Berkeley Summer Abroad

Ireland: Irish Theater

  • Summary

    Irish theater, in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, is at an unprecedented level of popularity as measured by the number of international tours, productions, and translations of plays worldwide in recent years. The 20th century opened with the powerful resurgence of Irish writing brought about by W.B. Yeats’ and Lady Gregory, whose Abbey Theater set the standard for the aspirations of national(ist) theaters around the world. It ended with overlapping waves of renewal: from the founding of major new theater companies like Field Day and Charabanc in the North in the 1980s to the arrival in the 1990s and 2000s of a new wave of theater companies.

    In the early 21st century, Irish theater stands poised to continue expanding the scope and influence of this body of work, despite the huge social, cultural and economic upheavals of the past twenty years. This study abroad program takes advantage of Ireland’s rich theater, literary and historical culture by engaging students in the study and practice of Irish Theater from historical and contemporary contexts.


    Five-week program: July 9th – August 11th 
    7/9/18 – 7/13 /18 in Berkeley
    7/16/18 – 7/29/18 in Galway (students check in on 7/16; classes begin 7/17)
    7/30/18 – 8/11/18 in Dublin (classes end on 8/10, and student’s checkout from lodging 8/11)
    All dates are subject to change.

    Units: 6 units

    Courses: DPS 113A: Irish Theater: Origins and the Contemporary Scene


    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • 2.0 GPA or higher


    • Application opens February 1, 2018
    • Space is limited, and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 9, 2018


  • Courses

    During the program, you will take one course for a total of 6 Berkeley units.

    Course: DPS 113A
    Title: Irish Theater: Origins and the Contemporary Scene
    Dates: July 9 – August 11, 2018
    Instructor: Christine Nicholson
    Units: 6 units
    Prerequisites: None
    Syllabus: PDF

    Irish Theater: Origins and Contemporary Performance takes advantage of Ireland’s rich theater, literary, and historical culture by engaging students in the study and practice of Irish Theater from historical and contemporary contexts. Students will engage with Irish dramatic literature, history, and cultural theory in lecture, discussion, and practice. They will apply their knowledge to writing weekly critical essays addressing productions, presenting scene-work from the Irish theater, trips, and class activities in order to integrate their intellectual knowledge with their lived experience as theatergoers, performers, and visitors in Ireland.

    The first week of the program will be in Berkeley, where students will be introduced to the material and prepare for travel to Ireland. For two weeks students will lodge and study at the National University of Ireland, Galway, adjacent to Galway City Centre. Galway’s arts scene is renowned throughout Ireland, especially for music and theatre. Our arrival in Galway coincides with the start of the annual Galway Arts Festival, Ireland’s largest international arts festival, giving students the opportunity to participate in talkbacks and workshops not only with West of Ireland companies but also with visiting artists.

    For our final two weeks students will lodge and study at Trinity College Dublin, located in the heart of the city--an institution central to the study of Theater and literature in Ireland, and the alma mater of many of Ireland’s best-known playwrights and Theater artists including Samuel Beckett, J.M. Synge, Oscar Wilde, Oliver Goldsmith and George Farquhar. Most of Dublin’s major theaters and historical sites are within walking distance of our classroom. Our daily classes will be held at the Samuel Beckett Centre, which houses the TCD School of Drama.

    Students will attend at least ten plays/performances at theaters such as the Abbey, the Gate, and Druid as well as visit historical and cultural sites associated with the advent of Irish theatre and literature and the Irish struggle for independence. We will also welcome prominent theater artists into our classroom for talkbacks and group workshops. Past Guests have included Druid Theater’s Casting Director, Maureen Hughes, Barabbas’s artistic director, performer and clowning expert Raymond Keane, Irish Modern Dance Theater’s John Scott, and the co-artistic directors of the internationally acclaimed Brokentalkers, Gary Keegan and Feidlim Cannon and acclaimed scenic and lighting designer Sabine Dargent.

    You can fulfill the L&S International Studies breadth requirement by full participation in a Berkeley Summer Abroad program. All of the required courses must be completed with a C-/P or better.

    Summer Abroad staff will enroll you in courses after your acceptance to the program. Please make sure there are no active blocks on your student account that may impact your course enrollment

  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees.

    2018 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition (6 units) $2,526 $3,300
    Program Fee $3,143 $3,143
    Total Cost $5,669 $6,443

    Fees are subject to change. All non-Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $56.

    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,400
    Additional Meals $222
    Books  $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e phone, passport, visas, etc.) $524
    Total Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses  $2,368

    Financial Aid
    Financial aid is available for UC Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.

    Explanation of Fees
    Tuition is based on a per unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes* the following items:

    • Students will be housed in single rooms in shared apartments in Galway at Corrib Village, National University Ireland, Galway (NUIG), and in Dublin at Trinity College.
    • On-site orientation, excursions, and program activities.
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for tour guides, guest lecturers, classroom space, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee

    *Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes

  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Application closes March 9, 2018
    Applicants notified of selection March 23, 2018
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 6, 2018
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Dublin July 9, 2018
    Last day of program August 11, 2018

    * These events take place on the Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.

    All dates are subject to change.

  • Instructors

    Christine Nicholson
    Program Director
    Email: nicholsonjc@comcast.net

    Christine Nicholson, Lecturer, has been teaching and directing at the University of California since 2001. She is also a Lecturer at California State University Sacramento and adjunct professor at Sacramento City College. She was faculty for fifteen years in the Actor Training Program at Solano Community College teaching Acting, Theatre History, Movement, Dramaturgy and Voice/Speech.

    She has been an actor for thirty years, a director for twenty-five, and a playwright for ten.  Directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  An Ideal Husband, The Conduct of Life, Dolly West’s Kitchen, and Top Girls: UC Berkeley; Romeo and Juliet (original practices),  The Three Musketeers,  12th Night, Taming of the Shrew, and Robin Hood: Sacramento Shakespeare Festival;  Reefer Madness: Artistic Differences; The Servant of Two Masters, Tartuffe, Cannery Row, The Cradle Will Rock, The Music Man, Major Barbara, Working and Marisol: City Theatre; Much Ado About Nothing and Stones in His Pockets: Capitol Stage. 

    She has performed regionally with Foothill Theatre, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Sacramento Theatre Company, Wildflower Women’s Ensemble, Center Repertory Theatre, City Theatre, Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Splinter Group Theatre, and Synergy Stage. For the past ten years, her six British styled Pantomimes have been performed in the Sacramento area by City Theatre, Splinter Group, and Yuba College, including Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Robin Hood in the Forest of Frogwarts, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Snow White.

    Christine holds an MFA in Theatre from UC Davis, with an emphasis in Irish Theatre and an MA in Theatre, with an emphasis in performance, from San Diego State University. For the past decade, she has been a proud member of Actors Equity and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.