Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I encourage prospective candidates to contact me in relation to research projects that explore: the work of women theatremakers in Irish theatre, drama and theatre education, and/or, practice-based investigations.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Kate McCarthy (pronouns: she/her) is a Lecturer in Drama. Her teaching, research, and performance practice explore and challenge exclusionary and gendered narratives. Her teaching activities and research outputs use multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression, taking many forms including: theatre practice, workshops, community engagement projects, educational resources, public talks, podcasts, summer schools, as well as publications and conference contributions.

Kate trained at the Cork School of Music (Munster Technological University), Trinity College London (Associate and Licentiate Diplomas in Performing), and in Drama and Theatre Studies at University College Cork (BA and MA). As a practitioner, Kate has facilitated and devised numerous contemporary performance projects in Ireland and in the UK—ranging from youth theatre to site-responsive and street theatre to drama and theatre education projects.

Since moving to Waterford in 2006, Kate has facilitated a wide range of drama and theatre community engagement projects in the region with the following organisations: Animated State Dance Company; Butler Gallery & Museum; The Copper Coast Geopark; Cruinniú na nÓg; Curious State Theatre and Street Spectacle Company; Garter Lane Arts Centre; Little Red Kettle and Waterford Libraries. Kate also supports work created by young people and has facilitated projects in this domain with organisations such as Activate Youth Theatre and Physcially Phishy youth theatres (Cork); Klub Music (Waterford); Waterford Youth Arts; WIT's Learning for Life programme, and Youth Theatre Ireland.


Kate's teaching and learning philosophy is informed by three interrelated approaches: the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), Teaching for Understanding (TfU), and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). She teaches a range of practice-based and theory-based undergraduate modules in the Department of Arts (see Courses for more information), including on the BA programmes in Theatre Studies, English, and Visual Art. She has also taught on the Social Care, Early Childhood Studies, Design in Visual Communication, and Fáilte Ireland programmes.

Kate was nominated as a Teaching Hero (National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning) in the 2020-2021 academic year. With Dr Úna Kealy, Kate was the recipient of the Institute's 2016 Teaching Excellence Award. With Dr Kealy, she is currently co-supervising Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Post-Graduate scholar Aaron Kent's PhD: 'Re-shaping narratives: An analysis of life and culture as dramatised by Irish women playwrights following the Irish War of Independence (1922-1959)'. 

Research Interests

Kate was awarded the WIT Early Career Research Award in 2021. Her research interests include: the arts and education; contemporary theatre practice, in particular participatory performance and live art; the work of Waterford playwright, Teresa Deevy; and Waterford’s Magdalene Laundry and Industrial School. 

Research projects

Lyrical Bodies investigates Waterford playwright Teresa Deevy’s ballet Possession, a work never yet performed, to explore and analyse ableism and gender discrimination towards the Irish Deaf community and Deaf woman via theatre practice research. The project considers how deafened playwright Teresa Deevy reflected on the socio-cultural environment of the mid-twentieth century. This project is funded by the WIT Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Fund and Research Connexions.

Performing the Region investigates the theatre practice of the South East region. The project is situated within the Analysing Social Change Research Group.

Letters from the Past constitutes an inter-generational archival project researching the correspondence between Waterford playwrights Teresa Deevy and James Cheasty.

The Waterford Memories Project comprises an oral history, digital humanities project that investigates the Waterford Laundry and Industrial School. (PI Dr Jennifer O'Mahoney, Dept of Arts). This project has multiple research outputs, each funded by different organisations including the Irish Research Council, Creative Ireland, and Waterford City and County Council.

Generation Climate Change: funded by Creative Ireland, this project provided young people in Waterford city and county with opportunities for creative, critical, and reflective thinking about the climate crises and examined drama education and the Mantle of the Expert approach as a critical pedagogy. 

Funding awards

  • WIT Research Connexions Publication Fund 2021 (with Dr Úna Kealy): €1,494 and WIT Research Connexions Research Dissemination Activity Fund 2021: €500.
  • WIT Research Connexions publication fund 2020, Active Speech: Critical Perspectives on Teresa Deevy with Dr Úna Kealy. Award (with Dr Kealy): €5,000. 
  • WIT Research Connexions fund 2020 with Dr Hazel Farrell, Dr Jenny O'Connor, Dr Susan Connolly. Award: €1,000.
  • Co-supervisor with Dr Una Kealy, GOIPG (IRC) PhD student Aaron Kent. Award: €96,000
  • WIT Research Connexions publication fund 2019 (with Dr Úna Kealy). Award: €3,700.
  • Creative Ireland (2019) Generation Climate Change. Total: €4,500
  • Creative Irealand (2019) Exploring Waterford's Magdalene Laundry (with Dr Jennifer O'Mahoney). Total: €4,500
  • Waterford City and County Council Arts Funding. Total: €1,000



2021- present Advisor (with Dr Úna Kealy) for the And-Mitchell Project, a research initiative funded by the Regional Government of Andalucia, Spain. The project also comprises scholars from the universities of Almería and Pablo de Olavide, in Spain to explore the life and work of writer Mairin Mitchell.

2021-present: Invited by Dr Nicole Brown (University College London) and Director of Social Research & Practice and Education to consult on a new series of Practice as Research publications.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Trinity College Dublin

2010May 2018

Award Date: 18 Apr 2019

Masters Degree, University College Cork

Oct 2004Sep 2005

Award Date: 13 Oct 2005

Bachelors Degree, University College Cork

Sep 2001Jun 2004

Award Date: 14 Oct 2004

External positions

Advisor, University of Almeria

2021 → …

External Examiner, University of Limerick


External Examiner, Munster Technological University


MEd Supervisor, Trinity College Dublin



  • PR English literature
  • Theatre Studies
  • L Education (General)
  • PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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