Aoife McGrath


  • Room 02.003 - 19 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: - Dance Studies - Choreographic Practices and Processes - Practice as Research - Affect Studies in performance - The Maternal in performance - Movement practices and performance - Interdisciplinary performance practices - Collaborative performance practices


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Dr Aoife McGrath, BA(Hons)Trinity College Dublin, PhD Trinity College Dublin, FHEA, Staatlich Geprüfte Tänzerin (Bühnentanz) Heinz Bosl Stiftung, Munich.

Senior Lecturer in Drama

Drama Subject Lead

Co-President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research

Aoife's research interests include dance and politics, practice as research, performance and philosophy, collaborative creative processes, and cultural and affect studies. After a professional dance career in Germany and Ireland, Aoife worked as a choreographer, director, critic, and as Dance Advisor for the Irish Arts Council. Before joining Queen's in 2012, Aoife was an adjunct lecturer at the School of Drama, Film and Music, Trinity College Dublin. and was assistant to the academic director of Ireland's National Academy of Dramatic Art, the Lir Academy. Aoife continues to work as a choreographer and has been invited to deliver guest lectures, workshops and master classes in Ireland and internationally.

Recent publications include a co-edited book, Dance Matters in Ireland: contemporary dance performance and practice (Palgrave, 2018), chapters on dance and affect ('Dancing the Downward Slide', in DeFrantz and Rothfield, Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion, Palgrave, 2016), dance and politics ('Choreographies of Irish Modernity’in Paige Reynolds (ed.), Modernist Afterlives in Irish Literature and Culture (Anthem Press, 2016), and the politics of creativity in traditional dance ('Do you want to see my hornpipe' in Sellers-Young and Shay The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity, Oxford University Press, 2016). Aoife's monograph, Dance Theatre in Ireland: Revolutionary Moves (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2013) provides the first critical and contextual study of contemporary and historical dance theatre practice in Ireland.

Recent choreographic work:

Let Down, a dance theatre piece about women's experiences of breastfeeding incorporating sociological research on breastfeeding in Northern Ireland. Choreographed and performed by Aoife McGrath and Paula O'Reilly, original sound score by Sorca McGrath, dramaturgy by Emily DeDakis, commissioned by Dr Jennifer Hanratty (QUB) for Breastival 2018, and breastfeeding research by Dr Maria Herron (UU). Performances co-produced and funded by Being Human Festival (AHRC/British Academy), Breastival Belfast, and Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (performances August to December 2018).

Within: Body + Time, a dance solo exploring the experience of time in pregnancy (co-choreographed and performed by Aisling McCormick, videography by Richard Lavery, produced by Emily Dedakis), produced as part of the Rapid Response platform by Accidental Theatre Belfast, 2018.

Please, a dance theatre work about the experiences of women struggling with eating disorders (performed by Leonie McDonagh, original composition by Marty Byrne, text by Emily DeDakis, research by Dr Carolyn Blair (QUB)), Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Brian Friel Theatre, Belfast, 2017.

Aoife is currently working on a monograph on Dance, Affect and the Maternal. 

Aoife is the Co-Convenor (with Prarthana Purkayastha, Royal Holloway University, London, and Philipa Rothfield, La Trobe University, Australia) of the Choreography and Corporeality Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. She is also a member of the executive committee of the Irish Society for Theatre Research, a member of the board of directors of Dance Limerick and a performer/choreographer member of Dance Ireland.

Aoife is interested in supervising research students working in the areas of dance studies, practice as research, movement practices and performance, and collaborative creative processes.. 

Current PhD Students

Elien Hanselaer, 'A study of actor-actor performance connection' (1st supervisor)

Argyro Tsampazi, 'The use of Terzopoulos' Method and Greek Rituals in Choreography' (1st supervisor)

Paula Guzzanti, 'Embodied Consciousness and Affect in Movement-based Improvisation Practices' (1st supervisor)

Maggie Cronin, 'What are the lived experiences and unique challenges faced by women working within the theatre industry in Northern Ireland? A practice-as-research enquiry', (1st supervisor)

Graduated PhD students:

Paula Guzzanti, 'Embodied Consciousness and Affect in Movement-based Improvisation Practices' (1st supervisor)

Caitriona Reilly, ‘Postfeminism and British and Irish Theatre’ (2nd supervisor)


Selected Awards

Being Human Individual Award (AHRC/BA) (2018)

Faculty Research Initiative Award (2018)

Faculty Research Initiative Award (2017)

Irish Society for Theatre Research New Scholar's Prize (2011)

TaPRA Essay Competition Prizewinner (2010)

Society of Dance History Scholars Travel Award (2009)

IRCHSS (Government of Ireland) Research Scholarship (2008, 2009)

Trinity College Dublin Gold Medal (2007)

Trinity College Dublin Scholar (2005-2010)

DAAD Research Scholarship (Freie Universtaet Berlin) (2004-2005)


DRA3060 Dance Theatre

DRA3025 Dissertation

DRA2005 Introduction to Devising

DRA1003 Introduction to Performing

DRA1004 Introduction to Contemporary Performing Practices

DRA3006 Advanced Theatre Practice (mentor for directors)


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Research Output

Dance and Borders

McGrath, A., McGrady, O. & Mooney, J., 20 Dec 2019, In : Animated: current issues and practice in participatory dance. 19, 2, p. 22-25 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 5 Downloads (Pure)

    Lady Magma: The birth and death of a cult

    McGrath, A. & Doherty, O., 19 Nov 2019, 41 p. (Blurb - Fine Arts )

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Let Down: Dance Performance

    McGrath, A., 04 Aug 2018

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

  • The Dance of Affect in Contemporary Irish Dance Theatre

    McGrath, A., 07 Oct 2018, The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance. Weitz, E. & Jordan, E. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 667-682 16 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Within: Body + Time: Dance Performance

    McGrath, A., 02 Feb 2018

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

  • Prizes

    Being Human (AHRC/BA) Individual Award

    McGrath, Aoife (Recipient), 18 May 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Elected Trinity College Dublin Scholar in Drama and German

    McGrath, Aoife (Recipient), 01 May 2004

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Activities

    Palgrave/Macmillan (Publisher)

    Aoife McGrath (Peer reviewer)

    22 Feb 2020

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Moving Methods: understanding dance across borders

    Aoife McGrath (Invited speaker), & Victoria Durrer (Invited speaker)

    02 Jul 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

    Assessor of Dance Bursary Awards for Irish Arts Council

    Aoife McGrath (Advisor)

    27 Mar 2020

    Activity: Consultancy typesWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-government organisation

    Public Interview with (La)Horde, Belfast International Arts Festival in collaboration with Institut Francais

    Aoife McGrath (Invited speaker)

    29 Oct 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar

    Paper presentation at Dance Studies Association Annual International Conference at Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

    Aoife McGrath (Presenter)

    08 Aug 201911 Aug 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation