as a seminal figure in modern Irish theater. In 2010 he was named an International Associate Artist at the Abbey Theatre where he is working to develop a Yeats Studio focused on the challenging ideas and techniques involved in Yeats’s dramatic work.

At Emory University the Yeats Foundation has presented a wide range of lectures, concerts, poetry readings, exhibitions and symposiums. A special emphasis has been placed on advancing knowledge of the influence of Irish culture, including Northern Ireland, on the distinctive heritage and character of the American South. In 2001 the Yeats Foundation organized a major international symposium, “Ulster Roots/Southern Branches: The Scots Irish Heritage of Northern Ireland and the American South,” which attracted wide scholarly attention as well as the participation of a large general audience drawn from throughout the Southeast. In the year 2002 Flannery was honored with a Governor's Award in the Humanities by the Georgia Humanities Council for his work promoting Irish culture and its connections with the culture of the American South. In 2012 the Yeats Foundation organized “Making Connections: The Celtic Roots of Southern Music,” another international conference exploring the influences of Irish, Scots-Irish and Scottish traditional music on the roots music of the South. In 2013 there will be a follow-­up to this conference at University College, Dublin.

For eighteen years, Dr. Flannery’s production of the Atlanta Celtic Christmas Concert celebrated in poetry, music, song, dance and story the Christmas traditions of the Celtic lands and their connections with similar traditions in the American South. A film of the Concert, of which he was the Executive Producer, won the 2012 Southeast EMMY Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arts and Entertainment. Plans are underway to present the Concert as a national PBS Christmas special in 2013.

James Flannery's work as a singer also has received considerable recognition. He has given concerts throughout the United States and abroad, including a July 1997 recital at the Dublin residence of American Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith. That concert was made into a film entitled "Ireland, Mother Ireland" which has been broadcast on PBS. In 1997 he published a book/recording, Dear Harp of My Country: The Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore, which received critical acclaim as well as the endorsements of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney and Bill Whelan, the Grammy Award-winning composer of Riverdance.

Among his many publications, Dr. Flannery is the author of a definitive study, W.B. Yeats and the Idea of a Theatre: The Early Abbey Theatre in Theory and Practice (Yale 1976, 1989) and has contributed to leading journals including The New York Times, Performing Arts Journal and the Irish University Review. He has directed over sixty productions, including twenty-two of Yeats's plays at leading professional theatres in Ireland, Canada and the United States. He has headed theater programs at the University of Ottawa, the University of Rhode Island and Emory University, where he holds a distinguished chair as Winship Professor of the Arts and Humanities.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College (Hartford), James Flannery holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama and a Ph.D. from Trinity College, Dublin. Listed in Who’s Who in America, he has five times been named to Irish America Magazine's list of the one hundred most prominent Irish-Americans. In 1993 he was given the prestigious Wild Geese Award for Outstanding Contributions to Irish Culture. In the same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater Trinity College (Hartford). In 1997 he was named an Honorary Professor by his other alma mater Trinity College, Dublin. He has been listed in the Oxford Companion to Irish Literature for his work as a scholar-artist on the plays of Yeats and the songs of Thomas Moore. The University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, named him a Visiting Professor in the year 2000 and, in 2001, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his many contributions to Irish culture, particularly in the area of peace and reconciliation through the arts. In the same year he was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Fellowship to work with the University of Ulster in developing a school for performing arts. In 2010 he was named a Visiting Professor at the University College, Dublin, as well as a member of the Global Irish Network designed to advise the Irish government in the arts, education and business. In 2012 he was named Irishman of the Year by the Atlanta Hibernian Benevolent Society for his many contributions to the Irish-American community of Atlanta.

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