Postgraduate Degrees

Master of Fine Arts [MFA] in Playwriting

  1 year / 2 years

This course in creative writing for stage is designed to encourage, nurture and promote the individual voice of the developing writer. Applications for 2024 are now open until June 30th.
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Course Information

Type: Postgraduate Degree
Duration: 1 year, 2 years
When: Full-time, Part-time


Full details on the course and application can be found below.

If you have a question that requires assistance, please use the enquire button.


The theatrical landscape is constantly being moulded by theatre makers who are presenting original works or reimagining classics. Critical to this process is new creative writing for stage 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 creative writing skills so that each play written is the best it can be.

Modules in contemporary theatre practice, dramaturgy and workshops in playwriting, 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. See more on the course tutors at this link here.

Excerpts of these final works are shared in a public event with an invited audience of industry professionals.

The course is designed to complement the existing Master in Fine Theatre Directing and the Master in Fine Art Stage Design including 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 in playwriting, you will qualify and graduate from Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin.

To request a course booklet, please send an email to

Applications for 2024 are now open until June 30th, 2024.

Read the 2023 - 24 Prospectus here.

Read about The Lir Academy Tutors here.


The Patricia Leggett Playwriting Scholarship click to

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.

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

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 Scholarship launch date and deadline TBC.

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.

Apply Now for the MFA in Playwriting click to

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 creative writing experience to date.

b) a ‘statement of purpose’ that refers to the applicants ambitions in terms of creative 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 creative writing and/or third level

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


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Compulsory Modules click to

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 creative writing for stage of a play for performance in Module 4. Students will share their creative writing for stage in a workshop format, and will receive both group feedback and individual tuition in the development of their craft. The module includes: 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 its related industries to ensure a more rounded experience of playwriting.

Fees click to

Fees for 2024/25

Full-time fees (EU/UK)….€12,530

Full-time fees (Non-EU)…. €22,800

Part-time fees (EU/UK) €6,260 p.a.

Part-time fees (Non-EU) €13,460 p.a.

Details on additional student fees can be found at the link here.

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.

For funding opportunities, please this link.

Other Funding & Bursaries click to

1. The Lir Academy Bursary

This fund is open to all EU students who have been offered a place on the Undergraduate Bachelor in Acting, Undergraduate Bachelor in Stage Management and Technical Theatre or any of the Postgraduate courses at The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art, or are already studying here.

Students can apply for the bursary once a place has been offered on the course.

Non-EU students cannot apply for The Lir Academy Bursary, but they are eligible for other Trinity College bursaries. See more below.

2. SUSI Grant

The SUSI Grant can be accessed by EU and international students who have lived in Ireland for three out of the past five years. The grant is income-assessed and you can use the Eligibility Reckoner online to see if you qualify. See that at this link.

3. The Haddad Fellowship

The Haddad Fellowship includes The Lir Academy's MFA Playwriting, Stage Design and Theatre Directing courses. It is available for Brazilian students and covers the travel, living and education costs of the course for up to €35000. Applications for the scholarship open in January each year, and we advise students to apply early. Read more about the Haddad Fellowship and the eligibility criteria at this link.

4. Trinity College Dublin Funding

Trinity College Dublin offers a variety of funding opportunities for EU and international students. You can see more at this link.

5. European Excellence Awards

A bursary towards fee costs for EU-fee status students. Applicants can only apply for it once they have been offered a place. Applications usually open in March and close at the end of June each year. If you are an EU-fee status student, you can read more about the European Excellence Awards at this link.

6. Higher Education Authority for non-EU/EEA countries

Each year the Higher Education Authority (HEA) run an International Education Scholarships Programme. Under the initiative, 60 scholarships will be provided for one-year study at Bachelor, Masters or PhD levels to successful candidates who have an offer of a place at an eligible Irish higher education institution. The offer is open to students from non-EU/EEA countries and is applicable to all fields of study. This will be updated annually on their website at this link.

7. The Patricia Leggett Award

See the section above for more details on this scholarship to cover tuition fees.

MFA Playwriting Course Handbook 2023 - 24 click to

Download the course handbook here

MFA Playwriting Course Handbook
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