This course offers a hands-on approach to the study of Irish theatre history as a living process. We move from the nineteenth-century plays of Oscar Wilde to the early Abbey plays of W.B. Yeats and Sean O'Casey, to the towering genius of Samuel Beckett in mid-century, to major contemporary dramatists such as Brian Friel, Marina Carr and Enda Walsh and, finally, to the growing role of interdisciplinary arts practice, dance and collaborative theatre-making approaches including in the contemporary Irish theatre today.
Students on this course have unprecedented access to one of the world's greatest Irish theatre archives working with the treasures of the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, as well as the papers of Thomas Kilroy, Druid Theatre, the Lyric Players' Theatre and many more. These archives include hundreds of videos of performances and original promptbooks, as well as correspondence between major authors, drafts of plays and set and costume designs. With classes taught by world-leading scholars, this course offers students the opportunity to work in the major international centre for research on Irish theatre and performance and gain access to hands-on work experience in either archive maintenance and acquisition and/or literary management for the theatre.