(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 12/4.)
A typical day for an acting student at The Lir, the National Academy of Dramatic Art, begins not with a class, but a “call” for a class, usually at 8.50am. The call is a convention of the stage, the countdown to show time, and it’s one of the distinguishing marks that lets a visitor know you are not on campus any more.
The Lir, now in its fourth year – the first of its students graduated this year – was created to reach farther than ordinary university-based training. When Trinity’s former acting degree was discontinued in 2007, prompting a professional outcry, a high-profile forum of academics and industry professionals later recommended the establishment of a conservatory for all dramatic arts. The immensely ambitious plan came together with surprising speed when Trinity and the Cathal Ryan trust formed an association with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, intent on creating a space where students and the industry would meet.