Mairead Crowley studied with The Leinster School of Music and Drama and earned a Higher Diploma in Arts in Drama Education degree in 2019. Mairead now teaches drama full-time.
Following and embracing your passion can be a daunting decision, but for Leinster School of Music and Drama graduate Mairead Crowley, her decision to enrol in the Higher Diploma in Arts in Drama Education represented a complete career change and set her down a path she had always deeply desired to travel.
What inspired you to get involved in theatre?
Drama and theatre have been an integral part of my journey in life and my experience with them has been hugely positive, giving me self-confidence by taking risks and performing for an audience.
I believe that drama and theatre are vital to people and communities. Theatre brings people together to celebrate and challenge through storytelling. I am especially interested in teaching young children and young adults as I believe drama and role play can play an important role in early childhood education where children are free to express themselves and to explore.
As a mother of two small children, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of creative role play and imagination play as fundamental to the healthy development of our children’s minds and spirits and essential training that prepares them to become confident young adults. The whole process of drama can be an incredible experience for children as it promotes self-esteem, self-confidence and imagination. Drama in Education enables children and young adults to express a range of emotions in a safe environment and to build trust in themselves and others.
Where did your journey with theatre begin?
Mairead became involved in drama and theatre over 22 years ago through Limerick Youth Centre where she completed a two-year training programme. Mairead then went on to train with The Gaiety School of Acting where she further broadened her understanding of theatre. Following her training with the Gaiety School, Mairead set up her own theatre company with two other Gaiety School graduates. After two successful years producing and performing with their theatre company, they decided to take a sabbatical from theatre and focused on their respective careers.
“I focused on my career in banking and undertook a primary degree while working full time, achieving a 2.1 Honours Degree in Financial Services. However, drama had always been my passion and, following a career break, I decided to resign from my banking job in 2017.”
With the time to reflect, Mairead explored her options and decided to take a leap of faith and enrol in the Higher Diploma in Arts in Drama Education in 2018. Mairead graduated in 2019 and is now working full-time as a drama teacher.
How do you feel your time at The Leinster School of Music and Drama has benefited you?
My decision to apply for this course in 2018 represented a complete career change for me as I had no experience of teaching drama. This course gave me great confidence as a teacher as I directly applied the learning in the classroom, with positive outcomes across the board. This course provided me with a thorough grounding in the theories and processes of teaching drama, with interesting lectures delivered by industry experts and a hands-on teaching placement.
Observing, listening and discussing my classes with my peers was one of the key components of this course. The group discussions in class were always positive and constructive and I always learned something new.
The experience was a hugely positive one for me, giving me self-confidence by taking risks and teaching for the first time. I learned how to help children challenge perceptions and how to foster creative and imaginative development. I am now teaching drama full time and the children are enjoying my drama classes – they are engaged and listening and participating.
For me, this course has provided an outlet for creativity which has helped shape my identity.
Finally, we asked Mairead some quick-fire questions.
Can you give us a quote which sums up your experience?
“Life is not linear. When you follow your own true north you create new opportunities, meet different people, have different experiences and create a different life” – Ken Robinson
Best piece of advice you've received:
Discover what you are good at and do what you love!
Advice for recent graduates:
Challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, take risks and trust yourself!