NUI Galway launched its innovative programme in drama and theatre studies in September 2000. The on-campus ’Bank of Ireland Theatre’, the ’Siobhan McKenna Theatre’ in the Arts Millennium Building, the acquisition by the Library of the archives of the Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Macnas, Belfast Lyric Theatre, the Abbey Theatre papers of Arthur Shields and Barry Fitzgerald, and the papers of playwright Thomas Kilroy all provide an infrastructure for a postgraduate degree based upon writing, theatre history, and performance. The programme features supervised archival research, internships, writing workshops, and collaborative methods for devising theatre pieces, as well as traditional graduate seminars. In early October, classes are suspended from Wednesday through Saturday so all students can make their way to the Dublin Theatre Festival, along with tickets to four performances (both fringe and main-stage plays).
In 2010-12, the programme launches its new partnership with Druid Theatre company, involving masterclasses in directing, workshops with current Druid practicioners, and visits to shows in rehearsal.
The aim of the one-year programme is to combine professional-quality courses in the history of drama with performance-oriented courses in theatre arts; in all cases the target for student work is either public performance or publication.