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Summer School – Course F: Karin McCully
Tutor: Karin McCully

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About the Course:

About the tutor

Karin McCully is Literary Manager with Rough Magic Theatre Company and has twenty years of experience as a professional Dramaturg, and over ten years as a theatre assessor for the Arts Council. She holds an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from The Yale School of Drama and has taught as a lecturer in Theatre History and Dramaturgy at Yale, UCLA, IADT, UCD and Trinity College, where she will be teaching Advanced Playwriting again next year. She was the first full-time resident Dramaturg at the Abbey Theatre where she subsequently became Literary Manager. Karin is currently teaching Dramaturgy at The Lir Academy.


Course details

In the course of our six days together, I hope we can dig deep into a couple of plays that have proven themselves in production and dig even deeper into our own understanding of how plays work, what makes a piece dramatically effective and how to find your own voice and the how and why of using it.

I’ll send out a short reading list a few weeks before July 23rd. It’s not a list that requires pre-reading unless you wish to do so. I’ll design it so that you can read it as we go. I think it’s good to start at the beginning with a quick overview of Aristotle and Greek tragedy. There are some great contemporary readings and responses to Aristotle’s Poetics and our reading for the class will begin with one of those. Otherwise, this is about having an in-depth conversation together about plays and what they mean. It requires everyone to read closely, reflect and pitch into the joint debate.

With that as background and impetus, the aim is that you can take that conversation, those ideas, critiques, debates and commentaries back to your desk and write ideas and scenes that will ideally be heading towards a play – one-act or full length. I will give you some specific prompts during the week for you to respond to. I’ll assign parts of the week to writing in a way that is not too pressured, hopefully, and allows you time to read, think, debate and write. A tall order for six days but it’s an invigorating challenge. A mini- journey and mini speed run through theatre history while we’re at it.