PhDs in Drama and Theatre Studies


University of Galway is the world’s leading centre for the study of Irish theatre history.  The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance is the ideal location for you to pursue your PhD in this area, as well as other specialisations within contemporary and international theatre and performance practice, using either research or practice-as-research methodologies.

The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive contains original material from almost all of Ireland’s leading writers, including Nobel Prize winners W.B. Yeats, G.B. Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. It also features work by Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Conor McPherson, Marina Carr and hundreds of others. With access to videos, prompt books, designs, administration records, and more, University of Galway students have unique opportunities to understand the history and practice of Irish theatre – and to consult material that in some cases has never been seen before. This resource is exclusively available at University of Galway. It complements our other archival holdings in Irish theatre, including the archive of Druid Theatre, the playwright Thomas Kilroy, the Lyric Players Theatre, and much more.

Our staff also excels in the study of contemporary theatre and performance in an Irish context and beyond, with recent staff research addressing the relationship between topics as diverse as:

  • Performance and social media
  • Race, migration, performance and social policy
  • Gender, trauma, commemoration and national histories
  • Popular performance and mass culture


The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance offers:

  • Structured PhD AHSS in Drama and Theatre Studies [full-time] (GYG43)
  • PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies [full-time] (GYG44)
  • PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies [part-time] (GYG45)

These courses allow students to undertake doctoral research in any areas related to Drama and Theatre Studies. PhDs may be conducted in the area of practice-as-research (playwriting, direction, devising, etc.) and academic research (theatre history, contemporary drama, etc.). 

The Structured PhD AHSS in Drama and Theatre Studies [full-time] (GYG43) is a four-year programme which offers added value to the core component of doctoral training. Students on this programme are offered disciplinary or dissertation-specific modules, as well as generic and transferable skills designed to meet the needs of an employment market that is wider than academe. The programme is flexible and student-centred, as candidates choose their own pathways in consultation with their Supervisor and Graduate Research Committee.

The PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies [full-time and part-time] (GYG44 and GYG45) are self-directed research degrees undertaken in consultation with the supervisor and Graduate Research Committee without additional coursework. 

For further information, contact Dr. Ian Walsh, Director of Postgraduate Studies (

Drama PhD Handbook 2023-2024


We provide supervision in areas of drama and theatre studies as well as the wider discipline of performance studies including:

Theatre Archives and Theatre History

The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive

Irish Drama and Theatre

Theatre Practice and Production


Gender, Sexuality and Performance

Ensemble and Devising

Intercultural Theatre

Theatre and Social Change

Theatre and Digital Humanities


“I feel quite fortunate to be a PhD student at the Centre: myself and my cohort always feel supported by a department that actively practices collegiality, solidarity, respect, and academic kindness. We are presented with so many resources to broaden our skill sets and to help us along the way towards completion: whether it's special professionalisation seminars, conference volunteering, or tutoring students on different aspects of performance. I'd encourage anyone to join such a thriving, vibrant, close-knit, and friendly department!” 

- Emer McHugh, “Shakespeare in Modern Irish Theatre: Performance and Cultural Politics,” Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar, 2014-2018


“As a postgraduate researcher in DTP I have benefitted immensely from the discipline's collaborative environment and structural supports. The programme is dedicated to furthering my professional development and both my peers and the staff are incredibly generous and encouraging.”

- Justine Nakase, “Hyphenating Irishness: Performing Irish Identity in an Intercultural Ireland,” Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar, 2014-2018