Druid Academy takes to the stage at NUI Galway

Students to benefit from Garry Hynes’s “fearsome reputation” as artistic director

Keith Duffy, Garry Hynes and Aisling O’Sullivan in Galway for the first day of rehearsals for Druid’s “Big Maggie” by John B Keane in February 2011. Hynes is to become adjunct professor at NUIG.

Keith Duffy, Garry Hynes and Aisling O’Sullivan in Galway for the first day of rehearsals for Druid’s “Big Maggie” by John B Keane in February 2011. Hynes is to become adjunct professor at NUIG.

Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 01:00


Druid Theatre and NUI Galway (NUIG) are to deepen their long relationship with a new “Druid Academy” to train the “theatre-makers of the future”.

Tony-award-winning Druid artistic director Garry Hynes is to become adjunct professor at NUIG, and will give regular “intense directing” workshops and master classes, while Thomas Conway will become Druid director-in-residence on campus, and three new MA programmes will be developed.

Some 39 years after the theatre troupe was formed at what was then University College, Galway, Druid’s ethos will be reflected in the “world-class” tuition offered by the academy, the college has said.

Druid’s focus on the ensemble rather than on “star actors”, its capacity for “rigorous critical analysis” of theatre, and its acute awareness of the audience’s importance will be reflected in the academy’s ethos, NUIG head of drama and theatre studies Prof Patrick Lonergan said yesterday.

At the first of two functions to outline details of the project, Prof Lonergan said the academy would combine “the best of the university together with the best of the Irish theatre world”.

“Druid have for many years shown that Galway can be a wonderful place to create theatre,” he said. “Working with Druid, we will be able to foster new generations of theatre-makers and playwrights, who will change the way we produce drama.”

Thomas Conway, new Druid director-in-residence, noted many budding directors could be intimidated by the fact Garry Hynes is “such a fearsome example” who has “done it all”.

One of the academy’s aims was to raise the profile of the director, given that the craft involves “encompassing us even more in the experience” of drama, Conway noted.

NUIG offers several courses in drama and theatre at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and will develop three MA programmes in Irish drama, writing for theatre and theatre practice and production.

Graduates have already made their mark, Prof Lonergan said, citing Maria Tivnan of Fregoli Theatre, her brother Jarlath, Emma O’ Grady and Caroline Lynch of Mephisto, Róisín Stack of Macnas and Aoife Spillane-Hinks, who has worked with Druid and Rough Magic.