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Third Year BA Connect
Please note that from September 2013, the BA Connect with Theatre and Performance (GY115) will be re-named the BA Connect with Performing Arts Studies. This change does not affect current students.
A full calendar will be made available but students may note the following dates:
- Week Beginning Monday 17 September: Classes begin formally
- 5 and 6 October 2012: Dublin Theatre Festival Visit (for those who choose this option)
- 23 November 2012: Classes End. NB – there will be a showcase performance for the devising module this week.
- 18 or 25 February (TBC): Second Semester begins for those doing classes
- CLASSES WILL CONTINUE DURING THE EASTER PERIOD
- 23-28 April 2013 – dates of Second Semester Performance
You register for one of the two following courses:
- TP311: Performance in Theory and Practice (30)
- TP312: International Theatre Experience (30)
If you are going abroad, you must register for TP312. If you are staying in Ireland, for classes or internships or any other accredited work, you register for TP311.
In semester two there are three courses:
- TP307: Theatre in Practice (30)
- TP310: Theatre Experience Abroad (30)
- TP305, Practical Theatre Experience (PS)
Students who are staying in Ireland register for TP307, those going abroad for TP310, and those doing Psychology for TP305.
MODULE A: AN INTRODUCTION TO PLAYWRIGHTING
Monday 2-4 BOI Theatre
This course is a practical introduction to playwriting. Each week an aspect of drama in relation to playwriting will be considered, including character, plot, and dialogue. This wille followed by writing exercises. During the course, each participant will be expected to work on a short one act play or a scene from a larger play. It is hoped that each piece can be worked on during writing exercises, with a full read through and discussion of all plays during the last two classes. It is preferable that this is a new piece, but can also be something already conceived.
Week 1: Introduction and Getting started: An overview of the course as well as the first discussion on major questions. Why do we write? Where does our inspiration come from? What is our idea, where did it come from and how this can help with our writing?
Week 2: Character: How well do we need to know our characters? Why is this important?
Week 3: Language: Dialogue. How dialogue and language inform our play. A look at the different styles of language and dialogue in plays.
Week 4: Structure: What exactly makes a scene? What does it need? How does this build a play. What exactly is an Act and what should each individual act contain?
Week 5: Plot: What is plot? Is it important? Plot versus Character in playwriting.
Week 6: Action/Conflict: The importance of action in the play as shown through language, event, and re-action.
Week 7: Form: Tone: Style: A look at form, and tone and some of the different styles in theatre.
Week 8: Drafting and Re-Drafting: Rarely is a play written in one draft. How to approach re-drafting. When do you know it’s finished? Is it ever finished?
Week 9: Student play read through and discussion.
Week 10: Student play read through and discussion.
MODULE B: Contemporary Visions of Ireland in Performance
Emma Creedon and Miriam Haughton
This module analyses dramatic representations of contemporary Ireland in performance. It investigates counter-narratives of the Irish theatrical tradition, observing how contemporary playwrights and productions have drawn on and contested existing dramatic tropes and patterns to interrogate the personal and political dimensions of Irish identity. This course will address questions of national identity, gender and sexuality in performance as well as examining dramatic visions of rural and urban spaces. There will be a particular emphasis on the theatricality of the texts and how the drama operates on the stage to initiate enquiries into the performance of “Irishness”. The module will be of an interdisciplinary nature and plays will be approached comparatively, considering alternative depictions of present-day Ireland in other media such as film and site-specific performance.
Course Outline from 10 September 2012
- Week 1: Irishness in Performance: Tropes and Trends (MH)
- Week 2: The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh (* Recommended viewing of In Bruges) (EC)
- Week 3: Howie the Rookie by Mark O’Rowe (* Recommended viewing of Intermission) (MH)
- Week 4: A Woman in Progress by Panti (EC)
- Week 5: On Raftery’s Hill by Marina Carr (MH)
- Week 6: The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh (* Recommended viewing of Hunger) (EC)
- Week 7: Laundry directed by Louise Lowe for Anu Productions (MH)
- Week 8: The Seafarer by Conor McPherson (EC)
- Week 9: B for Baby by Carmel Winters (MH)
- Week 10: Review *** Possible Guest Speaker (Playwright/Practitioner) (EC)
Critical reading will also be required. Students will be encouraged to attend at least one performance of an Irish play during the duration of the course.
Learning Outcomes and Objectives:
By the end of this module a successful student will:
- Demonstrate critical engagement with the idea of 'Irishness' as performative.
- Produce an appropriate knowledge of theoretical frameworks to the analysis of theatre, performance and culture in writing.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the performativity of the dramatic text, the theatricality of the writing and the role of the theatre practitioner in its execution through an assessed presentation.
- Possess skills in both textual and performance analyses.
Class Participation: 10%
Module C: Devising
Devised theatre is a recent phenomenon and current preoccupation. I believe the purpose of devised theatre is to deal with frustration felt about the way theatre has been made in the past. Improvisation is part of the process of devising. All rehearsals are a process of discovery and devising. Improvisation and devising skills are essential tools to as a theatre practitioner and artist. We use this module to study international companies that are well known devisers and creators of their own work. By studying the various different companies it will become clear what methods they use and what tactics they employ when devising.
The aim of the module is to build an understanding of processes used when devising. Different devising techniques shall be explored throughout the module. These techniques can be used to both explore and to originate texts. Student will have a knowledge and understanding of different rehearsal processes and techniques, well known companies who devise, and the roles and functions of all participants responsible for creating theatre. Students will also get the opportunity to create and devise their own work, and present it in a showcase performance at the end of the module.
- Exercises-Most classes commence with warm up exercises. Towards the end of the module students will devise and lead the exercises. Students can also use these exercises to help them interact with text. The exercises can help in understanding complex pieces of text. Devising exercises can help us to understand and interact with the text in a new and different way.
- Dream Diary-This is contributed to weekly, and shared in class towards the end of each week. Every week the student will share a story that is inspired by the dreams they have had during the week. The dream diary is used as a starting point for devising.
Do dreams warn us of consequences of actions/ our own action?
Do they make us face things we are trying to avoid?
Do they point towards solutions of problems?
Do they release hidden potentialities and repressed emotions in our nature?
Do they serve a biological function?
Do they stand in the place of experience?
The dream diary can also help when devising character. The invention of the characters dream can help discover unexpressed subtext.
The groups can try to imagine:
-the theme of the dream
-what kind of a character could have such a dream
-what kind of a genre would the dream require
-where could we locate these specific dreams in the play, at the beginning, in the middle or in the end.
- Text- The students must read a play that interests them. They have to find a scene that is the crux of the play. This will be used later on in the module as a means of devising. We will discuss this in the first week and decide on the plays to be chosen. I will recommend plays with large crowds – e.g. Top Girls, Governor Inspector, Festen, Seagull. These scenes allow for the whole class to get involved in the process and learn from the different means of devising and improvising.
- Logbook- The module will be assessed by Logbook. Each student will document his or her work each week, recording whatever has been discovered through research or learned in class, and any articles, images, sounds etc that inspire them. This will be assessed at the end of the module, along with their contribution to the course throughout the module. Students will be asked to document the devising process. Every week the group piece will be developed; this process must be tracked by each student.
- Our play- Every week, the class will employ a different method to develop the devised piece. Each student will be asked to record the process, what works best, and what must be left out. When devising, recording the information actually becomes a common problem. I will stress the importance of this with the class members. I will put in place certain conditions to allow for the piece to develop. For example, it is going to be a revenge story, the protagonist will be 11 years old, he will be given some presents by adults etc.
Each student will be asked to write the biographies of the different characters. We will then share these biographies, combine them and create our characters. We think about things such as relationships to begin with, then themes and events. This continues and a story/plot develops.
- Theatre Companies- Each class member is given a theatre company to research. Every week a different student must share their research and educate the class on the particular company.
The International companies that devise and will be researched independently by each individual student are-
The Wooster Group
Theatre du Soleil
Week One- What does it means to devise?
Talk about the different processes of devising, the different forms of inspiration-
Starting points for devising are-
We will discuss the different companies and allocate one to each student. The student has to research the company and every week there will be a different presentation. The students will be encouraged to prepare a varied and interesting presentation, whether it is sharing video footage with the group or trying out devising exercises they discovered through the research.
We will decide on the different ways we shall divide our own piece. I will explain how this is a collaborative process, which means that everyone has to contribute and get involved. There will be certain structures I will put in place to help the devising process, but outside of this the piece will be devised by the student. You will collectively decide on what you would like the piece to focus on.
Our play will be developed more and we will devote a specific amount of time to devising and working on the piece
The main elements to be established when devising deal with identifying place, time and situation.
- Set the scene- place should be made obvious for the audience
- Relationships onstage established
- Conflict makes scene dramatically interesting- clashing of opinions, disagreement, opposites or contradicting, different rhythms, conflict onstage.
- Unknown factors
- Identify the character as human beings, relate to the character, intimate details that makes you feel for them, care for the characters
- Make the action alive, honest, convincing and sincere
- Develop the scene, add layers and momentum
Everything should have a consequence and therefore conditions that should imposed
- Where- the actors are given a place
- Where and when- the actors are given a time and place
- Where and when and with objectives and intentions-objectives can sometimes lock the actor and character, both characters should have different objectives to make the scene more interesting.
- When , where, objectives and introduce one line of text- most difficult
Week two- Devising from Character
Group activities such as hot seating, psychological gestures and Character X games provide the students with different ways to create and imagine their own characters. They can create characters as a group. This also involves looking at the effect of Public and Private Incidents that affect the life of the character. The class will also talk about how environment shapes the landscape of the character and the condition that change and alter the character.
A lot of devised work is created with character as the starting point. This is because of the way actors are trained and educated. The Stanislavski approach is where you firstly try to discover what the character is about. Devising is an actor-led process and the job is to develop a character. When devising a story, is it easier to go from character to situation. When improvising the situation, it can be difficult to exclude character, as actors centre on characters. Characters have both a private life, personal life and unconscious life.
Hot seating is a way in which you can help an actor. You can assist the actor in creating a better understanding of the character. Everyone pitches in with questions which will help everyone have a better understanding of the character and their motivations. Other sideline characters are born while developing a main character.
Here are examples of some of the exercises-
- All have to say one line you think that character X would say. Three people leave the room and re-enter and describe what type of person character X is. You have to imagine the character from the phrases contributed by the group e.g. . Essex girl biker, middle aged farmer. The manner in which the line is said should not inform the character.
- All have to say one thing you think character X would do.
- Significant private event in your life and in life of a character.
- Significant public events in your life and in life of a character.
The private events usually centre on birth, death, teaching and education, a point where you were recognised for being good at something, travel and relationships. The significant events are what affects the characters and influences them and makes them who they are. This all helps the actor understand and explore their character; it can help them comprehend why the character holds a certain opinions.
Week Three-Devising from sound.
Every student must find a sound that they consider to be stimulating e.g. piece of music, outdoor noise, someone’s voice. These sounds will be shared within the class. By using exercises created by ‘Gecko Theatre Company’ we will work on creating non- verbal scenes, inspired by sound.
Sound can inspire theme, characters, physical movement, scenario and story line.
Sensory recall depends on the person. Each sound has its own length and rhythm, its very own texture. There is something that happens within a specific period of time.
We will study a production of a piece called ‘Silence’ which was created by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Filter Theatre Company under the director of David Farr. The piece was inspired by sound and devised by the group.
Week four- Devising from newspaper article.
A common way of devising is through the use of a news paper article as a form of inspiration. Once you see the article, you can ask yourself what you get form the article and what plot line springs to mind.
The student is inspired by recent events social and political. We will also discuss verbatim theatre and how it operates as a tool when devising.
Class Exercise- Get the student to find their own article that speaks to them and inspired them. Use this to devise a piece. Come up with plot line inspired by the article by moving from: Article---story---theme--- plot.
You can structure the story on the basis of theme. The plot had to be structured in the best way possible to suit the themes of the story.
Week 5- Devising from Visual Stimuli.
Students must find an image e.g. piece of art, advertisement, picture that inspires them and awakens their imagination. They will then use this in class to try and devise a story line or situation. By using the different stimuli for devising, the class can also compare the methods and find which works better than others.
Devising Theatre Exercise-Visual Stimuli create piece of devised theatre.
- activity through direct association, responds to the picture, performs and action that is short and repeated, is given direction
- join the first actor by doing the same activity, and is given direction, then sees the picture and responds , while at the same time linking the response to actor ones movement
- Joins actors with something completely different and dramatic, is then shown the picture an all have to merge and morph to similar action united and together
Once you start to devise a narrative, you will need to look out for conflict, opposition, obstacles ad the object of attention. A narrative must have a start and a finish. A linear structure automatically comes about as you add actors 2 and 3 and the group reach the climax of the action together.
Week 6- Devising from text
The students will have read and studied their chosen play. We will work with large group scenes that can involve the whole class. By choosing a complex scene the students will come to realise that the improvisation allow you to look at the text in a new way. The students must write about how they felt improvising without the text. Did the exercises free the text and gave them a new insight?
This exercise can also be applied to scenes in plays where there are more than 8 people, e.g. Crowd scenes.
-How do the scenes function as starting points for devising?
-What kind of devising exercises could we explore to develop the scenes?
-What can we explore in the scenes by improvisation?
-What kind of exercises can we create to explore the relationships in the scenes?
Status Games with Cards-
Power and status in scene work-hierarchy onstage always exists
Play with the scene changing the status of the players in the scene indicated by giving them different cards from a pack; the status you play depends on the card you get ranging from and Ace to a 2. Small physical gestures can subtly indicate status and immediately open up aspects of a scene you never knew existed.
Choose a sentence form the scene that epitomises the character and then play the same scene just using the one line to tell the story. This helps you too explore the scene and explore the subtext
Week 7 and 8-Our Play
We will devise our own play by using the methods from previous weeks. A collective decision must be made in reaching a compromise and deciding on common themes, choosing characters and creating a story. This is a collaborative experience for the whole class. Every student has to document the process. They will start to discover how they themselves prefer to devise. Every student must contribute to the devising process e.g. they must write a piece of text that will be used in the performance piece, or choreograph movement for the piece. We will use material from the visual, aural and written sources in the previous weeks. We will also employ methods used by companies that have been studied researched by the groups.
Week 9- Performance
The piece will be performed as a group and showcased in the B.O.I space before an audience. The piece will be a work in progress. The aim for it will be to showcase the work of the students and explore the dimension of performance.
The students reflect on the process, their performance piece and what they have learnt.
Katie Mitchell’s- Waves
Graham, Scott &Hogget, Steven – Frantic Assemble Book of Devising Theatre (Oberon 2009)
Anne Bogart- A Director Prepares (Routledge 2001)
Alison Oddey- Devising Theatre (Routledge, 1996)
Module D: Old Stories, New Directions
This course investigates the intersection of ‘old’ and ‘new’ in theatre. Very often the most innovative and experimental theatre-makers return to old or even ancient plays – suggesting that perhaps the spectrum between classical, traditional, contemporary and avant-garde is more cyclical than we think! The rules, forms and structures of traditional and classical performance are often a starting point – or a point of resistance – for contemporary theatre-makers. This course will examine some of the rules of various kinds of theatre, and then investigate how various theatre-makers have broken them. Innovation often emerges at the point when older structures need to be reinvented or enhanced – and indeed several of the ‘classical’ texts we will spend time on are examples of this. Several of the productions in the Dublin Theatre Festival this year seem to bear this out – two productions that take Shakespeare’s tragedies at their starting point are among the programme’s highlights. While they are not on the syllabus proper, we will also hopefully find time to discuss productions like Rimini Protokoll’s new Enemy of the People, and, if it continues to develop, the work that The Company are hoping to do on The Oresteia.
- an awareness of the richness of theatrical tradition, and of specific ‘innovations’ across its history
- a broader knowledge of “the canon”
- an open-minded view of the spectrum between tradition and innovation
Each session will consist of a short lecture/presentation from CH, in-class presentations by students on assigned material, a general discussion and some practical work. If we have time we will also view clips and fragments from pertinent projects and productions.
In-Class Presentation (each student will give 2) 20%
Final Project 35%
Introduction - “Old” vs “New”
In this session we will discuss the shape and outline of the course, and several key practitioners will be introduced. I’ll also discuss the reading lists and assignments for the course.
Greek Tragedy (I)
Lecture: Aeschylus the Innovator
Presentations: Ancient Greek Theatre and its Rules
Viewing: Aeschylus in Production (clips from productions by Peter Stein, Ariane Mnouchkine, various Greek directors)
Greek Tragedy (II)
Lecture: Euripides the Iconoclast
Presentations: Greek Tragedy and Modern Theatre
Viewing: Euripides in Production (clips from productions by Deborah Warner, Yukio Ninagawa, Tadashi Suzuki, various Greek directors)
Lecture: The Politics of Comedy – Aristophanes in the 20th Century
Presentations: Comedy vs. Tragedy
Viewing: Selected productions of Greek comedy from Greece in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Lecture: From the Greeks to the Elizabethans (2000 years in 20 minutes)
Presentations: Shakespeare’s Globe and its Rules
Viewing: Shakespeare in Production (clips from productions by Peter Brook, Peter Stein, Peter Hall, et al)
Lecture: Shakespeare the Innovator
Presentations: Contemporary Directors of Shakespeare (informal in-class presentation of essay material)
Viewing: TBD. May be replaced by discussion of performances from Dublin Theatre Festival, if enough participants have seen the Wooster Group Hamlet and/or Pan Pan’s King Lear.
Essay Due – 2000 word research paper on any contemporary director’s approach to Shakespeare. Essay topic must be approved by the end of Week Four, in preparation for our in-class discussion in Week Five.
Lecture: The rudest plays ever written?
No In-Class Presentations this week
Lecture: The Total Art-Form? Gluck (and then Wagner) as Innovators
Presentations: Greek Tragedy and Mythology in Opera, The Rules of Opera
Viewing: Gluck Orfeo ed Eurydice by Robert Wilson, Pina Bausch, Barbara Willis Sweete; Wagner Ring Cycle by Patrice Chereau, Robert LePage, La Fura dels Baus
Lecture: Bodies in Motion – from the Greeks to the Germans
Presentations: Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures, Pina Bausch’s Wuppertal Dance Theatre
Viewing: Selected pieces by Matthew Bourne, Pina Bausch, Martha Graham
Lecture: A brief history of Japanese Theatre in 25 Minutes or Less
Presentations: Noh, Kabuki,
Viewing: Three separate interpretations of The Maiden at Dojoji Temple (one Noh, one Kabuki, one Modern)
SEMESTER 2: THEATRE EXPERIENCE (semester 2 for 12 weeks)
Please note that this session runs throughout the Easter vacation
This is a hands-on theatre course, taught off-campus by practising theatre professionals. It emphasizes practical and performance based skills and aims to develop those competencies acquired by students in years 1 and 2. The term would be linked with a professional theatre company, Decadent Theatre, and will be housed between Nun’s Island Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. The term will expose participants to the practice of making theatre. This practice will be facilitated through the medium of creating a professional environment for students to create a full- scale theatre production(s). This production(s) will see participants rehearsing as actors with a professional director while also giving participants the opportunity to work on the technical side of theatre alongside a professional costume designer and lighting designer and being involved in set design.
Participants will also be given an opportunity to work on practical aspects of professional theatre (e.g Production management, stage management, prop making, set buliding and scenic art work.)
The project is divided into 3 strands
Andrew Flynn and Rod Goodall facilitate a number of workshops on Irish Theatre and Stage combat.
- Modern Irish Theatre (Facilitator: Andrew Flynn)
This module will be facilitated in the spirit of a professional rehearsal room making a creative, safe and collaborative working environment. Taking a variety of Modern Irish texts, participants will explore and interrogate scenes and characters using the tools that are applied when staging a work. The facilitator will take on the role of director and engage with participants as professional actors. This will see participants bringing characters to life and playing scenes in an effort to discover how to make the scenes and play work. Through this practice participants will develop a range of skills that will enhance their ability and performance techniques.
- Conflict and Combat with Classical text
Facilitator: Rod Goodall
This module aims to develop participants skills in stage combat while also giving them an opportunity to explore classic texts. The training will be both hands on and physical. It will also teach participants how to create what appears as realistic physical engagement to the audience without hurting each other. The module will begin with director/actor Rod Goodall transferring skills in the following disciplines:
- Unarmed Combat
- Fist Fights
- Stick Fights
- Falling on stage
- Sword fights
The module will place a strong emphasis on the action and reaction to combat . Once participants have developed these skills to a competent and safe level the participants will bring these skills to play by looking at conflict that leads to combat in classical texts. Participants under the facilitators direction will rehearse each scene exploring the text and characters and then will collaborate on choreographing fight routines into the scenarios .
2. Professional Production
This will form the main body of the project. The students will audition and be cast in a production that will go into a professional rehearsal schedule (for 5-6 weeks) During this time participants will learn stage craft and explore and interrogate a script as they work with the director in a collaborative way and produce the play. This will see the establishment of a dedicated professional rehearsal room to create and explore a chosen play(S).
- Work in a collaborative way
- It will sharpen their dramatic imagination and creativity
- Explore text and subtext
- Interrogate a text and character
- Understand the mechanics of play
- Build gradually towards a performance
- To learn that rehearsal is about discovery and getting it wrong
Alongside their acting role, students will be given the opportunity to work on other creative aspects of production from costumes to stage management. This will give participants an opportunity to examine all facets of what is involved in creating a professional play. The students will have access to professional lighting and costume designers. They will have an involvement in the set design and also work on technical aspects like stage management, prop making, scenic painting.