Villanova-Abbey Theatre Exchange

Student Ireland Internship
Hallie Martenson, Villanova Graduate Student, was awarded this grant in 2014 by the Villanova-Abbey Theatre Exchange to work at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland for two months over the summer.

Abbey Theatre Internship Application Guidelines

The Villanova University-Abbey Theatre Exchange Program will provide a grant to a Villanova student to intern at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland during the summer season.  Founded in 1904, the Abbey Theatre is a world-class institution that actively engages and reflects Irish society.  It is also one of the most enduring institutions in literary history and has long occupied an important place in Irish emigrant cultures around the world.

The paid internship will begin at the end of May and continue for eight weeks into July. The student will work alongside theatre professionals in the day-to-day operations of Ireland’s national theatre and help run a new program—the Abbey Theatre Summer Studio. Junior and senior undergraduates and graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences at Villanova University are eligible.  A grade point average of at least 3.0 is required.

Students studying in any Arts and Sciences discipline—particularly Irish Studies, Theatre, English, Media Relations, and Performance Studies—are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • Interest in and/or knowledge of Ireland and Irish culture
  • Knowledge of dramatic literature and/or theatre practice
  • Excellent research, writing, speaking, and presentation skills
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively

Application Requirements

Applications must include:

  • letter detailing the applicant’s interest in the position
  • a current curriculum vitae
  • two letters of recommendation
  • a 500-word essay that articulates why theatre is important to the applicant and to society. 

Materials should be sent as hard copy to Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director, Irish Studies Program; SAC 455; Villanova University; Villanova, PA 19085.  

Applications must be submitted by January 16th, 2015 and the scholarship will be announced at the Heimbold Reading.



Partnership will bring some of Ireland’s preeminent theatre practitioners to the University, while giving Villanova students the opportunity to study at the Abbey Theatre

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova University has accepted a prestigious invitation from the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre, to form an historic intellectual/artistic partnership. The University’s exchange program with the Abbey Theatre will create a bridge between the renowned Irish institution and Villanova’s Theatre and Irish Studies programs. The collaboration will bring Ireland’s preeminent theatre practitioners to the University’s campus to offer graduate and undergraduate courses, as well as workshops, conferences, lectures and other events that will be open to the public. The new joint venture will also enable a scholarly exchange giving Villanova students the opportunity to travel to Dublin to intern and study at the Abbey Theatre.

Founded in 1904 by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, the Abbey Theatre occupies an important place in the Irish psyche, both at home and abroad. Committed to creating “world-class theatre that actively engages with and reflects Irish society,” the theatre, which works to preserve the works of classical Irish playwrights as well as foster emerging talent, remains one of the most enduring institutions in literary history.

“Villanova’s exchange program with the Abbey Theatre will introduce Irish culture to our students in unprecedented ways,” Joseph Lennon, Director of Villanova’s Irish Studies Program said. “Having Abbey Theatre directors, actors, and writers here on campus will create a new level of dialogue between artists, students, scholars and audiences, one that benefits everyone involved,” he added.

“We are delighted to be initiating this cultural exchange between the Abbey Theatre and Villanova University which will strengthen cultural, artistic and academic relationships between the two institutions. Villanova’s Irish Studies Program is the oldest in the U.S. and this is a fantastic opportunity to share our history and heritage,” Senator Fiach Mac Conghail, Director/CEO of the Abbey Theatre commented.

Collaboration with the Abbey Theatre is a natural extension of Villanova’s enduring Irish heritage. Founded by Irish Augustinians in 1842, the University is home to the nation’s oldest Irish Studies Program, an interdisciplinary exploration of the history and culture of the Irish people from the varying perspectives of literature, history, theatre, film, art, politics, music, folklore, and business.

Villanova’s award-winning theatre department is recognized as one of the most prominent and influential in the Philadelphia region with a subscriber base of over 750 patrons and more than 50 nominations for the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia’s prized Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In addition, the University holds a long-standing commitment to performing and studying Irish plays and in hosting prominent Irish playwrights, writers and poets through the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Chair of Irish Studies.

“The partnership with the Abbey Theatre is a fantastic opportunity for Villanova to strengthen its Irish heritage and a wonderful way for the Theatre Department to grow through artistic and intellectual exchange,” Father David Cregan, O.S.A. Villanova Theatre Director said.

The Villanova-Abbey-Exchange Program seeks to provide a home away from home for the Abbey Theatre, as the two institutions work to further their artistic and intellectual traditions, strengthening the University’s bond with Ireland, and the Abbey’s bond with America, according to Lennon.