Drama and Theatre play a significant role in the educational domain, emerging as a popularly pursued field of study by the students. With academic as well as cognitive benefits, drama and acting have been imparting distinctive contributions in the educational arena. Drama institutes around the world are thriving with encompassing curriculum and favorable study programs aimed to bring out the underlying artists amongst the students.
With an impactful curriculum tailored to propagate professionalism in students, The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity College Dublin is recognized as highly synonymous with professional training in drama courses. The academy is popularly recognized for its distinctive curriculum providing professional training in acting, voice, movement, stage management, stage construction, scenic art, lighting, sound, costume, playwriting, theatre directing, and stage design.
Build with a Purposeful Establishment
The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity College Dublin was established in 2011 with the support of the Cathal Ryan Trust, to provide conservatoire level training to students on the island of Ireland, and was driven by the recognized need for an academy of excellence within it. The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London had been the academy’s international advisors during the first eight years of its establishment.
Housed in a purpose-oriented building in Dublin’s Dockland, The Lir Academy produces ten productions performed by the acting students and crewed by the technical students annually. These students are led by The Lir’s tutors who are a panel of recognized experts in their concerned fields.
Upholding a Distinguished Curriculum
Influenced by a purposeful foundation, The Lir Academy identifies the underlying needs within the theatre, TV, and film industries. Being only a decade old, the academy’s core structure of classes has remained the same to suffice the existing fundamental basic training needs across the various disciplines. The academy harvests various technical trends such as 3D printing, and new approaches across the industry to reinvigorate the possibilities of learning.
In addition to talent and natural aptitude, The Lir Academy also prioritizes passion upheld by students—as it is critical for any student entering the academy for their chosen field. The academy ensures that the prospective students reflect a clear commitment to dedicating themselves to the rigorous demands of their preferred course. It also ensures that the students pose an understanding of the industry and outline their experience in it to date, while highly prioritizing the students’ feedback as a hugely rewarding experience.
A Vast Array of Study Programs
From the very beginning, students are required to work on several projects and learn through the course disciplines. The academy provides teaching classes via over three twelve-week semesters as students require a dedication towards these courses while devoting long hours to comprehend the subject matter. The Lir Academy also delivers a Foundation Diploma in Acting. It provides two undergraduate courses namely—Bachelor in Acting and Bachelor in Stage Management & Technical Theatre (SMTT). The academy’s technical courses include the fundamental skills in lighting, sound, stage management, and costume, as part of the three-year Bachelor’s degree in SMTT. Although the latter course was originally instituted as a Level 8 Professional Diploma program, it was later expanded to a Bachelor and Honors Degree between 2017 and 2018.
For SMTT, the practical training during the degree is complemented with a range of classes including Theatre History, Principles of Stage Management, Principles of Theatre Technology, and a three-year Professional Development program which covers everything from the workings of the industry to health and safety and managing a full time or freelance career. The occupancy for these programs is very competitive—with only 16 acting students and up to 24 technical students per year. Although they are not a part of the CAO/UCAS points system, they do require the basic matriculation for Trinity College Dublin courses. The Lir Academy scrutinizes the applications for its programs via interview procedures and auditions.
The Lir Academy also delivers three one-year MFA programs in the following, MFA in Theatre Direction, MFA in Stage Design, and MFA in Playwriting and the MFA candidates should be able to demonstrate existing relevant experience for their field, while it focuses on the practical aspect of delivering its varied programs. The program focuses on the student’s relevant discipline. Under this program, students 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. These classes are supplemented with masterclasses workshops, individual and group tuition.
Spearheaded by a Visionary
The Lir Academy is thriving under the visionary guidance of Loughlin Deegan (Founding Director). With an encompassing academic career, Loughlin holds a comprehensive position in the academy and ensures to guide it through all circumstances. He previously worked as the Artistic Director of Dublin Theatre Festival, Literary Manager with Rough Magic and developed the work of commissioned writers. Meanwhile, Loughlin also coordinated the SEEDS project, a structured new-writing initiative for emerging playwrights and theatre artists.
Surpassing Challenging Times
Although the pandemic put The Lir Academy into a position of rethinking and restructuring practical classes into online virtual spaces, the academy explored the opportunities of leveraging new technologies such as 3D lighting setups and virtual designs.
The Lir Academy shipped materials such as scenic work and whole lighting desks, to the students’ homes in order to continue with the online training. Students were taught to research various technologies so as to look at its potential in the post-pandemic world. The academy created productions while ensuring social distancing, which was mostly performed for a virtual audience. The entire process resulted in new challenges along with new learning for everyone involved.
A plethora of Academic and Career Opportunities
The Lir Academy offers scholarships and bursaries at the undergraduate level for prospective students to support fee costs. The academy is constantly working with new partners to create more opportunities for entry while making courses applicable under the Student Grant Scheme, which is eligible for both Irish and UK students. At the postgraduate level, the academy offers a number of scholarship options. It considers professional development as a key part of the training. With various placements across the performing arts sectors, technical companies, film, TV, set & prop making companies, costume departments, AV, theatres, and Opera Houses, a majority of the academy students leave to go directly into full-time employment.
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