Welcome to the O’Donoghue Centre, the new home for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway

Read what notable contributors to the arts in Ireland have to say about the launch:

Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen, Actor

“Acting and storytelling are part of the Irish soul, no more so anywhere than in Galway and the West of Ireland.

NUI Galway’s new centre for theatre and performance will surely be a forge …sparking the imagination and creative talent of a new generation of storytellers and artists and I wish all involved in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University every success.”

Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston, Oscar-winning actor

"Galway is a place close to my heart - special to me and to many for its culture and creativity.

With this new centre for theatre and performance, Galway’s place as a hub of artistic energy is strengthened. I am delighted to send best wishes to all involved in the O’Donoghue Centre which stands on NUI Galway’s campus beside the Huston School of Film.

Together they are producing the next generation of artists, actors and film-makers, which will bring Galway’s reputation to the world."

Marie Mullen

Marie Mullen, Actress and Co-founder, Druid Theatre Company

As students in Dramsoc and in the early years of the Druid story, we were blessed in our mentors from NUI Galway – people like Ollie Mannion, Gerry Taheny, Gary Ansbro, Paddy McGovern, and Mercy Fahy.

To this day we benefit from NUI Galway’s support through the great vision and tireless work of its President, Dr Jim Browne, as indeed we continue to benefit from President Higgins and Sabina’s continued patronage.

I’m delighted to see that this tradition of support in NUI Galway is set to continue with the launch of the O’Donoghue Centre – and how fitting that Druid’s great friend, Dr Donagh O’Donoghue, should be instrumental in its creation – and with this new theatre, I look forward to witnessing Galway continue to punch above it weight when it comes to producing world-class directors, actors and theatre companies well in the future.

Alan Esslemont

Alan Esslemont, Ardstiúrthóir TG4

"Tá nasc láidir agus domhain idir OÉ Gaillimh agus TG4 agus ceangal pearsanta agam féin freisin mar gheall gurbh í an Ollscoil an chéad áit in Éirinn a thug fostaíocht dom!

Bhí céimithe agus comhaltaí foirne ó OÉ Gaillimh lárnach ó thaobh TG4 agus an earnáil chruthaitheach a fh orbairt agus tá comhpháirtíocht leanúnach ar siúl eadrainn maidir le hoiliúint, ábhar closamhairc agus tograí taighde. Is cuid an-tábhachtach anois é Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha d’infreastruchtúr cultúrtha iarthar na hÉireann.

Feiceann muidne sa tionscal closamhairc go mbaineann deiseanna ollmhóra leis an áis seo – go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta.”

Message from President of NUI Galway

Dr Jim Browne, President

Today is a milestone in NUI Galway’s history - marking the opening of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance - a flagship new facility for the performing arts in the heart of our University.

NUI Galway plays a key role in the cultural life of our region and of the nation. In recent months the University has been closely involved in Galway’s successful bid to become European Capital of Culture 2020 – a development which will put Galway firmly in the international arts spotlight.

NUI Galway has always had a deep commitment to the arts – a commitment which continues to be central to our vision. Over the years we’ve supported a vibrant ethos on campus which has enriched national culture and confirmed Galway’s position as a city of creativity and innovation.

Many cultural initiatives trace their origins to our campus, among these, Druid Theatre Company, An Taibhdhearc, Macnas, Music for Galway, Galway Ensemble in Residence and Galway International Arts Festival - each founded by students and members of the University community.

NUI Galway is also internationally-renowned as a centre of academic research in theatre history and has one of the world’s most important collections of Irish theatre archives, including the digital Abbey Theatre archive, the papers of such major Irish companies as Druid Theatre, Galway Arts Festival and the Lyric Players’ Theatre, and the papers of leading writers such as Thomas Kilroy, John McGahern and many others.

Our commitment to the creative arts is given renewed vigour by the opening today of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance which will become the hub for creative arts in the University and the city. None of this would be possible without the philanthropy of Dr Donagh O’Donoghue and the work of Galway University Foundation and I thank them sincerely for their commitment and support. I also commend the leadership of Professor Patrick Lonergan and his colleagues in bringing this project to fruition.

As we look to the future, we imagine the stories that will be told, the careers that will be forged and the ideas that will be sparked in this wonderful place - the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance.

Dr Jim Browne

Welcome from Professor Patrick Lonergan

Drama has always played a huge role in the life of our university – but these facilities will bring us to a new level. Thanks to the generosity of the O’Donoghue family, we now have access to a 120-seat venue, three studio spaces, a classroom, a workshop, and much more. In these spaces, generations of students will stage new plays, and will reimagine what theatre can do both in and for our society. And this space aims to inspire them to find the best of themselves, to identify and express their own sense of creativity.

As Galway moves towards 2020, when it will be Europe’s Capital of Culture, we have a huge opportunity to transform attitudes to the creative arts, and to ensure they are valued both in themselves and for their broader impact. By placing a theatre right at the heart of its campus, NUI Galway is providing a tangible statement of the university’s sense of the importance of creativity. I speak for all our staff and students in expressing our extreme appreciation to the university, Galway University Foundation, and the O’Donoghue Family for enabling this to happen. I want particularly to express my thanks to the staff of the O’Donoghue Centre: Thomas Conway, Marianne Kennedy, Aoife Harrington, Miriam Haughton, Charlotte McIvor, Mary McPartlan and Ian Walsh. Thanks also to Barry Houlihan of the Hardiman Library for his work in providing archival and historical information for this document.

We look forward to welcoming you back here during the years ahead for productions and conferences,  and  a variety of other exciting events.

Professor Patrick  Lonergan
Director  of O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance 

Message from Minister Heather Humphreys, TD

Heather Humphreys, TD

I would like to congratulate NUI Galway on the opening of the new O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. This new home for the performing arts and the academic discipline of drama represents a truly innovative development by NUI Galway, supported by private philanthropy through Galway University Foundation.

I’d like to acknowledge the visionary leadership and the partnership of those involved in the project and I pay special tribute to Dr Donagh O’Donoghue who has lent significant philanthropic support to this important initiative. Last November at the national academic conference Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty here at NUI Galway, I had the pleasure of outlining the Creative Ireland agenda as part of the Government’s legacy programme for Ireland 1916.

Creative Ireland is an ambitious five year initiative, which recognises the centrality of arts and culture to Irish life. Through Creative Ireland, the Irish Government wants to enable the creative potential of every child; boost culture in communities; invest in our cultural infrastructure; maximise our creative industries and unify our global reputation with a message based on creativity and innovation.

Galway is a wonderful hub of Ireland’s cultural life and this development of the O’Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway will be a powerhouse for cultural innovation and will consolidate Galway’s place at the very heart of creativity and innovation. I am delighted that this initiative will help to underpin our ambitions as Ireland recognises that culture and creativity are the greatest assets of any society. To that end I wish all involved in the endeavours here at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance every success for the future.

Le gach dea-ghuí
Heather Humphreys, TD
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Message from President Michael D. Higgins

President Michael D. Higgins

NUI Galway has played a key role in establishing Galway’s reputation as Ireland’s cultural capital, and as an international centre for innovative drama, theatre and performance.

The opening of The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, – named in recognition of Dr. Donagh O’Donoghue, who has contributed so much to Galway’s economic and cultural life – is an important landmark in the life of the University, enhancing its already proud and impressive tradition in the arts.

The establishment of the Druid Academy, as part of this new Centre, is a celebration of the fruitful partnership that exists between NUI Galway and the Druid Theatre Company, and testimony to their mutual and greatly enriching friendship.

I am confident that the The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, will enable new generations of emerging talent to develop their creative capacity and leave their unique imprint on Ireland’s cultural landscape. May I thank and congratulate all those who have brought this important new artisitic space to fruition.

Michael D. Higgins
Uachtarán na hÉireann
President of Ireland