Gaiety School of Acting

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The Gaiety School of Acting, The National Theatre School of Ireland
Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8
Dublin 8
, ,
WebsiteGaiety School of Acting (official site)
The Gaiety School of Acting
Gaiety School of Acting sign

The Gaiety School of Acting (GSA) is an Irish drama school. It is located on Essex Street West in Temple Bar in inner city Dublin. The school was founded in 1986 by actor and director Joe Dowling in response to the lack of full-time actor training in Ireland at the time.[citation needed]

Organisation and goals[edit]

The Gaiety School of Acting is operated by a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1986 by theatre director Joe Dowling, in response to the lack of full time actor training programmes in Ireland at that time. The school aims to train actors for theatre, film and television, and has a broad offering, ranging from its two-year full time intensive actor training, adult one-year part-time training, adult 10-week courses, and weekend workshops, to its successful Young Gaiety Drama classes for under 18s.


The school runs a two-year full-time Professional Actor Training course, and many part-time and youth courses in locations across the city of Dublin, as well as a Masters of Arts in Theatre Practice in association with University College Dublin.

One Year Part-Time courses include a Performance Year and Advanced Performance Year in Acting, and a Performance Theatre Company course. Ten-week courses include Introduction to Drama, Page to Stage, Acting for Camera, Master the Media, Stand Up Comedy and Long Form Improvisation.

The School also hosts a range of courses for international students delivered both in conjunction with US partner organisations and available for solo applicants. Its broad community and outreach scheme includes a Shakespeare in Schools programme for Leaving Cert students.

The full time actor-training programme has delivered graduate success with actors appearing in all of Ireland’s theatres, in film and television nationally and internationally, and in theatres across England including The Royal Shakespeare Company and The National Theatre in London.

In addition, the school offers a corporate training facility with programmes specialising in Communication Skills, Leadership, Team Building and Brand Management.

Almost 5,000 students pass through the school annually.[citation needed]


Writers the School has commissioned include Marina Carr, Gavin Kostick, Alex Johnston, Ken Bourke, Sean McLaughlin, Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy, Lisa Harding, Roger Gregg, Michele Reid, Lally Katz, Lisa Tierney Keogh, Michelle Read and Gary Duggan.


The school is based in the centre of a cultural quarter, Temple Bar, with Young Gaiety classes also taking place in satellite locations in Bray and Malahide.

Notable graduates[edit]

The school has been providing professional actor training for over 30 years and graduates include Colin Farrell, Olivia Wilde, Colin O’Donoghue, Aidan Turner (Best Male Newcomer, Jameson Empire Awards 2014), Eva Birthistle (Best Actress Lead Television Award, IFTA 2014), Charlie Murphy (Best Actress, The Irish Times Awards 2013) and Sarah Greene (Tony Award Nominee 2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fair City actor Karl Shiels has died, aged 47". RTE News. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019. He began his career as an electrician but changed direction in the early nineties when he trained with the Gaiety School of Acting.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°20′42″N 6°15′56″W / 53.345014°N 6.265579°W / 53.345014; -6.265579