As part of Ireland's EU Presidency Culture Programme and with the support of the Arts Council, TYAI in association with Trinity College Dublin and Barnstorm Theatre Company presents an international symposium in Dublin 07th & 08th June 2013






On Friday, 07th June and Saturday, 08th June the School of Education, Trinity College, Dublin in association with TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) Ireland and Barnstorm Theatre Company will present a unique two-day exploration of The Role of Fairytale in Contemporary Theatre as part of Ireland's presidency of the European Union.

The symposium will bring together speakers and presenters from the worlds of theatre, literature, psychology and education to explore fairytale and its relevance to audiences today.


Speakers and presenters

  • Erika Eichenseer, cultural curator at Oberpfalz in Bavaria (lost stories of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth)
  • Charles Way, playwright
  • Anna Maria Murphy, playwright, creator with Kneehigh Theatre Company
  • Mike Kenny (keynote), playwright (Theatre for Young Audiences)
  • Dorothy Morrissey, Lecturer in Drama Education in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick
  • Professor Mike Wilson, Dean of Humanities at Falmouth University
  • Dr. Stephen Minton, a chartered psychologist and a full-time lecturer in the psychology of education at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr. Carmel O'Sullivan, Co-ordinator of the Division of Continuous Professional Development in the School of Education and a member of its Arts Education Research Group, Trinity College

Papers on a wide range of perspectives on the theme...

  • the work of Bruno Bettelheim...
  • The Archetypal Significance of Story: Fairytale and Myth In C. G. Jung, and Neil Gaiman's `The Sandman`...
  • The Low-Down on Kneehigh Theatre Company...
  • Performances of Innocence and Experience: Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood...
  • The use of fairytale in the plays of Charles Way...
  • The Actor or the Storyteller: Solo performers and the presentation of fairytale...

Erika Eichenseer on the amazing find of Von-Schoenwerth's fairy and folk tales...
Presentation of a rehearsed reading of the first of these new works...
Lunch in the historic Trinity Dining Hall...




Begrüßungsrede des Dekans Prof. Moray McGowan aus Anlass des Internationalen Symposiums in Dublin am 8.7.2013 (Auszug)

First, may I extend a welcome to all of you, speakers, guests and members of the audience, on behalf of the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Professor Patrick Prendergast, who unfortunately cannot be here this evening. He has asked me to wish the event every success, which I most certainly do.

On behalf of the organisers of the conference I would like to thank the Arts Council and the Goethe Institute, the staff of the School of Education, Barnstorm theatre company and Purple Heart theatre company, for their support and their expertise.

I'd like to welcome playwright Mike Kenny, whose plays and adaptations range from Blood Sweat and Chocolate about child trafficking to his successful version of The Railway Children, which played at Waterloo Station in 2010.

Ich heisse auch Erika und Adolf Eichenseer als die besonderen Gäste der Tagung ganz herzlich willkommen. Ihre Forschung und ihre Öffentlichkeitsarbeit haben das beinahe vergessene Werk von Franz Xaver von Schönwerth wieder bekannt gemacht. Fourthly I'd like to welcome Erika and Adolf Eichenseer as special guests of the conference, and to express my appreciaton, as a Germanist, of the important role Erika Eichenseer has played in bringing back into popular and critical attention the work of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth as a folktale collector.

Prof. Moray McGowan
Dekan der Universität Dublin





Erika Eichenseer

Erika Eichenseer, born in Munich, Germany, in 1934, was brought up in a teacher's familiy with a story-telling mother. After studying to become a teacher, she married Dr Adolf Eichenseer, also a teacher, who later became the art director for traditional cultural development in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate), a part of Bavaria. Both Erika und Adolf are storytellers, authors, playwrights and poets, who have dedicated much of their lives to keeping alive the region's traditional culture.

Until 1979, Erika was a teacher in elementary and secondary schools. There she started a school theatre, adapting regional tales, such as those from Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, which fascinated her from the very beginning. Besides putting on plays, she experimented with different and mixed media such as puppets, marionettes, shadow theatre, black-light-shows.

From 1979 on she changed direction to work in her husband's institute for traditional cultural development, specializing in regional literature, documentation and the te-animation of traditional customs and arts. In this function she guided 400 amateur theatre groups in the region, giving them specialized courses, reviewing the value of their playing material, opening up many other possibilities for finding good plays, an she wrote plays herself.

In 1986, the 100th anniversary of the death of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, the German collector of folklore, customs, myths and legends, who worked at the time of the brothers Grimm and was highly regarded by them, she edited a reader and an educational supplement with his tales for all schools in the region to promote this mostly unknown collector of the complete folk customs and tales of Oberpfalz. This was not enough, however, to launch Schönwerth, who remained unknown.

In 2010, his 200th birthday-anniversary, the newly established Schönwerth-society succeeded in raising his profile. A series of presentations, mainly planned and produced by Dr Adolf und Erika Eichenseer, focused the public view on this extraordinary personality. And "Prinz Roßzwifl" ("The Scarab Prince"), a choice of Schönwerth's fairytales, edited by Erika Eichenseer, was published.

In March 2012, an article in "The Guardian" focused international interest on the 500 unknown tales, brought to light in Erika's book an regarded as a "sensational find". Prinz Roßzwifl included new fairytales never published before, and they had the great historical value of being in the original oral format they were collected in.

Still to come: A new book of more unknown Schönwerth fairytales, edited by Erika und translated into English by the renowned fairytale expert, Maria Tatar, will be released shortly by Penguin. They are expected to change our understanding so far of German fairytales. And, based on a libretto written by Erika, the fairytale from Schönwerth's collection, "The Flying Chest", will be staged an July 2013 in Regensburg. This will establish Schönwerth's value not only for children but also for adults.