The course develops and extends acting skills through acting classes, improvisation, scene study, text work, script analysis, voice, movement, and the production of full-length plays. It also places the work of the actor in the wider context of theatre as a cultural practice, through a series of classes in which literary, historical and sociological aspects of drama, theatre and performance are examined. Students also receive introductory training in stage management, lighting, sound, set construction, costume and front-of-house activities.
In the first two years, students study acting, improvisation, voice, singing, movement, dance, and text speaking, and also attend lectures in theatre history, performance analysis, and non-Western theatre. The second year includes a small-scale production, usually based on ensemble practice. The emphasis of this first part of the training is on exploration - of self, body, voice and of the different approaches to theatre. It is a time for testing and experimenting. The final year is given over chiefly to three productions mounted at a professional level in the Samuel Beckett Theatre with professional directors. In addition, students attend workshop classes and lectures in contemporary Irish theatre. They prepare a formal audition showcase for theatrical agents, casting directors and theatre directors, which is performed at the Abbey Theatre and at a major theatre in London. Throughout the course, students can expect to be in classes or rehearsals on a full-time basis.