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The Eleventh International Conference on Eugene O’Neill

"Longing and Belonging"

Suffolk University, Boston, MA USA

6 - 9 July 2022

The Eugene O’Neill Society will be coming home to the very place the Society's first international conferences were held in the 1980s and 90s, Suffolk University, for its next International Conference on July 6-9, 2022. Suffolk University is located in the heart of Boston’s downtown and close to several attractions, historical landmarks, and outstanding restaurants. Conference co-chairs Steven Bloom and Beth Wynstra, both Boston-area residents, have been planning for three years for this event (originally planned for 2020 and rescheduled because of the pandemic), held traditionally every three years at a site that held meaning to O'Neill in some capacity. We’ve put together an amazing conference that includes scholarly panels, staged readings, roundtables of theatre artists, and a bus tour of O’Neill’s Boston that culminates at his grave.

As we head into the twenties of the 21st century, we mark the centiennials of key O'Neill plays that introduced his voice to a wider audience. Beyond the Horizon premiered on Broadway in 1920 and ushered in a uniquely American tragic form. The Emperor Jones also opened in 1920 at the Provincetown Playhouse and soon moved to Broadway and was a work that both experimented with emerging expressionist theatrical techniques and broke the color line on Broadway. The Hairy Ape, staged by the Provincetown Players in 1922, criticized capitalist structures and pointed out the fragility and fallibility of the American Dream. During this fertile and prolific period in O'Neill's writing life, Exorcism and Anna Christie also premiered and his willingness to experiment was taking off, so the conference will be exploring O'Neill's own experimentation in his lifetime as well as experimental approaches to O'Neill in our own time. Scholars, historians, directors, playwrights, actors, and teachers will examine new ways of engaging O'Neill, thereby expanding our own scholarly and pedagogical horizons. This conference will present papers, panels, and speakers that interrogate and investigate the notions of longing, the horizon beyond, the unattainable, the pipe dream, and/or belonging, fitting in, and feeling "at home."

Boston’s geography is central to the conference, just as it was foundational to O’Neill’s development as a playwright. O’Neill was tethered not only to Boston/Cambridge (his brief early stint at Harvard; his later stint at the Shelton Hotel, now part of Boston University; and his eternal stint at Forest Hills Cemetery), but also to spaces beyond Boston/Cambridge, including Marblehead to the north, and, of course, Provincetown to the southeast.

Here's the most recent draft of the schedule for the conference, which begins on the evening of July 6 and ends before dinner on July 9, 2022:

Boston Conference Schedule as of 7-7-22

Here's the document you want to access and download to your phone for the Boston Bus Tour on 7-7-22:

O'Neill's Boston Bus Tour 7-7-22

The conference will be hosted at Suffolk University, with convenient accommodations at the nearby historic Omni Parker House Hotel or at a residence hall at Suffolk. The full conference registration fee includes all programming, receptions, Medallion Awards banquet, and bus tour with box lunch (the banquet and/or the bus tour can be booked separately below for those not attending the full conference).

Rates at the Omni Parker House for this conference are: Single: $199; Double: $199; Triple: $239; Quad: $269.
For more information about the Omni, go to: Info about the Omni.
For reservations: Omni Conference Reservations

Dorm rooms at Suffolk are available in the One Court residence hall.
Rooms include: twin XL beds, desk and chair, dresser and bureau. Each room has a private bathrooms. Air conditioning is included as well as Wi-Fi.
Cost is $78 per night, per room. Rooms can accomodate up to two (2) individuals. There is no minimum night stay.
For reservations, please fill out this form: Form for Suffolk Dorm Reservations

Choose your registration:

The O’Neill Society has limited funds to assist with conference travel. This funding falls into two categories: 1) two annual travel awards of $250 each for conference fee or travel expenses; and 2) the Fred Wilkins Travel Award for graduate students, which awards up to $500 for one graduate student (or divided among multiple graduate students) traveling specifically to the Society’s international O’Neill conference. To apply, please email Herman Farrell with the subject heading: "O'Neill Society Travel Funds."

We look forward to you being with us for this exciting Conference in Boston!

Beth Wynstra, Steven Bloom, and Herman D. Farrell, Conference Chairs and Planners
Patrick Midgley and Katie Johnson, Conference Committee

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