NUI Galway and Galway International Arts Festival herald graduates

15 September 2021

More than half of productions at GIAF 2021 feature former students of the University

NUI Galway and Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) have joined forces to herald the role of the University’s graduates in this year’s theatre productions.

More than half the shows at the 2021 GIAF feature former students working behind the scenes and on stage to bring a wealth of drama, arts and culture to audiences as they flocked back to live, in-person events.

Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We began partnering with Galway International Arts Festival from our shared desire to ensure that the next generation of theatre-makers and artists would have the skills and experiences needed to build sustainable careers, both here in the west of Ireland and in other national and international contexts.

“Through programmes like the SELECTED internship scheme, our students have gone behind the scenes to meet artists, producers, and other professional experts on GIAF shows. We're seeing the fruits of that approach now, with more than half of this year's theatre productions featuring recent NUI Galway graduates.”

Among the alumni are recent graduates from the BA in Drama who took part in the SELECTED programme this summer and went on to work as stage manager, assistant stage manager and props person on Cogadh Na Saoirse.

Others are playing key roles in the performances on stage, with actor Catherine Denning, a BA and MA graduate, featuring in Branar's Sruth na Teanga, while Cogadh na Soairse was written by MA graduate Philip Doherty and After Love was written by BA graduate Dani Gill.
NUI Galway graduates are also working on the Abbey Theatre's Happy Days on Inis Oírr and Druid Theatre's The Seagull.

Professor Lonergan highlighted that NUI Galway is also proud to support the Irish premiere of Enda Walsh's Medicine, starring Domhnall Gleeson, and that another production, Ar Ais Arís, emerged from the University’s Aistriú project.

John Crumlish, chief executive of the Galway International Arts Festival, said: “Galway International Arts Festival's partnership with NUI Galway on SELECTED has been very rewarding. We always envisaged the programme being a support for young people who wanted careers in culture, so we are delighted to see alumni working for arts organisations that are part of the festival programme itself. We hope to work with NUI Galway to further develop the programme over the coming years and play our part in developing the careers of the next generation of arts professionals."

Professor Lonergan added: “The development of this SELECTED programme as a conduit from the University to the Galway International Arts Festival is an important part of our contribution to Irish culture and Irish life.

“Our University believes in engagement, both as an important part of our teaching and as a societal good - and our partnerships with the Galway International Arts Festival is an important manifestation of those values.”

The two week SELECTED programme offers an opportunity for a number of NUI Galway students to experience a unique academy initiative which gives them full access to many aspects of the Galway International Arts Festival and a behind-the-scenes insight into how the programme is put together.