Theresa Ryder

Author and Playwright
Ancient Classics

Could you tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Theresa and I am a writer, and a teacher in further education. This year I received an English literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, which means I can focus mainly on my writing. I write articles, essays, fiction, plays, and poetry. I was recently commissioned to rework an ancient myth into a performance piece, which I am now developing into a full stage play. I had another play performed in Cork Arts Theatre earlier this year.

How did studying Classics at Maynooth help you succeed beyond your degree?
A key word would be confidence. I entered Maynooth as a mature student and lone parent to three children. I had no experience of the academic world having left school early without taking exams. I chose Classics with no background in the subject, or realisation of the scope of study available. It quickly became my passion and I took it up to master’s level. I carried that enthusiasm with me after graduating when I started my own business in Cork city.
Studying Classics has given me valuable training in highly transferable skills such as research and critical analysis. I have gained skills in writing and presenting that have fared me well in my literary pursuits. As Classics encompasses many other disciplines, I have come away with the ability to express myself in various arenas. I see the influence of the ancient world everywhere, and I am fortunate to be able to work it into my creative endeavours too. Studying Classics in Maynooth has shaped my career and given me a unique perspective on the wider world, and for that I am grateful and proud to be an alumna of Maynooth Classics. 
Any nice memories from your time at Maynooth?
So many great memories. I made, and kept, some wonderful friends and in this I include my lecturers who always had an open door. One of my lecturer’s attended my first writing award in Waterford. A smaller academic department allows you to be part of something special from the outset. There was always an ear if you had an issue, encouragement for ideas, and praise for success. I also loved the diversity of the subject matter offered with Classics, and some of the creative classes and workshops that were included in the modules. It was great fun to slam my hands onto a desk to silence a gathering of squabbling hoi polloi when I was role-playing a tyrant. Do not try it at home! I came away from Maynooth with a deep appreciation for art, language, film, literature, and theatre. I gave my M.A. thesis to Maynooth library as a way of giving something back, and in the hope it will be of use to other students of this engaging and valued subject.
For more on my 'journey in Classics', here is a piece from the Antigone journal called ‘Steering with Sophocles'.