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

Duration Dates Ages Time Fees
Four weeks 18th July - 12th August 2016 18+ 10.00am – 5.00pm €2,250


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.


Apply Now

To book a place on this course, please complete the application form below. Please note, a cv/resume, profile pic and reference letter is needed to complete the form (you will be able to upload these documents via the form below):

Fill out my online form.

Course Content (sample)

Please see below the contents for the 2015 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

Week two:

The Shadow of a Gunman by Seán O’Casey
The Plough & The Stars by Seán O’Casey
I Heart Alice Heart I by Amy Conroy
Translations by Brian Friel

Week three:

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
The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh
Howie the Rookie by Mark O’Rowe
Our Few and Evil Days by Mark O’Rowe
The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh

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

<i> <font color ="#0101DF">"An excellent crash course on all aspects of the Irish theatre tradition from its beginnings right up to what’s happening now" </font color> Edwin</i>

<i> <font color ="#0101DF"></i> “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”</font color>

<i> <font color ="#0101DF">"A real learing experience. Mind blowing exposure to the full extent of Irish theatre" </font color> Shane</i>

<i> <font color ="#0101DF"></i> “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”</font color> Sean

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.

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 €250 will be retained.
A withdrawal less than one month before the course start date will result in the forfeiture of the entire fee.

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.

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.

Wayne Jordan

Wayne Jordan,
Associate Resident Director

Wayne Jordan was Associate Artist at The Abbey Theatre from 2010 to 2012. His work at the Abbey Theatre included Alice in Funderland, The Plough and the Stars, Christ Deliver Us! and more recently Twelfth Night. He has directed The Threepenny Opera and Enemy of the People at The Gate Theatre, is Artistic Director of Randolf SD and is involved with Project Catalyst, an initiative of the Project Arts Centre.

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.