Course Information

The MA in Irish Theatre History & Archives offers a hands-on approach to the study of Irish theatre history as a living process. We move from the nineteenth-century plays of Oscar Wilde and the early Abbey plays of W.B. Yeats and Sean O’Casey, to the towering genius of Samuel Beckett in mid-century, and on to major contemporary dramatists such as Brian Friel, Marina Carr and Enda Walsh. Finally, this programme considers the growing role of interdisciplinary arts practice, dance, and collaborative theatre-making approaches including devising in the contemporary Irish theatre today. 

As a students on this course, you have unprecedented access to one of the world’s greatest Irish theatre archives – working with the treasures of the Abbey and Gate Theatre Digital Archives, as well as the papers of Thomas Kilroy, Druid Theatre, the Lyric Players’ Theatre, and many more. These archives include hundreds of videos of performances and original promptbooks, as well as correspondence between major authors, drafts of plays, set and costume designs, and much more. 

With classes taught by world-leading scholars, this course offers you the opportunity to work in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, the major international centre for research on Irish theatre and performance, and to gain access to hands-on work experience in either archive maintenance and acquisition and/or literary management for the theatre.

In order to make an application to any of our Postgraduate programmes please click here.

You may also find the FAQ section on the Postgraduate Admissions website helpful.

Programme Information

Why study this programme?

This course blends academic study and research with the opportunity to gain practical work experience through a placement that may include working in the university’s theatre archives or in the area of literary management or dramaturgy. 

The course is ideally suited to anyone with an interest in Irish theatre history. It develops skills in research and archiving and will thus be of special value to anyone interested in pursuing PhD research on Irish theatre. Yet it is also well suited to people with a general interest in Irish drama who simply wish to develop their knowledge further. 

The course also involves attendance at theatres in Galway and Dublin. Students also benefit from the university’s partnerships with Irish theatre companies, notably the Abbey, the Gate, and Druid. 

Programme Outline

 All students will take core modules in Irish theatre history and archival research. Students can then choose optional modules in playwriting, performance, dramaturgy, theatre business, applied theatre and more. 

At the end of the year, all students will complete a minor dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff. This original research project will be supervised by our team of world-leading experts in Irish theatre and performance.

Career Opportunities

Students on this course will be well prepared to pursue further research on Irish theatre history, or to seek a career in archiving (or other related library services) and/or literary management and dramaturgy for the theatre. The course also offers all the benefits of an MA degree, providing students with transferable skills in such areas as research, writing, group work, archiving, and so on.

What Our Students Say

“My experience with the MA in Irish Theatre History and Archives could not have been better. The depth and breadth of the department’s connections and resources allow for each MA student to take a path that suits their unique interests and goals. Whether it was an internship with the Abbey Theatre and the Galway International Arts Festival, or a directing masterclass with Garry Hynes, I was always aware that I was gaining exclusive access to so many of the people and institutions I admire.

 As specific as the program sounds, the experiences I had gave me skills that turned out to be very widely applicable, especially on the Archives side. I left the program certainly equipped to work in a library, museum, or archive, but I also left knowing that my skills could apply to whatever I wanted, because I was given countless opportunities to tailor my Masters to my own goals.”

Olivia Gacka, Theatre Practitioner

MA Irish Theatre History and Archives  2017-18 





Contact Us

For more information about the course, please contact:

Dr Miriam Haughton
Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance


P: 091 494485