Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation presents Margaret Macnamara’s career as a playwright and dramaturg while exploring the cultural and political context of her works. It explores the influences of the Fabian Society on Macnamara’s work and places her among such leading independent theatre artists as George Bernard Shaw, Harley Granville Barker, and Nugent Monck. The political context of her work is examined as her play, Mrs. Hodges (1920 is compared with Shaw’s Widowers’ Houses and the theatrical context of her work is established as productions of The Gates of the Morning (1908) and Our Little Fancies (1911) are analyzed. Her plays are grouped by thematic concerns but also presented in chronological order. First, two plays that feature pacifist themes, The Baby in the Ring (1918) and In Safety (1924), from the interwar period, are analyzed for their allegorical interpretation of controversial subject matter. As Macnamara highlights women’s struggles in a patriarchal system in her play, Light-Gray or Dark? (1920), The Witch (1920) and Love-Fibs (1920), she espouses women’s rights for independence at a time when there was pressure to revert to traditional gender roles. Discussion of her adaptations of three nineteenth-century novels reveals her desire to examine the influences that impacted her Victorian childhood. Finally, her play, Florence Nightingale (1936) is examined for the manner in which it encompasses the social, pacifist, and feminist themes of her earlier works. This dissertation attempts to resurrect Macnamara’s work and place it back into circulation in order that it might provide important information and insight for scholars of theatre and women’s studies.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jennifer Jones