The Gaiety School of Acting

The National Theatre School of Ireland


1st Years

From Youth Theatre Company to Full Time Actor Training – My journey with the GSA so far…Sarah Foley

When I was 16 I joined  the Youth Theatre Company at The Gaiety School of Acting.  It was really good fun and a great way to make new friends, but I was  surprised at how seriously it was taken. Classes ran between 10am-5pm every Sunday and by Christmas time we put on a showcase which was written, directed and acted by members of the class! By the summer time we were doing a 90 minute play – “For Whom We Deliver” – in the main space in Smock Alley and had 2 weeks of full time rehearsals before the week of our show. This was a really great experience and the highlight of the year. The whole thing was an amazing experience. Below are some pictures of our YTC  production “For Whom We Deliver” back in July 2012.

unnamed (1) unnamed
I had always loved drama classes but it was this course which made me realise I wanted to do acting on a full time basis. The Youth Theatre Company gave me a really good understanding of how serious a full time course would be. It also helped me to grow in my confidence of performing and gave me a better understanding of how theatre worked.
Before my audition for the full time programme I attended a talk given by Patrick Sutton on the audition process and what to expect of the course. When the day of the audition came I was nervous but also felt relaxed as I had a better idea of what to expect.
I’ve just finished the first term of the full time programme. The days are long and demanding but I absolutely love it! The classes range from acting to dance to manifesto and you can never go a day without trying something new. I am really excited to continue the rest of the course and I am looking forward to start term two!
Sarah Foley (centre) & her Full Time classmates, September 2014.
Sarah is currently a student on our Full Time Professional Actor Training Programme and is sue to graduate in June 2016. To find out more information about both the Full Time Actor Training and Our One Year Part Times courses at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland please click the links above. 
Feel free to sign up for our Open Day on Saturday 10th January here to experience what it would be like to do either of these courses and how to apply.

‘A life Less Ordinary’ – My acting career in the Big Apple, by Anna Olson Nugent (GSA Grad, Class of 2001)



‘Being accepted into the Full Time Actor Training at The Gaiety School of Acting was one of the most exciting moments of my life! I was heading to a new country to dedicate my time and energy to my passion, acting. While at the Gaiety School, I loved my classes and the full immersion of voice and body training.

After working professionally in Ireland for a few years and starting a theatre company (, my husband Paul Nugent ( whom I had met during my time at the Gaiety School, and I, received an offer to move to the States. We started off in Boston, with me teaching theatre at a high school and Paul acting regionally.

When Paul booked a show in New York we decided it was time to head to the big city! And that it is – BIG. Not only is there a huge number of opportunities for work in theatre, TV, indie film, but regional theatres audition from NYC as well, so you can book for work all around the country. There is Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Fringe and so much more. There is Equity and Non-Equity work, paid and unpaid and there is no shortage of actors of every age, size and ethnicity!! Very quickly you learn that the best way of finding your feet is by finding a community, whether that is an active company that lets you volunteer or a class that helps you keep your skills sharp. Paul and I were lucky to plug into a few communities and eight years later we are still working with the those groups and individuals we found within our first year in New York.

We started a new play festival with our colleagues and friends at Tangent Theatre Company ( now located up state, we joined a new works development group in Jersey City (INKubator at and Paul has become a resident artist at ‘The Cell Theatre’ ( where we both have done numerous readings and performances.

The reality is that it can be difficult to make a living as an actor. Even the Equity minimums can be a far cry from a living wage, especially if you are not working year round! Work in TV & film can really help in the money department as well as voice-over, commercials and audiobooks.

While in the city I’ve tended toward survival jobs of a different kind, working in a lot of non-profits and production, this work has sharpened my management and production skills and introduced me to a larger network of people from a variety of backgrounds. I’ve seen the parallels to casting in the human resource department and the planning of a season in the programming of a church. I’ve discovered a lot about myself and about how I want to use my craft. It was eye opening to learn that there are as many types of successful careers as there are actors. My training at The Gaiety School of Acting  has put me in good stead on this side of the pond – our skills and technique are on par with the best. In New York, I’ve learned a little bit about a more emotional approach to acting that seems prevalent over here.

Most importantly I’ve learned that the number one priority is to ‘be yourself’. Not the perfectly honed neutral actor that can do anything, though that of course is great, but the person with quirks and personality that can only be you! It took me a long time to embrace that about myself, to be confident that being me was enough (….but I can dance and sing and juggle and….). I love developing new work. I love working with playwrights and watching them grow, watching their work take shape and meld into what it is meant to be. I enjoy readings and the freedom they bring you to use your instincts and not overthink your choices. I love working on camera and even started my own campaign to be a TV cop a few years back. Producing is also something I enjoy; picking the project and bringing together talented people who I respect to create a living, breathing work – this all gives me great joy and satisfaction, and is all part of what it means for me to be a creative actor.

This September it all comes together for me in The McGowan Trilogy, part of Origin’s 1st Irish festival. I’ll be working at ‘The Cell’, which is a home away from home, an incubation space for artists, with my very talented husband, on a play that I’ve been blessed to be part of the development process on. Seamus Scanlon, the playwright, wrote his first play three years ago, and since then he has continued to explore the character of Victor McGowan in numerous one- acts, short stories, a novel and even a screenplay.

The McGowan Trilogy is a series of one- act plays (DANCING AT LUNACY, THE LONG WET GRASS, BOYS SWAM BEFORE ME) set in Ireland that expose the character of Victor McGowan as a fierce, complicated and conflicted soldier; Paul plays him with such sincere depth, nuance and abandon. It is an honor to be working with Kira Simring and Nancy Manocherian at ‘The Cell’ and I adore the piece that I am in, ‘The Long Wet Grass’ – I’ve loved it in every form, from short story to screenplay. I am so thrilled to be playing this complex woman! These are the moments, the shows, that remind us why we came on this wild adventure and have given our lives to the theatre’

Anna Olson Nugent (GSA Class of 2001) will be appearing with Paul Nugent (GSA Class of 2001) in THE MCGOWAN TRILOGY, a series of one-act plays by Seamus Scanlon at the cellas part of 1st Irish Theatre Festival, for a strictly-limited engagement from September 11th – October 5th (338 West 23rd Street, New York, NY). The Opening is Saturday, September 13,  2014. Find out more information here.





Feeling Inspired? Has Anna’s experience awakened something inside of you which you are curious to explore? Why not consider our One Year Part Time courses in Performance, Advanced Performance or Performance Theatre Company, currently enrolling, and take your passion to the next level.

Our Two Year Professional Intensive Actor Training course applications for 2014 are now closed but we will be accepting applications for the 2015 intake soon.

A Day in the life of a Full Time Student at GSA – Diana Melo

My name is Diana and I’m one of the full time students at The Gaiety School of Acting.

I am in my 1st year of the Two Year Full Time Intensive Professional Actor Training Programme at the school.

I started my training last October and I have been very busy since day 1. So far, this is the most amazing experience intertwined with the happiest times of my life.

I feel it is a challenge, but in a good way. Tough, but rewarding. The training is very demanding, you have to focus and be present with the right energy all the time, due to the physical and emotional work you are compelled to do, but on the other hand you can expect to get really fit in no time.

Every week we have to keep journals which helps us organize and structure everything we learn, but teachers do help you with this laborious task.

On a social level, everyone is so incredibly friendly and they really care about the students. No one is self conscious or competitive, there is a great sense of ensemble between first years, second years and part time students.

I can’t describe how happy I am when I am in school and when it comes to holidays, it’s nice to have a rest but I do miss it all.
In short,the knowledge we acquire at the Gaiety School of Acting is of the most importance and I feel very optimistic about my future, because I feel I’ll have all the necessary tools to be a professional actor.

If you are interested in learning more about our Two Year Full Time and One Year Part Time Acting courses at The Gaiety School of Acting then why not stop by to our Open Day on Saturday 22nd March. You can sign up and learn more on our website here.


Take Acting to the Next Level! Why not attend a free Open Day at the Gaiety School?

Open Day for Full Time & One Year Part Time Courses at the Gaiety School of Acting, Saturday 22nd March 2014

The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland is delighted to launch its first official Open Day for prospective students for Full Time & One Year Part Time Courses on Saturday 22 March at the Gaiety School of Acting, Essex Street West in Temple Bar from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

This Open Day is specifically aimed at students who are committed to the pursuit of excellence in the field of acting and have an interest in attending our Two Year Full Time Intensive Professional Actor Training Programme or one of our One Year Part Time courses in Performance, Advanced Performance or the Performance Theatre Company.

Throughout the day, attendee’s will get an overall taste as to what doing an Intensive Acting course at the Gaiety School of Acting would be like. On the day, perspective students will have the opportunity to meet some of the people who will be teaching the course, view the training spaces and take part in a variety of specialized workshops such as Improvisation, Voice and Stage Combat. There will also be an opportunity to attend a Q&A session and liaise with current students who will give them a synopsis of what each course would entail and enable them to pick up information about the various options available to them.

The day will begin at 10.30am with a welcome address from Gaiety school Director, Patrick Sutton. This will be followed by a series of ½ hour workshops from 11am to 12.30pm. These free workshops will be based on elements of both the Full Time & Part Time Course modules including Improvisation, Voice, Stage Combat, Acting and Manifesto.

At 12.30pm, after the workshops have taken place, all attendee’s will be invited to attend a Q&A session with a panel of staff, who will be able to answer any questions and queries they may have.

Throughout the day there will also be an information desk run by students in the common area and they will be available to share their experiences of the courses, offer a short tour of the facilities and discuss any questions prospective students may have.

Patrick Sutton, Director of the Gaiety School notes ‘The Gaiety School of Acting has been at the heart of actor training in Ireland for the past 28 years. We boast a graduate success rate second to none and I am proud of the fact that we are the oldest, brightest, best, most successful drama school in the country in which to train to be an actor’

‘This open day offers prospective students the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of our renowned alumni including a host of young Irish talent such as Charlie Murphy, Sarah Greene, Aidan Turner, Paul Reid, Rory Nolan, Eva Birthistle and Colin O’Donoghue’

Please feel free to contact us for more information at or you can book on our website here.

Headshot Opportunity

Need headshots?

Studio photographer David Monahan working with small group of photography students are looking for people to model for classes.  We will work with you to get the look you want, and with David’s expert knowledge of lighting, will get great results.

€30 will cover your session and digital copies of files.  If you want prints, that can easily be arranged at minimal cost.

Contact Jeannie Wenham to book your place or for further information – or 086 351 4303.

Exclusive Offer to GSA Students for Dublin Dance Festival!!

Dublin Dance Festival would like to do a special offer for Gaiety School of Acting students for Daniel Linehan’s performances at the Samuel Beckett Theatre on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 at 7pm.


They are offering tickets for €8, bookable through the DDF Box Office – on 01 672 8815, or pop in the Box Office in Filmbase in Temple Bar in person. Gaiety School students should quote: ‘Linehan Offer’ to avail of the discount.


Daniel Linehan – Montage for Three & Not About Everything

Samuel Beckett Theatre

May 15 & 16


This smart, witty double bill is bursting with ideas. Montage for Three sees two dancers recreate a series of projected photos – breathing new life into the static images and making you think afresh about what’s happening in pictures of people we all know – Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King to name a few.
Linehan delivers a monologue to the audience all through Not About Everything – but while spinning constantly. It’s a physical tour de force!


Here’s Daniel talking about the show:

We Want Your Opinion!!!

A new Internet business requires actors to provide real life feedback (on camera)
on their own experiences with famous brands products and services, anything
from Abercrombie and Fitch to Zara, Budweiser to Vodafone, Rabo Bank to

This online initiative will enable consumers to provide video feedback on products and services
that they buy. So if you really love those new shoes you bought you can share it with the
world, and the company that made them, and maybe they will give you something towards
your next pair! Or, if your mobile phone provider is really letting you down, you can share your
dissatisfaction publicly and let them come back to you with their remedy.

Videos will be a maximum of 1 minute long and can be recorded on a camera, webcam or
mobile. The aim is to capture a few hundred videos in the next few weeks.

Gaiety School of Acting students have the opportunity to earn a little cash for being in front of a
camera (or behind it capturing their friends and family).

If you are interested, please contact Bartley O’Connor ( For further
information, come to the Gaiety School of Acting on Tuesday, 9th April at 2pm where Bartley
will explain more!

Northern Ireland Health & Safety Advert Casting Call

We are  looking for an assortment of actors from 5 years old to 75, both males and females:

so children /teenagers/20ies/30ies /40ies/50ies/60ies/70ies both male and female are required.

The casting will be in Belfast City Center this Monday the 28th and Tuesday 29th of January.

We are not looking for actors as such- more students of drama or people on the fringe of a professional career as it is for a Health and Safety advert. People from the amateur world would be welcome.

Actors should be based in Northern Ireland and be available to audition up there.

(Please  state if you hold a driving licence as some of the cast will be needed to drive a car or motorcycle. It is not necessary for the role but is an advantage.)

Our shoot dates are

Monday 25th February – Saturday 2nd March (possibly into Sunday)

Most of the artists will be required for one day only but some may need them for two days.

Please send a photo and CV to If no CV is available please send a recent picture along with a brief about yourself and your acting experience.

Twisted Focus present “Apples” by John Retallack 28th Jan- 2nd Feb

Apples flyer side 1 (2)-page-001Twisted Focus present “Apples” by John Retallack the 28th Jan- 2nd Feb at The New Theatre Temple Bar
Apples by John Retalack adapted from the novel by Richard Milward
Directed by Ronan Wilmot
Produced by Twisted Focus
 Apples is a play about sex and the city when you’re 15.
“Apples cocks an unflinching hard-stare at the sharp end of teenage life,
and the play is edgy, exciting and quite brilliant. The drugs, the sex, the 
boozing… it all smacks beautifully of the real thing.
Time Out
It has toured the UK and was a winner of the coveted Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
After its sell out Irish Debut in RiRa at The Globe, Twisted Focus are delighted to be bringing back “Apples” to The New Theatre, Temple Bar.
Cast includes: Anna Clifford, Diane Jennings, Mark Lavery, Matthew Kelly, Nicola Lucey and Ruairí Heading.


Performances: Mon Jan 28th –  Sat 2nd Feb 2013,

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: The New Theatre Temple Bar

Tickets:€15/€12 concession/€10- group rate
Booking: 016703361


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑