NUI Galway Drama Students Take to the Stage with Druid

Friday, 18 July 2014

At the launch of the Druid Academy at NUI Galway earlier this year at the Gaiety Theatre Dublin were (LtoR) NUI Galway students Dale Leadon-Bolger, Emily Noctor and Mollie Ball with Award winning theatre actress and founder member of Druid theatre company Marie Mullen
At the launch of the Druid Academy at NUI Galway earlier this year at the Gaiety Theatre Dublin were (LtoR) NUI Galway students Dale Leadon-Bolger, Emily Noctor and Mollie Ball with Award winning theatre actress and founder member of Druid theatre company Marie Mullen

Druid Academy students at NUI Galway to Perform at Galway International Arts Festival

As part of Galway International Arts Festival, on Tuesday, 22 July, NUI Galway students will be performing in a reading of a new play at Druid Theatre. A Boy Called Nedd by Emily Gillmor Murphy is being staged as part of the “Druid Debut” series at this year’s Festival, and is a brand new play from Emily Gillmor Murphy. The reading will feature NUI Galway Drama students Deirdre Ní Chloscaí, Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Joe Power and Niamh Ryan.

In a unique development for Drama and Theatre teaching in Ireland, Druid and NUI Galway launched a new Druid Academy earlier this year, as part of a 10 year partnership between the two organisations. The participation of NUI Galway students in the event is one of many collaborations between University students and Druid.

As part of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, the Druid Academy covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, as well as PhD research opportunities.  The Druid Academy also provides training in drama that meets best international practice while also embedding the values associated with Druid into the teaching curriculum.

A Boy Called Nedd tells the story of a sixteen-year-old boy trying to stay on course after his brother’s suicide. Nedd’s is a fast moving world. Here a relationship goes from awkward silences to making out to throwing insults at the speed of light. Here his least step out of line goes viral at the blink of an eye. Here the lures of the adult world – guns, included – are only a text or a mouse-click away. But how fast is he going that he should confuse grief for the need for revenge?  The play has strong language and explicit content. 

NUI Galway Professor of Drama and Theatre Patrick Lonergan stated that this event will be a major opportunity for the students. “This event gives our students the chance to perform in a professional setting, working with a very exciting new writer, in a major theatre company, in Ireland’s major arts festival. As part of our continuing work with the Druid Academy, our students will continue to work closely with Druid on projects such as this."

Druid Director-in-Residence, Thomas Conway, says: "the play is a dispatch straight from the frontline of contemporary teenage experience in Ireland. Not only does it show the world of Irish teenagers in a no-holds-barred fashion, it gets under its skin, revealing the kinds of pressure today’s teenager routinely experience. We’re excited in Druid to have students from NUI Galway join us for its presentation. We have been impressed to date with the connection they have made with the play and feel confident they will bring many great acting qualities to its presentation."

Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy will follow the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The Academy has also led to the development of new courses, including three new MA programmes. These are in Irish Drama, Writing for Theatre, and Theatre Practice and Production. NUI Galway also offers a part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and has two very popular undergraduate Drama programmes.

Students of the Druid Academy gain a unique insight into the world of professional theatre when they have the opportunity to stage an annual professional-standard production, directed by the Druid Director-in-Residence. 

The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Marie Mullen, Garry Hynes and the late Mick Lally. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University.

Three years ago that relationship was formalised into a strategic partnership that saw Druid and NUI Galway join forces to train the next generation of theatre-makers. This partnership moves on to a new level with the announcement of the Druid Academy.

For further information on the part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies please visit

http://www.nuigalway.ie/drama/postgrad/ptma/

ENDS

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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