Chalktalk: news and views in education

Garry Hynes, artistic director of Druid; Prof Patrick Lonergan, NUI Galway and  Marie Mullen, Druid at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin  for the launch of the Druid Academy

Garry Hynes, artistic director of Druid; Prof Patrick Lonergan, NUI Galway and Marie Mullen, Druid at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin for the launch of the Druid Academy


nDruid goes to college

NUIG is further capitalising on its role in theatre and drama education, cementing its relationship with Galway’s Druid Theatre, which was founded by three NUIG graduates.

University president Jim Browne and Druid’s Garry Hynes have announced a 10-year partnership in the form of a new Druid Academy at the college, where the drama and theatre studies professor is Patrick Lonergan.

What Lonergan called a “meeting of minds” in a unique theatre city, the Druid Academy will see integration between theatre staff and college scholars. Tony award-winning director Hynes will be adjunct professor and run regular workshops and masterclasses with drama students, and Druid director-in-residence and dramaturg Thomas Conway will be responsible for the practice and performance side of the academy.

At the announcement, Hynes said she felt the spirit of her father, a committed educationalist, behind her in this new teaching role.

Echoing Druid’s particular strengths, the academy will focus on ensemble performance, as well as critical analysis, a relationship with the audience and an awareness of place.

Courses set for the new academy include three new MAs, in Irish drama, writing for theatre, and theatre practice and production. These are in addition to the existing undergraduate degrees and part-time MA in drama and theatre studies.
nLaw without the points

An interesting experiment at TCD this year will see students who are passionate about studying law or history in Ireland’s oldest university, but who fall short of the points required, get the chance of a place .

TCD has a small feasibility study trying different modes of entry into some courses. So instead of admitting students just on CAO points, it is setting some places aside for students who might not achieve the requisite points, but who show real potential for their chosen course of study. Students who opt in will answer questions demonstrating their interest in and suitability for their chosen course as part of their CAO application, and will also submit an essay on a given topic or one of their choosing by the closing date of March 1st.

In all, 10 places in law, 10 in history and five in ancient and medieval history and culture are earmarked for applicants who wish to participate. All applicants to the courses involved have the option of opting in or out on applying to the CAO.

Applications are anonymous and students will be assessed on a combination of their Leaving Cert results, their results in comparison to the students in their school year, and the answers and essays in their application. The idea is to tap into students’ potential beyond their Leaving Cert results. If it works, it could be the shape of things to come, in TCD at least.

nSubject of hot debate

It might be interesting to watch for the reaction from former education minister Mary Hanafin, who

is the guest speaker at Thursday’s finals of Comórtas Díospóireachta Uí Chadhain, the Irish-language schools debating competition organised by Gael Linn, in Trinity College Dublin. Schools from Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Louth will debate the motion, Tá géarghá le páirtí nua polaitíochta i bPoblacht na hÉireann (There is an urgent need for a new political party in the Republic of Ireland).

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