Master In Fine Art - Playwriting

This course, the first of its kind in Ireland is designed to encourage, nurture and promote the individual voice of the student writer.


The theatrical landscape is constantly being moulded by theatre makers who are presenting original works or reimagining classics. Critical to this process is new writings and adaptations. On the Master in Fine Art degree in Playwriting at The Lir Academy we offer every student the opportunity to develop and hone their unique writing skill so that each play written is the best it can be. Modules in contemporary theatre practice, dramaturgy and workshops in writing, are supplemented with one to one training and development, so that each individual student has quality time with playwrights, directors and designers The training culminates with the students writing a full length play whilst being mentored by the Head of Playwriting, Graham Whybrow. Graham brings a wealth of experience to this role including twelve years as Literary Manager of the Royal Court Theatre.

The course is designed to complement the existing Master in Fine Theatre Directing and the Master in Fine Art Stage Design incl Lighting Design, Costume Design and Set Design. Students on all three programmes will work together in collaboration, developing a shared understanding of contemporary theatre practice and a collective appreciation of the dedication and commitment required to make innovative performances happen.

On completion of this postgraduate degree, you will qualify and graduate from Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

To request a course booklet, please send an email to

The Patricia Leggett Playwriting Scholarship

The Lir Academy is offering a scholarship (full tuition fees paid) on the prestigious MFA Playwriting degree (full time) thanks to the generous sponsorship from Janet and James Curley donated in tribute to Janet Curley's mother Patricia Leggett. 

In order to apply for the scholarship, applicants must

*  Be qualified to degree level

*  Be resident in Ireland or Northern Ireland

Applications in the form of a cover letter, CV and a 45 minute play (reading time) must be submitted to by END OF JUNE 2017

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to attend an interview at The Lir Academy, Pearse Street, Dublin.

The successful applicant will take up a place on the MFA Playwriting degree at The Lir Academy on a full time basis in September 2017. 

Click HERE to find out more about the life and legacy of Patricia Leggett who carries the name of this scholarship. 

This scholarship is worth approximately €12,000. It includes full payment of tuition fees and a contribution towards living expenses. 


Students can opt to take this course either part-time (24 months) or full-time (12 months).

Application Details


In addition to the information required on the online form, you are also required to upload a copy of each of the following:

a) letter that outlines the applicant’s theatre education and highlights the applicant’s writing experience to date.

b) a ‘statement of purpose’ that refers to the applicants ambitions in terms of writing style, form and medium.

c) a résumé (CV)

d) a sample of writing in the form of a play (minimum 45 minutes reading time)

e) two references/testimonials from those familiar with your writing and/or third level

f) personal statement with a financial plan which indicates clearly how you intend to finance yourself if successful in gaining a place on the course.

(Please note that writing samples will not be returned under any circumstance and that The Lir does not provide critiques of writing samples).




Compulsory Modules

Master in Fine Art Playwriting
Full-time and part-time students will take three concurrent modules in the first two semesters. The fourth module will be taught in the third semester and subsequent summer months (for full-time students) or in the second year of the course (for part-time students). The fourth module will be supplemented by an ongoing series of masterclasses from professional writers and script editors.

Contemporary Theatre Practice
This module will introduce students to a range of contemporary theatre practices as evidenced in the theatres of Dublin. The principal aim of the course is to enable students to become conversant in the styles, forms, theories and practices that constitute contemporary theatre making in Ireland. In addition, students will be introduced to a range of dramatic production in related media (radio, television and film) whose styles and forms will be analysed in this module. The Contemporary Theatre Practice module is shared by all Master in Fine Art students (directors, designers and playwrights).

This module will be taught by a professional dramaturge. Its aim is to introduce students to a range of dramatic texts for the theatre or related media with an emphasis on the dramaturgical composition of those texts. An understanding of the contexts within which those dramaturgical strategies were produced will also be fostered. This seminar-based module requires students to examine key problems related to the creation and structure of scripts for performance. Students will consider a variety of theories regarding dramatic structure, consider the research requirements of script creation, explore different approaches to script development and learn to apply a dramaturgical vocabulary to a number of case studies.

Writing Workshop
The overall aim of the module is to prepare students for the writing of a play for performance in Module 4. Students will share their creative writing in a workshop format, and will receive both group feedback and individual tuition in the development of their craft. The module includes: creative workshops; developing an awareness of the professional writing context; developing an explicit, personal aesthetic; and offers the possibilities for writing in numerous professional contexts (theatre, education, community), and for various media (theatre and recorded media). This module also outlines career development and group or self critique; it introduces research skills, rehearsal etiquette and re-drafting.

This module will be taught through individual supervision of the writing of a student’s full-length play (of between 45 and 90 minutes performing time). The play will be submitted for examination along with a reflective journal of the student’s practice. The development of the script will be aided by the involvement of professional actors and directors in the redrafting process. The module will culminate in a rehearsed reading of a selection of students’ work in a semi-staged showcase to an invited audience of theatre professionals. This showcase, which does not form part of the assessment, is designed to bridge the gap between training and the theatre and related industries.


Fees for 2017/2018

Ireland and EU fees (including matriculation fee) €10,698
Overseas/non-EU fees (including matriculation fee) €19,253
Part-time fees (including matriculation fee) (EU) €5,483 p.a.
Part-time fees (including matriculation fee) (non-EU) €10,708 p.a.

Please note, tuition fees and other charges are subject to annual review by Trinity College Dublin which may result in a fee increase each year. All students (Undergraduate and Postgraduate, EU & Non EU) on courses/programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees and other charges (Commencement/graduation fee, Sports Centre Charge and USI levy) may be subject to increase annually. The annual revision is approved by Trinity’s Committee and College Board and typically increase by approximately 3% per annum or more in any given year.

The Teachers

Graham Whybrow

Graham Whybrow,
Head of Playwriting

Graham Whybrow is Course Director of the MFA (Playwriting). He was Literary Manager of the Royal Court Theatre in London for twelve years (1994–2007), when it premiered more than 200 new plays and launched a new generation of over 50 playwrights.

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.

Gavin Kostick

Gavin Kostick,
Writing Workshop

Gavin Kostick has written over twenty plays for a wide range of companies, which have been produced in Dublin and have toured internationally. Gavin has provided dramaturgical support for dozens of theatrical productions throughout Ireland and he is also the Literary Manager for Fishamble: The New Play Company.

Karin McCully

Karin McCully,

Karin McCully holds an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from The Yale School of Drama.  She was the first full-time resident Dramaturg at the Abbey Theatre where she subsequently became Literary Manager.  She has twenty years experience as a professional Dramaturg and lecturer in Theatre History and Dramaturgy having taught at Yale, UCLA, IADT, UCD and TCD.