Irish Theatre Summer Studio

Abbey Theatre scenes from the theatre

In association with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre, and the Lir, Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art

From the studio to the stage, students will study the workings and history of Ireland's world-class national theatre while developing their own theatre skills, knowledge, and practice. Students from Villanova will work alongside students from Irish and other universities and be taught by practitioners and professors from the U.S. and Ireland. Student work will culminate in a showing of final work at the Lir, Ireland's National Academy of Dramatic Art and guided by Abbey Theatre professionals.

The Abbey Theatre, the national theatre of Ireland, has long showcased great Irish drama. Emerging out of theatre societies founded by W.B. Yeats, Edward Martyn, Lady Augusta Gregory, John Millington Synge, the Fay brothers, and others, the Abbey Theatre has fostered playwrights and premiered productions by Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Sebastian Barry, and Marina Carr, among many others. The Lir is Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art. It is part of Trinity College Dublin and is associated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

The program is a joint enterprise between Villanova University, the Lir, the Abbey Theatre, the National University of Ireland in Galway, and University College, Dublin. It offers a select group of students from  Ireland and the United States the opportunity to study with Irish Studies scholars and Irish theatre professionals. Students from any college or university may apply and receive credit through the Villanova University Office of Education Abroad, in conjunction with their home university.



Students attend lectures in the mornings and take a practicum in the afternoon at the Lir. Mornings will be led by Villanova and Irish professors, and the afternoons will be led by practitioners, directors, actors, writers, technical staff, movement and voice coaches. The evenings are reserved for seeing plays, rehearsals, and cultural events.

The practicum offers three strands: ensemble, creative writing, and advanced directing. All strands will synchronize to create the final showing.   

The three-credit program is an immersion into theatre in Ireland. Students will also tour Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland and attend performances at Dublin's many stages to gain an overview of Irish theatre.

Upon completion of the Dublin portion of the program, students are required to do archival research at the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive @ NUI Galway

The Courses

M.A. students are able to take one or two courses outside of their own discipline (students select one course, below):
ENG 8680: 20th Century Irish Theatre (3 credits)
THE 8200: Irish Drama (3 credits)

Additional Academic Requirements

  • 2.75 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale; non-Villanova students must submit a recent official university transcript of their undergraduate work.
  • University student status without disciplinary or academic probation, and/or financial holds on VU account.
Irish Studies at Villanova University
Students studying in Ireland should highly consider a minor in Irish Studies. More information can be found on the Irish Studies website.


Students will live in centrally - located residences.

Student Life

Students will experience a thorough Dublin orientatoin at the beginning of the program. During the evenings, students will attend theatrical productions in and around Dublin. Opportunities for exploring the city and taking in the local sights and sounds are all part of the experience during the free time on the program. Students have the option to eat out at the local pubs and restaurants or to utilize their kitchen facilities and cook for themselves. At the end of the Dublin portion, students will be able to travel to Galway and visit the western coast of Ireland.


July 13 - August 7, 2018

*Students must depart on July 12 to arrive in Dublin on July 13.

Students depart Dublin for Galway on 30 July 2018


The program fee is $4,500.

For a breakdown of the expenses, click here

Students are responsible for airfare, as well as lunch and dinner expenses. The cost of the program covers tuition, housing, theatre tickets, inner-city bus and mass transportation tickets, travel insurance, among other things.

Upon acceptance, student will have 2-weeks to submit a $450 non-refundable commitment fee. Program balance is invoiced directly to the VU student account during the first week of April, with final balance due May 1.

Students interested in financing should first review the OEA Scholarship page. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick scholarship is a great opportunity! Should there be a need to secure additional funding through loans, Villanova University students should contact the Office of Financial Assistance.

Students with a Federal Pell grant should consider applying for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship!

Villanova University has the right to make cancellations, substitutions, or changes in case of emergency or changed conditions, or in the interest of the program.

Irish Studies at VU

Have you thought of minoring in Irish Studies?

Learn more about The Center for Irish Studies at Villanova University!

Program Snapshot

  • Program Duration: 3-weeks 
  • Credits: 3
  • Dates: July 13 - August 7, 2018
  • Program Fee: $4,500
    Early-admittance deadline: December 1, 2017
    Final Deadline: February 1, 2018

Faculty Coordinator

Valerie Joyce

Associate Professor, Theatre
St Augustine Ctr Liberal Arts Rm 224
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: (610) 519-7174

Contact Us!

Office of Education Abroad

Villanova University
Middleton Hall 2nd fl.
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610-519-6412
Fax: 610-519-7649

Meet Our Staff

Take the first step: Register for an Information Session

Meet with a Study Abroad Adviser: Schedule an Individual Meeting

Upcoming Events


  • Fall and Summer applications/approvals are due April 15
  • Attend an Information Session by April 1
  • Spring applications/approvals are due October 15

*Some programs may have earlier application deadlines! Start the process early!