Acting and Irish Theatre

Acting and Irish Theatre is a course for international students who wish to expand, explore and deepen their awareness of Irish Theatre

Four weeks2018 dates to be confirmed18+10.00am – 5.00pm€2,250 Non Residential
Four weeks2018 dates to be confirmed18+10.00am-5.00pm€3,573 Residential


This course is aimed at theatre and acting students around the world who wish to explore and experience Irish Theatre while immersed in its native context.

This course is worth 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits towards any third level drama qualification.

Participants on the course will engage with some of Ireland’s greatest writers, both classic and contemporary, including Sean O’Casey, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Conor McPherson and Marina Carr; studying the literary and performance context of each play.

Acting, Voice and Movement classes are taught by leading Irish directors and dramaturgues and will focus on the unique demands of performing Irish plays. Voice classes will focus on the particular requirements of Irish texts including a wide range of Irish contemporary and historic dialects. The actor will explore how movement in different Irish plays changes relative to culture, dress, dance, beliefs and environment. Students will engage with the physical embodiment of work as well as concepts of past-time and the muscularity of text.

Please Note: older applicants are advised that the course is physically demanding.


Bursaries are available for this course. They are means tested and can only be applied for once a place has been offered.

Apply Now

Complete the application form here

Fill out my online form.

Course Content

Please see below the contents for the 2016 course. It is recommended that the plays are read in advance

Week one:

The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh
The Weir by Conor McPherson
Whistle In The Dark by Tom Murphy
Conversations On A Homecoming by Tom Murphy
The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh

Week two:

Howie the Rookie by Mark O’Rowe
Our Few and Evil Days by Mark O’Rowe
The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
I Heart Alice Heart I by Amy Conroy
Translations by Brian Friel
Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel

Week three:

The Shadow of a Gunman by Seán O’Casey
The Plough & The Stars by Seán O’Casey
All That Fall, Waiting for Godot, Not I, Eh Joe, Happy Days and Endgame by Samuel Beckett
The Cat and The Moon by W.B. Yeats
Purgatory by W.B. Yeats

Week four:

By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr
The Playboy of the Western World by JM Synge


Included in the course are visits to various theatres in Dublin, tickets to shows that are running at that time and where possible, discussions with directors who are working in the city at this time.

Quotes from past participants

"An excellent crash course on all aspects of the Irish theatre tradition from its beginnings right up to what"s happening now" Edwin

"For me the course was part theatrical training and part a study on Irish history and culture. I now feel like I have a better knowledge of Ireland as a whole"

"A real learning experience. Mind blowing exposure to the full extent of Irish theatre" Shane

"There was an incredible amount of variety between the works, styles and interactions in the group and with all the instructors. I'd highly recommend the course to others to take on" Sean

Download course poster

Feel free to download the Acting and Irish Theatre poster HERE for display on university noticeboards

Cancellation Policy

The full course fee is payable as acceptance of an offer of a place on the course.

In the event of cancellation more than two months prior to the course start date, a sum of €100 will be retained to cover administration costs.

In the event of a cancellation less than two months prior to the course start date, the sum of €650 will be retained.

A withdrawal less than one month before the course start date will result in the forfeiture of the entire fee.

Application Details

Once you have completed the application form above, you will receive notification within two weeks. If a place has been allocated then you are required to continue the application process online and will be forwarded a link to do this.

Please do not send money for this course at this stage. Payment will be required only when a place has been allocated.

Although there is no application deadline, places are limited and early booking is recommended. All applications are considered in order of receipt. If an application is received after the course is full, the applicant will be put on a waiting list. Applicants will be informed by email whether or not they have been accepted.

Acceptance onto the course is at the discretion of The Lir Academy. If The Lir feels for whatever reason that they are not suitable for the course, he/she will not be accepted. All decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

Due to the high demand for Lir courses applicants may be held on a waiting list.

Please note: A minimum number of participants are required for all workshops to proceed.


It is strongly recommended that all participants insure themselves to cover the loss of fees in the event of illness, for which The Lir cannot accept any liability.

The Teachers

Gavin O’Donoghue

Gavin O’Donoghue,
Voice and Speech

Gavin is a graduate of The Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin and The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He worked as an Actor in the Theatre and on Radio in the UK before studying for his MA in Voice Studies at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Cathal Quinn

Cathal Quinn,
Head of Voice and Speech

Cathal has a Masters in Voice Studies from Central School of Speech and Drama. He taught at Oxford School of Drama and was Head of Voice at the Gaiety School of Acting before coming to teach Voice and Dialect at The Lir. Cathal’s film credits include Albert Nobbs, Parked, Eden and The Escapist and his TV work includes Love/Hate, Kitchen and Omagh.

Cathal coached the American Premiere of The Home Place at the Guthrie Theater where he also taught Shaw, Wilde and Beckett.

Sue Mythen

Sue Mythen,
Head of Movement

Sue worked as an actor and physical performer for many years prior to completing an MA Movement for Actors at Central School of Speech & Drama, London. Since then she has worked as a freelance Movement Director and teacher. Recent movement direction work at The Abbey Theatre include Oedipus, The Shadow of a Gunman, Hedda Gabler, Twelfth Night, The Plough & the Stars, Heartbreak House, 16 Possible Glimpses, The House, The Rivals, Pygmalion and Major Barbara. Sue’s work for Anu Productions includes Sunder, Pals and Angel Meadow. Other recent work includes Displaced at The Montreal Fringe Festival, Elektra for Canadian Opera Company, Semele for RIAM, Dead Man Walking for Opera Ireland at the Gaiety Theatre, Richard II at Smock Alley and Coraline for Puca Puppets and Devotion, Last Call and Jumping on my Shadow for TEAM Theatre Co. Her work in the UK includes Not I, Timon of Athens, Electra, A Devilish Exercise and Chelsea Valentine and choreography for Northanger Abbey (ITV/Diplomat films).  Sue is Head of Movement at The Lir Academy and at teaches at Trinity College Dublin.

David Horan

David Horan,

David graduated from the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College with a BA in English and Theatre Studies. Having directed plays with a number of companies, he became Director-in-Residence for Inis Theatre Company in 2000. He was made Staff Director at the Abbey Theatre in 2003 where he continued to work until October 2004 before relocating to Paris for a year, studying the principles of movement at the Ecole Internationale de Theatre, Jacques Lecoq. In 2007, David became Artistic Director of Bewley’s Café Theatre while continuing to teach and direct freelance. David still holds this position as well as teaching Acting Technique at The Lir.

Thomas Conway

Thomas Conway,
Contemporary Theatre

Thomas Conway works as a theatre director, dramaturg and theatre instructor. Directing credits include Whoop It Up for Liberty!, Gentrification, The Winter’s Tale, The King of Friday’s Men, Once Upon a Barstool, Closer, In the Blood, Beowulf and What Where. As a dramaturg, he has worked with Druid, Pan Pan, Fabulous Beast and Barabbas, among others. He is the editor of The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Irish Theatre, and has been Literary Manager with Druid since 2005.

Bryan Burroughs

Bryan Burroughs,
Physical Theatre

Bryan is an actor, director, movement director and more recently “writer” having penned and performed the award winning Beowulf : The Blockbuster earning Bryan a STAGE award for acting excellence at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Other notable performances include Barabbas’ Johnny Patterson : The Singing Irish Clown for which he received the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor and “B” in Company SJ’s production of Beckett’s “Act Without Words II ” which toured most recently to The Barbican in London. 

Bryan is a graduate from the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College Dublin and has taught Movement/Physical Theatre at Trinity College Dublin, NYU / Tisch School of the Arts and at the Accademia dell ’ Arte in Arezzo, Italy.

Jim Culleton

Jim Culleton,

Jim Culleton is artistic director of Fishamble: The New Play Company for which he has directed award-winning productions that have toured throughout Ireland, UK, US, Canada, Australia and 12 European countries.  He has also directed for companies including the Abbey, 7:84 (Scotland), Project Arts Centre, Amharclann de hÍde, Amnesty International, Tinderbox, The Passion Machine, The Ark, Second Age, RTÉ Radio, the Belgrade, TNL Canada, Scotland’s Ensemble @ Dundee Rep, Draíocht, TCD School of Drama, RTE lyric fm, Origin (New York), Vessel/ATF/Sydney Festival and Woodpecker Productions/Gaiety. He has taught at the Lir, is Adjunct Lecturer at TCD, and has taught for Notre Dame, NYU, NUIM/GSA, and UCD, where Fishamble is theatre-company-in-association.

Tom Creed

Tom Creed,
Acting Technique

From 2011-2013 Tom was Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts festivals. He has directed productions for the Abbey Theatre, Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, his own company Playgroup and many independent Irish companies, which have played in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA. He was nominated for Best Director at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards in 2007. His production of Watt by Samuel Beckett with acclaimed Irish actor Barry McGovern has been presented at the at major venues and festivals in Ireland, the UK, Australia and the USA. Most recently he directed Into the Woods for The Lir and Ray Scannell’s solo performance DEEP at Galway International Arts Festival and on tour.

Oonagh Murphy

Oonagh Murphy,

Oonagh Murphy is a theatre director. Her work includes The Poor Little Boy With No Arms, Project Arts Centre and national tour, 2016, Foxy, Project Arts Centre, 2015, Be Infants In Evil, for Druid Theatre Company as part of Galway International Arts Festival 2014, Ribbons and Love in a Glass Jar, for the Peacock Stage at the Abbey Theatre 2012, Maeve’s House, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival In-Development, 2012, I am a Home Bird (It’s Very Hard) at Project Arts Centre 2011. Most recently, she was Associate Director on the RSC’s Broadway transfer of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two and Resident Director on Peter Morgan’s The Audience at the Apollo Theatre, London. She was Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse in 2013, and Resident Assistant Director at the Abbey Theatre Dublin, 2011-2012. She is co-founder of Change of Address Collective. Oonagh teaches at Trinity College Dublin where she is also a Foundation Scholar.

Davey Kelleher

Davey Kelleher,

Davey is an interdisciplinary theatre director working in live art, music theatre, opera and devised theatre. He has worked on projects in Ireland, the United States, Zambia, Continental Europe, and in the UK. He is a graduate of the Drama Department at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, and holds an MFA distinction in Theatre Directing from The Lir Academy, Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art.

Davey works professionally as an independent theatre director, based in Ireland. As a practitioner, he leads workshops with professionals and students as well as delivering classes and individual coaching sessions. He is an associate director with London-based music-theatre company, Quite Nice Theatre, and has worked extensively across the UK and Ireland as a freelance director, producer, and workshop facilitator, as well as a festival coordinator for the UK-wide Shakespeare Schools Festival. He is Resident Director with the Umbrella Theatre Project.

Since graduating from The Lir Academy, Davey has directed Glowworm at Project Arts Centre for Dublin Fringe Festival, 2016, The Olive Tree by Katie O’Kelly and The Luthier by Lucy Caldwell at The New Theatre, Dublin.  Pinhole by Miriam Needham at The Moving Bodies Festival, MART Gallery and Ladyplay by Jane Madden at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin.  He has worked as an assistant and associate director at the Gate Theatre Dublin, National Opera House and Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin, as well as acting as an Associate Artistic Advisor for the Civic Theatre, Dublin.

Recently, he has produced These Lights by Jessie Doyle, Fuck Flattering by Marianne Cassidy, Tinderella (a rehearsed reading) by Gillian Grattan, The Wallpaper by Lea Weber and Stella Godmet, and Pacemaker by Ciara Smyth for Smock Alley Theatre’s Scene and Heard Festival 2017, and is currently working on a new production, This Looks Bad, by Siofra O’Meara which will premiere at Smock Alley Theatre in late March 2017.

Stephen Darcy

Stephen Darcy,

Stephen is a graduate of the Beckett Centre in Trinity and RADA London.  Having acted professionally for over 15 years he built up a broad range of experience in theatre, tv, radio and film, before gaining an MFA from Birkbeck in Theatre Directing.  He has taught in RADA, The Lir Academy Italia Conti and StageCrazy.  He has worked at the Citizens in Glasgow where he was assistant to Dominic Hill for over a year.  He has toured plays in Scotland, Ireland and England.  His most recent production Invincible toured the UK in 2017 before playing in New York’s 59E59 Theater. 
In 2018 he will work with Mikel Murfi on a new version of Toraiocht - touring Easter 2018.
For many years he has developed new writing with dramaturg Lloyd Trott at RADA.