Youth Theatre and Children’s Drama
at An Grianán Theatre

An Grianán Youth Theatre logoIf you are looking for drama and acting classes for children and young people in Letterkenny then An Grianán Theatre is the place to come! We offer excellent tuition in a professional theatre environment. And where better to learn stage craft than on one of the largest theatre stages in Ireland.  Our classes are suitable for ages 7  to 21 and we are affiliated with the National Association of Youth Drama.

Spring 2017 term:  Saturday classes recommence on Sat 14 January and will run until Easter, Wednesday classes recommence on Wed 11 January. Course fee of €60 must be paid by first class. 

All classes are full and we will not be accepting any more people on the Intermediate and Advanced Youth Theatre classes for the rest of 2016/17 term. For those interested in attending our Saturday morning classes we may have some availability in January. Please eMail your details to be added to our waiting list.

Young people at a workshop in An Grianán Theatre, July 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Unlike more traditional speech and drama classes, at An Grianán Theatre our emphasis is firmly on learning through creative play.  Our classes feature an inventive and fun mix of drama games and acting exercises, voice work, movement and stage craft. From the very beginning participants are encouraged to improvise and creatively engage with the material provided by the tutors, sometimes from prepared scripts and sometimes from work devised entirely by the students themselves.

It allows excellent opportunities for both creative and personal development through acting, drama and other performance techniques. Students will learn more about their own voices and movements as well as observing others through play and theatre games. Drama  can also help to build confidence and to develop communication and co-operation skills.

Our youth theatre is also an ideal stepping stone for those wishing to go on to study acting, theatre and performing arts at third level. With an emphasis on performance, participants are offered an insight into many aspects of professional theatre production.

Actor Saoirse Ronan and her dad Paul after a workshop with An Grianán Youth Theatre

Actor Saoirse Ronan and her dad Paul after a workshop with An Grianán Youth Theatre, April 2013

We also occasionally invite guest tutors to host workshops. Past guests include Hollywood actor Saoirse Ronan, renowned Irish director Conall Morrison, voice coach Cathal Quinn from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art, and the award winning actor and writer Little John Nee.

Practical matters:

  • Our classes are active! Participants are advised to wear loose, comfortable clothes and suitable footwear such as runners. We also recommend that students should bring something to drink with them and a healthy snack.
  • All children under the ages of 18 must have a consent form signed by their parent /guardian.
  • Children should be collected promptly as soon as class is over.

Children at a workshop in An Grianán Theatre, July 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.


Our classes are currently divided into four groups:

Entry level: suitable ages 7 to 9
Tutor: Nora Kavanagh
Saturdays, 10.30am to 12pm.
Ideal for beginners, these classes focus on learning through dramatic play.  Students will be introduced to key drama skills including basic stage craft, creative play, performance development, confidence building, team work and social skills development.

Junior: suitable ages 10 to 13
Tutor: Nora Kavanagh
Saturdays, 12pm to 1.30pm.
Students will develop on the skills described above, learning more about stage craft and theatre terminology, and performance techniques. They will have opportunities to improvise and devise original work as well as working from scripts.

pbm Performing Arts Summer School. Teenagers taking part in a workshop at An Grianán Theatre. August 2015. Photo by Paul McGuckin. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Intermediate: suitable ages 13 to 15
Tutor: Nora Kavanagh
Wednesdays, 4.30pm to 6pm
These lively,  interactive workshops will focus on confidence building exercises,  improvisation and teamwork. Beginners are welcome while more experienced students will have a opportunity to build on existing skills as well as learning new techniques using a variety of drama games and exercises.

Advanced: suitable ages 16 to 21
Tutor: Nora Kavanagh
Wednesdays, 6.30pm to 8pm
Continuing development of performance skills such as voice,  movement,  characterisation, improvisation,  ensemble and devising.  The classes are as much about the process as they are about the final showcase and performance. This course is ideal for those who are serious about performance and wish to progress further.

NB: It is at the discretion of the tutors as to whether they feel a student would benefit by moving to a different age group.

Other opportunities

As we are affiliated to the National Association of Youth Drama our students have the opportunity to apply for further training with the NAYD and a number of our students have been successful in this. Examples of training provided by the NAYD include their Young Critics programme, the National Festival of Youth Theatre in Kilkenny and the National Youth Theatre.

National Youth Theatre

An Grianan Youth Theatre member Aoife O'Connor in rehearsals for the National Youth Theatre's Gulliver's Travels directed by Conall Morrison Summer 2013.

Youth Theatre member Aoife O’Connor, one of several of our members to have successfully auditioned for the National Youth Theatre annual summer production. Aoife was cast in the 2013 production of Gulliver’s Travels,directed by Conall Morrison and performed in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and Cork Opera House.

Run by the NAYD, the National Youth Theatre (NYT) is an ensemble production created with a cast of young people from youth theatres across Ireland. The young people work with professional artistic and technical teams over a four-week period, culminating in performance in a major theatre venue. Young people from the more than 50 affiliated youth theatre groups from across the county take part in highly competitive auditions. To date four members of our youth theatre have successfully auditioned for these prestigious productions:

In 2010, Ronan McDevitt, 16, from Fintown, was cast in A Dream Play by August Strindberg, in a version by Caryl Churchill, directed by Jimmy Fay.

In 2011, Sarah McGoohan, 16, from Letterkenny, was cast in It Only Ever Happens In The Movies, devised by Mikel Murfi, John Taite and the cast of NYT2011, directed by Mikel Murfi.

In 2013, Aoife O’Connor, 16, from Ramelton, was cast in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, adapted and directed by Conall Morrison.

In 2015, Hugh Carr, 18, from Ranafast, was cast in Salt Mountain by Carmel Winters, directed by Jo Mangan.

Inhouse productions

Performance is always an important element of our youth theatre and as well as showcases at the end of each semester we have embarked on larger scale projects as well. Our biggest to date was a production of Annette McNelis’ litter awareness show Environment the Musical. Adapted for the stage and directed by our resident tutor Nora Kavanagh with musical direction by Trudy O’Donnell the cast was drawn entirely from our 7 to 13 year old classes with a couple of older teens from youth theatre. They did six public performances of the show to the general public as well as to local school children and were featured on RTE’s Nationwide.

The cast of our youth theatre productions Zombie Baby and Kohl backstage on 17 May 2016.

The cast of our youth theatre productions Zombie Baby and Kohl backstage on 17 May 2016.

Other recent projects have included an extract from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible with director Iarla McGowan of Workhouse Theatre and Is He Here Yet?  a drama piece devised and written by our youth theatre members showcasing work achieved 2013/14 term. In 2016 the plays Zombie Baby by Jim Hyde and Kohl, a play originally devised by Droichead Youth Theatre, under Sharon Cromwell were performed.