MA in Drama and Theatre @ NUI Galway

“Be immersed in the world of Irish theatre at NUI Galway”

This world-leading course allows you to build a programme around interests in theatre practice, Irish drama, playwriting, and theatre criticism.

Going into its thirteenth year, the MA in Drama and Theatre at NUI Galway offers students an unparalleled immersion in Irish theatre from practical and academic perspectives. This world-leading course provides a wide range of modules, allowing you to build a programme that suits your own interests – whether in theatre practice, Irish drama, playwriting, theatre criticism, or a blend of all four. This programme is available as either full-time (one year) or part-time (two years), giving you flexibility to guide the pace of your own study.

 By pursuing an MA in Drama and Theatre at NUI Galway, you gain the opportunity to interact one-on-one with leading Irish theatre professionals, to study with major scholars in Irish Theatre and Performance Studies, and to gain direct access to our unparalleled Irish theatre archives, which includes the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive as well as holdings from Druid Theatre, the Lyric Players’ Theatre, and the Galway Arts Festival.  Theatre visits in Dublin and Galway form a core part of your experience. Every year students attend the world-renowned Dublin Theatre Festival and during any academic year you can expect to see performances by most of Ireland’s major theatre companies.


While pursuing your interests in research or practice, we provide you with hands-on experiences that will insure that you will leave our MA with an enhanced skills set that translates into demonstrable achievements. These might include a new work experience through an internship, a new play, or an academic article in draft that can be used for publication or for application to funded Ph.D. programmes.  Recent graduates have gone on to work with many theatre companies including the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, and others. They have also found employment in education, the heritage and tourist industries, arts organisations, business and the public service. Many have progressed to Ph.D. study, often winning scholarships in support of their studies.

Our commitment to world-leading innovation is evident in the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive project. When complete, this will be the world’s largest-ever digital theatre archive, running to almost 2 million items and almost 50 TB of data. It includes original material from almost all of Ireland’s leading writers, including Nobel Prize winners W.B. Yeats, G.B. Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. It also features work by Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Conor McPherson, Marina Carr and hundreds of others. This resource is exclusively available at NUI Galway. It complements our other archival holdings in Irish theatre, including the archive of Druid Theatre, the playwright Thomas Kilroy, and much more.

Our partnerships with working theatre professionals characterize the core of our programme’s mission. We connect our students to the history and the working practice of Irish theatre today. Our unique partnership with Druid Theatre, described by The New York Times as “one of the world’s great theater companies,” gives students the chance to learn directly from a world class Irish theatre company. Our partnership with Druid gives you access to master classes, workshops and visits to shows with the company as a core part of the MA.  These classes are given by members of Druid, including Garry Hynes, who was the first woman ever to win a Tony Award for Directing (for Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, 1997). NUI Galway was also a co-producer of DruidMurphy, a major production which toured to the Lincoln Center New York in the summer of 2012.


You will also benefit from our continuing relationships with other theatre companies, including the national theatre for drama in the Irish language, the Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, the major street theatre troupe Macnas, the world renowned Galway Arts Festival, and many others.  Our rotating programme of talks by leading artists and scholars expands your networks and puts you directly into conversations about the state of Irish theatre now.  Recent guests or residencies have included ANU Production’s Louise Lowe (2012 Irish Times Theatre Award winner for Best Director), Blue Raincoat Theatre Company (Ireland’s only professional theatre ensemble), Mark O’Rowe (author of Howie the Rookie, Intermission, Terminus), Mark O’Halloran (actor in Adam and Paul; author of Trade) and Ireland’s leading up-and-coming company THEATREclub.


Your small classroom experiences with leading Irish theatre scholars and professional artists including Patrick Lonergan, Lionel Pilkington, Charlotte McIvor, Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy, Max Hafler and Tom Hall ensures that your academic course of study will be both intensive and crafted to the needs of your individual goals.  The MA in Drama and Theatre at NUI Galway offers both breadth and depth, made possible through the individual attention given to students and our core investment in the interplay between theory and practice, inside and outside the classroom.  Classes are always limited to 15 students (and frequently are much smaller than that), and we place great emphasis on offering students direct supervision.

Innovation and engagement characterize our mission at NUI Galway. By choosing to pursue an MA in Drama and Theatre at NUI Galway, you will find yourself at the center of a programme that is moving Irish theatre studies forward every day through our scholarship, our engagement with the archives, and our partnerships with working theatre artists.

For a full listing of courses and information about how to apply, see  or e-mail


For more information about studying in Ireland visit the Education in Ireland


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