Charlotte McIvor

Dr. Charlotte McIvor is a lecturer in drama and theatre studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is the author of Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland: Towards A New Interculturalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and the co-editor of Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions? (with Jason King, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Devised Performance in Irish Theatre: Histories and Contemporary Practice (with Siobhan O’Gorman, Carysfort Press, 2015) and Staging Intercultural Ireland: Plays and Practitioner Perspectives (with Matthew Spangler, Cork University Press, 2014). She has published in journals including Theatre Topics, Modern Drama, Irish University Review, Irish Studies Review, and multiple edited volumes on contemporary theatre and performance. Also a director and dramaturge, recent projects in Ireland include directing Frank McGuinness’ adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra (2014) and multiple iterations of the original devised theatre piece 100 Shades of Grey co-created with NUI Galway students addressing issues of sexual consent and assault. In 2016, she co-directed the film adaptation of 100 Shades of Grey as Lucy’s House Party (with Mick Ruane) for the Manuela Riedo Foundation’s secondary school education project on sexual consent in Ireland. She has recently collaborated again with Ruane and NUI Galway students on the production of a new multimedia campaign addressing practical fluency around sexual consent which includes a series of interactive short films released online via 2018/2019. As a member of the Active Consent Research Programme, she is also the co-author of a report along with Dr. Pádraig MacNeela and Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins which details the effectiveness of consent workshops in Irish universities and the role of arts interventions in sexual health education. She is launching a pilot third-level theatre tour of a new version of 100 Shades of Grey as part of the Active Consent programme in autumn 2019.

Towards Efficacy and Beyond: Understanding the Impact of the Active Consent Programme’s "The Kinds of Sex You Might Have in College"

This presentation engages the Active Consent programme team’s inaugural Irish national university theatre tour of their original play, The Kinds of Sex You Might Have in College, co-created with college students and in development since 2014. The Active Consent Programme works with young people to shine light on grey areas regarding sexual consent and provide practical skills through interactive workshops, engagement with multimedia materials, and ongoing research into sexual attitudes and behaviours across Ireland.

The Kinds of Sex You Might Have in College turns the Active Consent Programme’s core messages into a live theatrical event aimed at college-age audiences and toured throughout Ireland in 2019-2020. It is a play about what you want, how you want it, if you want it and what happens when you don’t. Performed by an energetic ensemble of actors who play multiple roles, this theatrical performance brings audiences through a range of sketches that dramatize sexual scenarios and viewpoints that individuals may encounter during college life. Tackling experiences from across all genders, all relationships and all sexualities (or as many of them as we could fit into one hour), The Kinds of Sex You Might Have in College combines humour, satire and drama to share diverse experiences.

The Active Consent Programme’s use of live theatre as one of the project’s key interventions tests the efficacy of performance in expanding and changing audiences’ sexual attitudes and reported behaviour. This presentation will reflect on the learning and data collated from the 2019-2020, drawing on audience feedback forms and the acting company and creative team’s experiences on the road. Can a single artistic intervention exert enough force to contribute meaningfully to cultural attitude changes around consent, sexual assault and rape across all genders, all sexualities and all relationship? What analytical tools do we need to develop to answer that question, or are we missing the point? And how might theatre’s ancient Greek origins as an act attempting a representational microcosm of democracy in process through the gathering of performers and audiences be a crucial touchstone for developing the kind of analytical tools necessary to assess this project and its impact on attitudes towards sexuality and sexual violence?

The Active Consent Programme team (from left: Padraig MacNeela, Siobhán O'Higgins, Kate Dawson, and Charlotte McIvor) with Minister of Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor (middle) at the launch of their 2018 SMART Consent report.