First Year BA Connect


This programme provides a practical engagement with Performing Arts, which is combined with the study of traditional subjects from the BA Degree. In addition to exploring different approaches to making theatre, the course introduces students to aspects of theatre history and nurtures their interest in and talent for performance.


The BA with Performing Arts is aimed at students who wish to complement their studies by developing their personal interest in Performing Arts. In their first two years students participate in practical classes in a variety of acting techniques and performance styles. These encourage a greater understanding of theatre practice and the importance of theatre in human culture.


In their third year students studying a modern language as one (or more) of their traditional subjects will spend time in a region or country where the language(s) is the native tongue. The students will be placed at third level institutions that facilitate the practical study of the theatrical practice and culture of the host country. Those students remaining in Ireland will participate in workshops developed by theatre practitioners and will work with a professional director on a collectively-created stage production.


In the final year, students drop drama in order to concentrate on their two degree subjects, but opportunities to engage in theatre-related activities will be made available outside of class.


Students who take a BA CONNECT in Performing Arts can expect to spend up to 30 percent of their time in university on drama, with the remaining 70 percent dedicated to their degree subjects.




In their first year, students must choose THREE additional subjects. These can be from arts groups 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. Subject groupings may be viewed here:


Subject Choices and Progression








Performing Arts (15 ECTS)

Arts Degree Subject A (15 ECTs)

Arts Degree Subject B

(15 ECTs)

Arts Degree Subject C

(15 ECTs)


Performing Arts (10 ECTs)

Students take TWO of the three degree subjects that they studied in first year to degree level

25 ECTs each


Performing Arts (placements and research projects)

(60 ECTs)


Students drop drama and do their two degree subjects

30 ECTs each.


Students should be very careful when choosing subjects, especially in cases where entry to second year is restricted.


You are required to discuss your subject choices in advance with the course director or coordinator, either in person or by email.






  • 7 September (Saturday) – 1BA Orientation Day
  • 9 September – 1BA Week 1



  • 28 October – bank holiday – no classes



  • Friday 29 November – end of teaching for 1BA



  • 6 December – deadline for submission of all First Year work.
  • 9 December – First Year Exams start
  • 17 December – All Exams end.



  • 13 January – semester 2 teaching begins for all years



  • 17 March – Monday bank holiday – no classes



  • 4 April – semester ends for all years
  • 8-13 April – Cuirt Festival: Andrew Flynn production with 3BA students.
  • 11 April – deadline for submission of all undergraduate and postgraduate work.
  • 15 April – exams begin for all years
  • 17-23 April – Easter vacation – university closed (Easter Sunday is 20 April).
  • 24 April – exams resume for all years



  • 14 May – exams end for all years



Other dates will be announced during the year.


In the first semester, students take two classes


TP106: Theatre Workshop 1

  • Theatre Workshop (Tuesday 6-8) 
  • The Awakening: The Study of Michael Chekhov (two hours per week)


TP108: Theatre History

A year long course about the history of theatre


In the second semester, students take two classes:


TP 107: Theatre Workshop 2

  • Improvisation and Character Portrayal
  • Applied Psychophysical Technique



TP108: Theatre History

A year long course about the history of theatre



First Semester Times are:

  • Monday 2-3 – Theatre History (BOI Theatre)
  • Tuesday 6-8 (Performance) – BOI Theatre
  • Wednesday 1-2 (Chekhov) – Acoustic Room
  • Thursday 11-12 (Chekhov) – BOI Theatre


Second Semester times are:

  • Monday 2-3 – Theatre History (venue to be confirmed)
  • Tuesday 6-8 – Improvisation (BOI)
  • Friday 11-1 – Psychophysical Technique (BOI)


When registering for tutorials and classes in other subjects, please bear in mind that you need to keep all of the above times free. For example, you don’t have classes from 12 to 1 on Friday in the first semester, but you will have class at that time in the second semester. So don’t book a class in one of your other subjects for that time.


Your marks for your course are divided equally between TP106, TP107 and TP108.  You must pass all three courses in order to proceed into second year.





This year there will be three student productions. Yerma will be directed by Max Hafler in Druid Theatre in February 2013, and Sophocles’ Electra, translated by Frank McGuinness,will be directed by Charlotte McIvor as part of the university theatre festival in March. The Third Year BA Connect students will produce a play directed by Andrew Flynn as part of Cuirt in April 2014.


First Year students will be entitled to audition for the production of Electra in October/November. If they are chosen to participate they will be able to do the production for credit in lieu of one of their second semester modules.


Students who are not successful in audition may, if they wish, choose to be involved in the production in some other creative capacity such as stage management, assistant direction, etc.



Course Outlines


TP106: First Semester


Course Part A:  Performance

Maria Tivnan

Tuesday 6-8 BOI Theatre


This is a practical course that focuses on the elements of performance: language, movement, working in space, and the audience. Classes will be given in workshop format, incorporating warm-up exercises and games, discussion and rehearsal techniques. Students will work in groups on five play scripts over the twelve week period, with scene presentations at week 4 and 7. Students will then work towards an end of year performance in the Bank of Ireland Theatre for a live audience. This course is designed to give students a greater understanding and appreciation of theatrical performance through direct experience. Attendance and participation are extremely important, and students will be encouraged to engage with and enjoy the process of taking a play from the page to the stage.

Texts for the course: Disco Pigs by Enda Walsh, Come and Go by Samuel Beckett, Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill, On Raftery’s Hill by Marina Carr and Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka

All of the above scripts bar Polaroid Stories are available on campus in the library, photocopies of  Polaroid Stories will be made available. 


Session 1: Introduction

The first session will be an introduction to the basic elements of performance, with improvisation and experimentation with words and movement.


Session 2 Precision and Pace: Three Ladies and Two Pigs

In this session we will be working with Beckett’s Come and Go and Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs with a focus on timing i.e. pause and pace and the peculiarities of language in both texts.


Session 3- Playing between the lines: Marina Carr’s On Raftery’s Hill

This session will look at Carr’s dark drama, exploring how to balance comedy in tragedy and stage difficult and disturbing scenes.


Session 4: Scene Presentation I

This session will be used for the class to present scenes from Disco Pigs and Come and Go.


Session 5 & 6: Gender Benders, Politics and Farce: Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine

These two sessions will deal with the staging of political theatre in two acts, where we will play around with gender roles, character changes, the doubling of parts, and going from the straight to the farcical.


Session 7: Scene Presentation II

This session will be used to present scenes from both Cloud Nine and On Raftery’s Hill.


Session 8 & 9: Freedom and Form: Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories

These sessions will explore the idea of an ensemble, and how to stage a piece that is quite obscure yet enables the performer great freedom in interpretation and expression. Here we will experiment with movement, rhythms and movement.


Session 10 & 11 Rehearsals for End of Term performance

These sessions will be devoted to in-class rehearsal in preparation for the end of year performance, Scenes will be performed from all of the scripts on the course; however, this may be subject to time, the gender balance of the class, and what scenes will work best together both for the group and as a piece of theatre.


Session 12 End of Term Performance: Class will insert title here!



Attendance, Participation and Development 15 %

Scene presentations 20 % (10% each)

End of Year Performance 25%

Reflective Essay 40%


Course Part B: THE AWAKENING   The Study of Michael Chekhov


  • Wednesday 1-2 (Chekhov) – Acoustic Room
  • Thursday 11-12 (Chekhov) – BOI Theatre




Deep within ourselves, within the treasure house of our souls, are buried tremendous creative powers and abilities, but they remain unused as long as we do not know about them or as long as we deny them

 Michael Chekhov


The aim of this module is to explore at a foundation level the relationship between the inner life and the outer world through the senses, movement and space. We will learn the fundamental principles of the psycho-physical including gestures, qualities, psychological gesture and centre. Exploration of scripts using the Chekhov techniques will include a Caryl Churchill piece, “Seven Jewish Children” a non-verbal piece from the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale entitled ‘The Mother’and Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children.




Week 1.

Introduction to Michael Chekhov

1. Chekhov Chart. Twenty examples/summaries of various techniques

2. Movement exercises utilizing the whole body and incorporating the Imaginary Centre 1, Molding and Flowing Exercises.

I will be using the official DVD from the Michael Chekhov school (MICHA) on occasion to demonstrate exercises.



Week 2.

Movement exercises in Radiating, Flying

Using Music

Throwing the Ball exercise in ‘giving and receiving’ (Radiating) qualities

Sustaining with exercises

Chekhov exercise working on the Imaginary Centre (different locations)

Exercises using part of script from Dancing at Lughnasa.



Week 3.

Chekhov’s view of the will, qualities and sensations

Feeling of Ease, Feeling of Truth, Feeling of Form

Feeling of Beauty and Feeling of Entirety

Using excerpts from The Seagull and performing a series of exercises on the above qualities and atmosphere.

Repeating exercises on Molding, Flowing, Flying and Radiating


Week 4

Introduction of the short play “Seven Jewish Children” by Caryl Churchill

Workshop and rehearsal of piece with music.


Week 5.

Characterization and Creative Imagination

 Script Mother Courage and her Children. The class will take separate sections of script for analysis. Performing firstly in mime and using a music score, using the techniques of Molding, Flowing, Radiating and experimenting with different imaginary bodies

Step into this imaginary body, then move and speak.


Week 6.

How to awaken Artistic Feelings and Emotions

The Chekhov Technique requires that the Actor become sensitive to the inseparable connection between the physical body and the psychology.

Individual class work to awaken artistic Feelings and Emotions by permeating movements with Qualities,

Using the script Seven Jewish Children in a rehearsal format.


Week 7

The Psychological Gesture

Using seven illustrations from the Chekhov techniques the class will discuss the qualities, gestures and physical technique of each definite form

Each student will participate in their own Psychological Gestures to awaken will, definite desires, strengths and Qualities



Week 8

Psychological Gesture continued

Excerpts from Mother Courage and Her Children. Practical interpretation with individual and ensemble movement

Class will be in two sections where each group observe each other, participate in class discussion and reflect the experience in weekly journal.


Week 9

‘The Mother’ by Hans Christian Anderson

Script analysis and structure in preparation for end of Semester Non Verbal Performance with music.


Week 10

Further work on script, casting of characters, ensemble work and blocking.


Week 11

Full rehearsal of piece and public performance.



Class Participation. Attendance. Weekly reflective Journal.

End of Semester Performance.





50% of marks are for the continuous written journal

50% of marks are allocated for the final performance of the Fairy Tale “The Mother” by Hans Christian Anderson.


TP107: Second Semester

Course A: Applied Psychophysical Techniques

Sarah O’Toole


We will be building on from Mary McPartlan’s course in the first semester and learning how to apply the psychophysical techniques explored there to dramatic text.


This course will focus using Stanislavskian-based analysis to mine dramatic texts for information that is “actable” rather than theoretical. We then learn how to take this information into our bodies and imaginations in order to transform ourselves on the stage using the techniques of Michael Chekhov (and in one instance, those of Augusto Boal.)


The texts that we shall be working on are:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov (Nick Hern edition)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy adapted by Helen Edmundson


The students need NOT have read any of the plays before the start of the course as I would like to start with fresh perceptions of the pieces where possible. However, a play is assigned one week, it does need to have been read for the next. I always ask students to immediately note their first impressions on reading a play as this is often a useful reference throughout a rehearsal process and also allows the actor to gain a sense of ownership over their response to the text from the outset.


For the first nine weeks we will be working on different aspects of the texts and acting techniques. For the last three we will be preparing for an end of term performance which shall be chosen by the students in response to the work we have done. The final classes shall be performance and feedback, but the two preceding classes will be an opportunity to work on our ideas and I will be there to give guidance and feedback and to challenge what the students are doing.


This is an open-ended exercise, designed to give the students ownership of what they have encountered this term by presenting their understanding of it.

- It can be group or solo.

- It can be from a text we used in class, one from outside or it can be devised in response to one of the texts.

- It can be a character portrayal or a monologue or a presentation about the in-depth research that has gone into a character.

- It needs to refer to or clearly show the use of the techniques we have covered this semester.

- It should be between 6-10 minutes (if group work) 2-4 minutes (if solo) 5-7 minutes (if in pairs)


Just to warn in advance that punctuality and attendance factor very highly in my marking scheme, as discipline and commitment to others in your group is the first and most essential skill that any aspiring theatre practitioner needs to acquire.


Also, I will be marking the end of term performances in terms of how much they reflect the exercises and techniques covered in the course. You will be encouraged to record and analyse how you used those techniques to create your end of term performance in the final 2000 word reflective assignment that you will also be marked on.


Session One

Relaxation - Concentration of Attention - Observation

Waking Up the Instrument

How an actor reads a play - first impressions, six fundamental questions, the “lure”

HOMEWORK - Read “The Importance of Being Earnest”


Session Two

The Golden Hoop

Concentration of Attention exercise around the “lure” of a character

Mental Reconnaissance of Play - using seven planes of text and given circumstances

Creating a fresh group response to the play in the form of a trailer


Session Three

Inner Movement - Expanding/Contracting

Revisiting the archetypal gestures encountered with Mary

Returning to the “lure” and finding Superobjective

Introduction to Active Analysis, units and beats

Actioning the text

HOMEWORK - Read “Anna Karenina”


Session Four

Substance, Atmosphere and the Body

The Atmospheres in “Anna Karenina”

Atmosphere and Composition - how does my character relate to the objective atmosphere in a scene/in a piece?

Qualities vs atmospheres

WHAT and HOW - Actions and Qualities


Session Five

Qualities of Movements and Centres


Marrying Superobjective and Psychological Gestures

Adding Qualities

Looking at the arc of the character’s journey


Session Six

Ease, Form, Wholeness, Beauty.

Movement and Ensemble in “Anna Karenina”

HOMEWORK - Read “The Seagull”


Session Seven

Discussion of “The Seagull” as comedy

Composition and Polarity

Stripping down the bare essentials of the play and seeing if we can perform it

gesturally with the group

HOMEWORK - Reread play from point of view of an assigned character


Session Eight

Blocking a scene from “The Seagull”

Essential elements of Stagecraft

Exploring how aspects of the physical work we have done with Chekhov tie in with the practicalities of blocking a piece

The connection between the practicalities of movement onstage and meaning in the piece

Stage picture as communicating another level to the story

Session Nine

Rehearsing a scene from “The Seagull” using Augusto Boalʼs seven rehearsal techniques in order to really challenge the actors to present their characterʼs point of view

Exploring how the objective in each beat matches up with the superobjective


Session Ten

Performance Preparation Session


Session Eleven

Performance Preparation Session


Session Twelve

Final Performance and Feedback



The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit - Bella Merlin

On the Technique of Acting - Michael Chekhov

Actions: The Actor's Thesaurus - Marina Caldarone

Course Part B: Improvisation and Character Development

Vincent O’Connell


Mode of Assessment:

  • Workshop Participation and Attendance:  30%
  • Scene Enactments                                          : 15%
  • Podcast Recordings                                       :    5%
  • Reflective Journal                                          :  50%


Session 1: Introduction to Improvisation

  • Improvisation and the organic and creative process of acting
  • Improvisation and the given circumstances
  • Viola Spolin and the actor penetrating into the environment


Session 2: Stage Space

  • Viola Spolin and the three environments of stage space
  • Uta Hagen and physical destination
  • Stanislavski and the actor being in the moment


Session 3: Stage Production and Character Portrayal

  • Stanislavski and the actor mapping out actions
  • Stage production and the internal and external events of the play
  • Stanford Meisner and the actor’s paraphrase


Session 4: Acting and Adaptation

  • Acting and the principle of adaptation
  • Stanislavski’s acting principle of I am in character portrayal
  • Stanislavski and the circle of attention
  • Acting and the principle of abstraction


Session 5: Status and Character Portrayal

                      Acting and Self Discovery

  • John Elsam and status in character portrayal:

social status, verbal status, physical status

  • Stanislavski and reincarnation
  • Jerzy Grotowski and acting and self discovery
  • Stella Adler and the growing process of the actor


Session 6: The Inner Creative State

  • Lee Strasberg and sense memory
  • Personal experience and the given circumstances
  • Stanford Meisner and particularizations
  • Stanford Meisner and the daydream in acting and character portrayal


Session 7: Stage Production and Character Rhythm

  • Stanislavski and tempo-rhythm in acting
  • Physical and psychological tempo-rhythm in character portrayal
  • Acting and stage business: props and their significance
  • Impediments and their significance in character portrayal


  Session 8: Acting and the Voice

  • Jerzy Grotowski and the carrying power of the voice
  • Audience communication: tempo, rate and the subtext
  • John Elsam’s LINT: adjusting loudness, inflection, note and tone


Session 9: Acting and Speech

  • Stanislavski and scenic speech
  • Operative words and the subtext
  • John Elsam’s PADS: pace, accent, diction and the use of specials in scenic speech


Session 10: Character Portrayal and Audience Systems

  • Uta Hagen and audience awareness
  • Stanislavski and the actor-and audience relationship
  • Stanislavski and the principle of communion


The plays chosen for this module are:

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams       

Red Roses and Petrol by Joseph O’ Connor                              


The groups will comprise of either three or four students in each case. Each group chooses a scene from either A Streetcar named Desire or Red Roses and Petrol.  The groups will record their scene enactments in the form of podcast recordings, these recordings are to be completed by the end of March.


The scene enactments will take place in the final week of the semester in the Bank of Ireland Theatre. Props, costumes and stage lighting will be provided for the scene enactments. Scene enactments shall be performed in front of a live audience.


The reflective journal is to be completed and by Friday the 13th April.
























TP108: YEAR LONG Theatre History Course

Nelson Barre

The class is designed to introduce you to the study of modern theatre history. Through reading plays, in-class discussion and practical projects, we will explore script analysis, practical interpretation, and dramaturgical research. Over the course of the semester, you will be introduced to several major works of theatre, their historical context, and production histories. Along with the weekly readings and discussions, there will be two performance projects – a monologue and a short scene – to allow a chance to stage pieces of the plays.


To evolve and deepen the understanding of theatre history, its content and contexts.
To develop and demonstrate competence in the discussion and understanding of theatre, in performance and on the page.
To take ideas from theory to practice by performing monologues and scenes after careful analysis.
To cultivate one’s individual passion for ideas and for human stories, to see a greater multitude of possibilities within given situations, and to work effectively with others.
To deepen one’s capacity to view and analyze works of theatre from a directorial perspective.


Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
Bertolt Brecht, Threepenny Opera
Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats…
Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine
(All are provided online via Drama Online database)

In-class discussion, mini research projects, and participation (40%)
Monologue performance (10%)
Scene performance (20%)
Mid-term research project (10%)
Final research project (15%)
Response to one production, professional or DramSoc (5%)


Weekly Assignments:

Semester One

1 – Introductions; or Theatre History until Realism

2 – An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

3 – Mini Research Project –review and images from one production of Ibsen’s play

4 – The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht; Monologue selection due

5 – Mini Research Project – historical context for Brecht’s play

6 – Monologue performances

7 – Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill; Mid-term Research Project due (500 words)

8 – Mini Research Project – select artistic or musical inspiration for Churchill’s play

9 – By the Bog of Cats… by Marina Carr; Final scene selection due

10 – Mini Research Project – imagine staging for Carr’s play

11 – Previews; Theatre response due (250 words)

12 – Final scene performances

Final Research Project due (1,000 words) one week after final class

NB: Semester two will roughly follow this schedule. Plays for the second semester will be announced before the final performances.