Course Overview

This programme offers students the opportunity to specialise in at least one of the following areas: Playwriting, Arts Journalism (especially theatre criticism), and Non-Fiction Writing About Theatre. This course is unique internationally in focussing on the art of writing for theatre across forms and genres. All students in the course take modules on playwriting and other forms of writing for the theatre—and they then have opportunities to specialise further, based on their own skills and interests.

This course is unique internationally in focussing on the art of writing for theatre across forms and genres. All students in the course take modules on playwriting and other forms of writing for the theatre – and they then have opportunities to specialise further, based on their own skills and interests.

In blending these forms of writing, we aim to produce graduates with a uniquely well rounded set of skills. Students will not just write plays, but will also attend the theatre weekly. Because they will study both creative writing and arts journalism, our students will have a strong understanding of how their work is judged – and will thus be better able to judge it themselves. Because of NUI Galway’s rich tradition of theatre production, writers will have ample opportunities to workshop and stage their plays. And because Galway has such a strong tradition of live theatre (and other creative arts), students with an interest in arts journalism will be able to see world-class work throughout the academic year.

Students also have access to the Abbey Theatre digital archive, providing an insight into the development of work by many major Irish writers, including W.B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey, J.M. Synge, Conor McPherson, Frank McGuinness, Marina Carr, and hundreds of others.

The course draws on NUI Galway’s long track record of producing award-winning theatre critics, authors, academics, and playwrights. It involves weekly writers’ workshops with experienced authors, and gives students an excellent grounding in many different skills. The course concludes with the production of a portfolio. This might take the form of a full-length play, an extended series of reviews, or a long biographical or historical essay on a figure or company in the creative arts. 

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

There are some scholarship opportunities available for this programme. Please visit the MA (Humanities) Scholarships website for more information.

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

  • Professor Patrick Lonergan
  • Dr Charlotte McIvor
  • Dr Miriam Haughton
  • Thomas Conway, Druid Director-in-Residence
  • Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy 

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

At least a Second Class Honours, Grade 2 (H2.2 or GPA 3.0) undergraduate degree, a personal statement addressing their theatre experiences and aims, two letters of reference, and a writing sample (5–6 pages)—this can be an academic essay, creative writing or theatre reviews. Entry for candidates with significant relevant experience may be possible. Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirements may be admitted via a qualifying exam if they have relevant professional experience, or be admitted to the PDip. Students who do not meet the Honours degree requirement but have a Level 7 (Merit 2) degree may be admitted to the PDip course, with the possibility of progressing to the MA if they receive a minimum of 60% in their course work during the year.

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15

Closing Date

Please view offer rounds website

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

PAC code

GYA05

Course Outline

All students take the following four courses, each worth 10 ECTs:

  • Playwright’s Workshop I;
  • Writing about Theatre and Performance;
  • Reviewing Theatre in Ireland;
  • Playwriting.

They then choose two optional modules (each worth 10 ECTs) from the following list:

  • Playwright’s Workshop II: Adaptation;
  • Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present;
  • The Abbey Theatre Digital Archives;
  • Druid Archives;
  • Theatre Theory;
  • Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O’Casey;
  • Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the present.

During the summer, students complete a major portfolio, worth 30 ECTs, involving the production of a substantial selection of play reviews, the completion of a play or suite of plays, or a lengthy piece of non-fiction (including creative non-fiction) about theatre.

Modules for 2015-16

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required DT6104: Portfolio


Trimester 3 | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module DT6104: "Portfolio" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN584: Writing about Theatre and Performance


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN584: "Writing about Theatre and Performance" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN613: The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN613: "The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN6109: From Globe to Globe: Contextualising Shakespeare on stage and on screen


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module focuses on reading Shakespeare’s plays, and their adaptations, contextually. Students will be encouraged to locate their readings of the plays amid early modern discussions of a variety of religious-political topics before moving to consider the shaping influence of historical and cultural contexts on recent filmic and theatrical translations of Shakespeare’s plays from across the globe. In this regard, the module will investigate the malleability of Shakespeare as a cultural icon across a variety of languages and cultures, and focus particularly on adaptions in languages other than English. * Seminar discussion of the adaptations will attend to political and linguistic context and cultural tradition, and confront issues of location, translation, representation and generic difference. Across the course, students will be invited to consider the complex speaking positions that reside within these intercultural exchanges and investigate Shakespeare’s status as a global signifier of cultural capital.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. read texts in their historical contexts
  2. understand recent developments in the digital and global interpretation of Shakespeare’s work
  3. demonstrate awareness of how Shakespeare is performed across nations and cultures.
  4. critically assess the plays of Shakespeare and the processes through which they have been appropriated
  5. offer intelligent analysis of literary texts and visual samples
  6. engage with post-colonial criticism and performance and film criticism
  7. demonstrate research skills appropriate to postgraduate study
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Norton Shakespeare" by Stephen Greenblatt
  2. "Shakespeare in China" by Murray Levith
    Publisher: Continuum
  3. "Post-Colonial Shakespeares" by Loomba and Orkin
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module EN6109: "From Globe to Globe: Contextualising Shakespeare on stage and on screen" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional DT6106: Thinking about Theatre


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

'Thinking about Theatre' introduced students to a selection of key thinkers on Western theatre and performance. Texts to be considered include extracts from Plato's 'The Republic,' Aristotle's 'The Poetics,' Sidney's 'Defense of Poesy,' Diderot's 'The Paradox of the Actor,' and Schiller's 'On the Tragic Art.' A range of contemporary thinkers--including Alain Badiou and Jacques Rancière--will also be considered.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify key features of western theatrical theory from the Greeks to the present day
  2. Analyse and relate strands of debates in critical discourse regarding theatre and performance over time
  3. Apply theoretical knowledge to the completion of an original research essay
  4. Situate theories of theatre in their historical contexts
  5. Formulate a coherent idea of the social and functions of theatre
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Republic, The" by Plato, Melissa Lane (Introduction), Desmond Lee (Translator)
    ISBN: 9780140455113.
    Publisher: Penguin Classics
  2. "Mimesis" by Matthew Potolsky
    ISBN: 9780415700290.
    Publisher: New York ; Routledge, 2006.
  3. "The aesthetics of mimesis" by Stephen Halliwell
    ISBN: 0691092583.
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
  4. "Art in theory, 1900-2000" by edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood
    ISBN: 9780631227083.
    Publisher: Malden, Mass. ; Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
  5. "Modern theories of drama" by edited and annotated by George W. Brandt
    ISBN: 0198711395.
    Publisher: Clarendon Press ; 1998.
  6. "Passionate amateurs" by Nicholas Ridout.
    ISBN: 9780472119073.
    Publisher: Ann Arbor; The University of Michigan Press
  7. "An Actress Prepares" by Rosemary Malague
    ISBN: 9780415681575.
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module DT6106: "Thinking about Theatre" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional DT6101: Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This course explores the history of Irish theatre from 1950 to the present, placing emphasis on the importance of Beckett for an understanding of Irish drama.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify key moments in Irish theatre history since 1950
  2. Describe and analyse the importance of social, cultural and economic factors in the development of Irish theatre history since 1950
  3. Produce a written research essay that deploys the skills of archival research, textual analysis, and performance analysis.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama" by John Harrington
  2. "Contemporary Irish Plays." by Patrick Lonergan
The above information outlines module DT6101: "Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN513: Playwright's Workshop I


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

A weekly writer’s workshop under the guidance of a playwright-in-residence. At the end of the semester, the students may select one or more scripts to stage for public performance at the university Theatre.

Learning Outcomes
  1. To be confirmed
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN513: "Playwright's Workshop I" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN611: Performance Lab


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This course explores the relationship between theory and practice in a laboratory format that combines making and staging work with critical investigation. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a critical vocabulary for approaching practice as research that will result in the creation of new devised or staged work guided by student's shared intellectual and artistic interests. The first part of the semester will be focused on a survey of divergent approaches to the creative process in contemporary performance practice by way of artist accounts, film viewings and performance outings, and engagement with critical theory focused in theatre and performance studies. In the second half of the semester, students will work in groups with instructor supervision to create or stage a collective work that engages a research problem or question resulting in public performance of these works. Students will also complete a final research paper locating their performance project and its desired interventions in genealogies of theatre and performance practice. Assessment: Weekly written assignments, practical classroom exercises, group performance project and final research paper.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Compare and contrast varying methods of contemporary theatre making
  2. Experiment actively with contemporary physical theatre and devising techniques in a collaborative workshop format
  3. Create an original performance or stage an original interpretation of a piece for performance
  4. Demonstrate advanced skills of group collaboration
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre" by Frantic Assembly
    ISBN: 978-113877701.
  2. "A Director Prepares" by Anne Bogart
    ISBN: 978-041523832.
  3. "Postdramatic theatre" by Hans-Thies Lehmann; translated and with an introduction by Karen J?urs-Munby
    ISBN: 0415268133.
    Publisher: London ; Routledge, 2006.
The above information outlines module EN611: "Performance Lab" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN520: Fieldwork And Theatre Business


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

A schedule of backstage, participative internships with theatre companies, in order to work with members of the company in dramaturgy, set design, lighting design, costume design, mask and puppet design, directing, improvisation, collaboration, mime, funding, publicity, and other practical elements of theatre business. The written work for this course be a journal submitted weekly (by paper or E-mail), and the whole revised for final presentation at the end of the semester. Attendance at the Friday guest speaker seminars is also an essential part of this course.

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN520: "Fieldwork And Theatre Business" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN583: Playwriting


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN583: "Playwriting" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN515.II: Reviewing Theatre in Ireland


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Brief Academic Description After introductory classroom sessions on the qualities of the review as a genre, the class regularly attend plays in Galway, and sometimes elsewhere, in order to write about them. Class-meetings are workshops centered on these writings and their revision for publication. In addition to reviews, students write feature-articles on playwrights, directors, etc., studies of reception, and more speculative pieces on ’the state of the stage’.

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN515.II: "Reviewing Theatre in Ireland" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional DT6109: Applied Theatre


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This course introduces students to core concepts and practices in the field of applied theatre techniques which includes but is not limited to educational theatre, Theatre for Social Change, community arts/theatre,Theatre of the Oppressed and other Boalian techniques, theatre for development, and prison theatre.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify key working methods and genres in the practice of applied theatre.
  2. Distinguish between different working methodologies and genres within the larger field of applied theatre.
  3. Analyse key debates over ethics and collaboration in this field of practice.
  4. Building on our practical classroom exercises, lead basic exercises from each major genre of applied theatre discussed in class.
  5. Interrogate the role of the faciliator in applied theatre work.
  6. Propose a framework for their own independent applied theatre project.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of a more advanced repertoire of activities and techinques from one targeted area of specialisation in applied theatre.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Applied Theatre Reader" by Sheila Preston and Tim Prentki
  2. "Theatre of Good Intentions: Challenges and Hopes for Theatre and Social Change" by Dani Snyder-Young
  3. "Games for Actors and Non-Actors" by Augusto Boal
  4. "Community Performance: An Introduction" by Petra Kuppers
  5. "Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the United States" by Jan Cohen-Cruz
The above information outlines module DT6109: "Applied Theatre" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN615: Directing for Stage


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This course provides students an introduction to modern and contemporary directing practice, using case studies and engaging in practical exercises.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify and describe key examples of contemporary directing practices, nationally and internationally
  2. Put into practice key directing strategies from the modern, postmodern, and post-dramatic traditions
  3. direct a small or large ensemble, using techniques worked on in class
  4. Identify and describe the distinctions between devised and text-based directing.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Actor and the Target" by Declan Donnellan
  2. "On Directing" by Katie Mitchell
The above information outlines module EN615: "Directing for Stage" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN585: New Approaches to Performance


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN585: "New Approaches to Performance" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional DT6102: Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O'Casey


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This course explores the history of Irish drama and theatre from 1890 to 1930
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify, describe and analyse key moments in Irish theatre history from 1890 to 1930, with special focus on the Irish literary revival.
  2. produce a substantial research paper that deploys the skills of archival research, textual analysis and performance analysis.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Modern and contemporary Irish drama" by edited by John P. Harrington
    ISBN: 0393932435.
    Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.
  2. "The Irish Dramatic Revival: 1899-1939" by n/a
    ISBN: 978-140817528.
The above information outlines module DT6102: "Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O'Casey" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional EN537: Playwright's Workshop II : Adaptation


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This workshop-based module not only explores dramatic adaptation across different media but also uses the concept of adaptation to explore a range of playwriting strategies and dramaturgical approaches. Through the examination of play texts and writing tasks, students will learn ways to adapt fiction and documentary materials for the stage and for radio. Similarly, in two hour sessions, they will also examine the adaptation of established dramaturgical models such as the hero’s journey and the fairytale along with the more radical adaptation strategies of contemporary theatre. Students should be prepared to read work aloud in class and will learn to critique each other’s work. The module is assessed by the completion of a short analysis of a play in terms of the hero’s journey and fairytale structures; the writing of a short scene for radio and the completion of a longer scene of adaption for the stage. Students are encouraged to think of these scenes as the beginning of larger projects that could be developed and are encouraged to enter writing competitions such as RTE P.J. O’Connor Awards or to submit work to The New Theatre play reading sessions.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Compare styles of dramatic adaptations across different media.
  2. Analyse recurring dramatic structures in theatrical adaptation including the hero's journey and fairytale structures.
  3. Execute original adaptation of fictional and documentary materials for the stage and/or radio.
  4. Apply critical reflection strategies to self-assessment of original creative work within a lineage of artistic practice.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module EN537: "Playwright's Workshop II : Adaptation" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates will write professionally for or about the theatre, whether as playwrights, critics, dramaturges, directors, or scholars.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Dr Miriam Haughton
T: +353 91 494 485
E: miriam.haughton@nuigalway.ie
www.nuigalway.ie/drama/