Course Information

(PAC CODE GYA05)

The MA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy cultivates the growth of the individual writer through an intensive one-year immersion in an ensemble-based learning environment. Based at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, you will be immersed in a natural environment for creating and thinking about theatre practice.

All students take modules on playwriting and other forms of theatre practice through which they have the opportunity to specialise further, based on their own skills and interests.  They will cultivate their skills as writers of dramatic texts (playwriting) but also increase their knowledge of a wide range of theatrical structures and forms (dramaturgy) to expand their range as artists. 

Writers on this programme will hone their craft through intensive mentorship and a rigorous programme of modules, workshops and theatre trips that places their individual work in the context of the contemporary theatre industry and the history of theatre craft. The programme concludes with a playwriting dissertation advised by a professional writer and features a public reading of the student’s new work at the O’Donoghue Centre.

Programme Information

Why study this programme?

The course draws on NUI Galway’s long track record of producing award-winning playwrights, theatre critics, academics and practitioners.

The course facilitates the development of the individual’s playwriting craft by exposing them to a range of theatre practices within an ensemble-based learning environment. Students are based at the world-leading centre for study and research in Irish theatre and performance. Because of NUI Galway’s rich tradition of student productions, writers will also have ample opportunities to stage their plays. And with Galway’s vibrant creative scene, students can see world-class work throughout the academic year.

NUI Galway also has one of the world’s great Irish theatre archives. Students on this course will be able learn from the best – consulting manuscripts and promptbooks by such writers as W.B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Sean O’Casey, Tom Murphy, Brian Friel, Thomas Kilroy, Marina Carr, Enda Walsh, and many more.

Programme Outline

All students take the following five core modules:

  • Playwright's Workshop I
  • Critical Approaches to Theatre and Performance
  • Theatre and Thought
  • Playwright’s Workshop II
  • Applied Dramaturgy

Students then can choose two elective modules that address a diverse range of specialised topics in the field of drama, theatre and performance.

After classes conclude, students work on the completion of a new play or piece of writing for performance with a mentor in the profession.  This work will receive a public staged reading in early summer at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.

A key aspect of the course is the preparation of candidates for success upon graduation: we provide advice on submitting plays for production, or other forms of writing for publication. Regular workshops with writers form a key part of the course.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of NUI Galway writing programmes have gone on to doctoral programmes in the humanities, to teaching, to employment in journalism, magazine editing, travel writing, technical writing, and public relations as well as publishing anthologies and books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. In the field of theatre, our graduates have gone on to write for such theatres as the Abbey (Ireland) and the Traverse (Scotland), while many have also staged their own works at Festivals in Dublin, Galway, Edinburgh and elsewhere.

What Our Students Say

“At the age of thirty-four I took a career break to study for a Masters in Drama and Theatre and moved to Galway. I specifically chose this course because of its wide variety of courses including Playwriting. My first ever play, Blind Faith, was written during Mary-Elizabeth’s Burke Kennedy’s class. The experience gave me huge confidence and a thirst for writing more, which I’ve continued to do. I always credit the MA and the lecturers’ guidance with accelerating my writing career.”

Tara McKevitt, Playwright and author of Grenades (RTÉ PJ O'Connor award for radio drama) and Me, Michael (Community and Education Department, Abbey Theatre) among others. Participant in Abbey Theatre’s New Playwrights Programme, 2011/2012

Contact Us

For more information about the course, please contact:

Dr Charlotte McIvor
Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama
charlotte.mcivor@nuigalway.ie 

or

Aoife Harrington
Academic Administrator
aoife.harrington@nuigalway.ie