Youth Theatre Ireland Team

Director—Michelle Carew

 Michelle is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of Youth Theatre Ireland and has been Director since 2011. Michelle has 20 years of professional experience in the arts across festivals, film production and youth arts, including as a youth theatre facilitator. Michelle's passion for youth theatre stems from her degree in Devised Performance from Bretton Hall College, UK. She also holds an MA in Arts Managment and Cultural Policy from UCD. Email:


General Manager—Shelley Troupe

Shelley maintains the organisation's finances and the overall administration of the office. She also assists with the management of the work programme. She looks after website management and manages internal and external communications with members and other organisations.  She worked for many years in New York City for Broadway and off-Broadway producers including serving as General Manager of the Irish Repertory Theatre. Email: 

Youth Theatre Officer—Alan King

Alan supports the sustained artistic development of youth theatres through the development of resources, training, support and advice. Alongside Rhona, Research and Development Officer, he also provides guidance and support to emerging youth theatres. Alan co-ordinates the Young Critics Programme and Playshare/Perform YT. He also produces the National Youth Theatre. Alan has worked as an actor and director and is a former member of Dublin Youth Theatre. Email:


Research and Development Officer—Rhona Dunnett

Rhona is Youth Theatre Ireland's Research and Development Officer. She supports youth theatres in working to identify local structures, agencies and partners at a county and local level, and develops measures to support their sustainability. She carries out a range of research including the major audit of youth theatre in Ireland, Centre Stage +10 (2009). Rhona also co-ordinates Youth Theatre Ireland's International Programme.  Rhona is a former member of Activate Youth Theatre, Cork. Email:


National Training Co-ordinator—Dave Kelly

Dave develops and co-ordinates the implementation of the national training strategy for youth drama, which is delivered regionally and locally. Training programmes include ArtsTrain and Leading On..., Youth Theatre Ireland's Leader Training Programme. Dave is a former member of Dublin Youth Theatre. Email:


Child Protection and Welfare Officer—Louise Holian

Louise is responsible for managing all Child Protection and Welfare aspects of our work including acting as the information point for our members on all matters welfare related and as Liaison Person for the Youth Theatre Ireland Garda Vetting Consortium. Louise was a member of Galway Youth Theatre. Email:

Special Projects OfficerBarry Morgan

 As part of Creative Ireland’s "Creative Youth Strategy",  Barry supports the development of new youth theatres in Westmeath, Offaly and Dublin. His work includes guiding and training youth theatre management and providing accredited training for drama facilitators. Barry is one half of Tailtiu Theatre, Co-Artistic Director of Mosney Youth Theatre, and is a former member of Droichead Youth Theatre. Email:

Youth Theatre Ireland Board of Directors

Chairperson: Niall Cleary - Activate Youth Theatre (appointed May 2020)

Niall is the Artistic Director and CEO of Graffiti Theatre in Cork. Graffiti creates theatre for young audiences, hosts Activate Youth Theatre, Fighting Words Cork, BEAG Early Years and is a creative hub for children and young people. Niall previously held the role of head of Outreach and Education with the company. Niall was a former Artistic Director of Droichead Youth Theatre and worked as an associate director and facilitator with Galway Youth Theatre, Sligo Youth Theatre, Backstage Youth Theatre and was an assistant facilitator with Play Youth Theatre  and Fracture Youth Theatre. He also has much experience in professional theatre, both as an actor, director and company manager, principally with Decadent Theatre Company, of which he was a founding member.  Niall has served on the board of Youth Theatre Ireland since 2016 and was a former board member of the Galway Theatre Festival. He is a committee member of Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland. He holds a BA in English and History from the University of Limerick and a Professional Diploma in Education from NUI Galway. He trained as a drama facilitator with Arts Train in association with National Association for Youth Drama.

Secretary: Máire O'Higgins—Independent (appointed April 2016)
Máire O'Higgins is an Assistant Principal, Chaplain and Partnerships Coordinator at Larkin Community College Dublin. She has worked in the inner-city for 26 years. For six years Máire established and ran a unique three-year specialist arts education Junior Cycle programme. It was the first dedicated learning through arts schools programme in the State. Máire worked as a Theatre Director with Passion Machine Theatre Company and is a founding member of Pigsback Theatre Company.

Máire holds a BA in Italian and English, an MA in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, a PostGrad in Entrepreneurial Education and a PostGrad in Educational Leadership. She is also a trained mindfulness in schools teacher. Máire is currently on the Boards of Localise Youth and Community, Encountering The Arts Ireland – ETAI - and Youth Theatre Ireland. Máire is passionate about reform of the second level Irish education system and creative engagement.

Sarah Bragg-Bolger—Dublin Youth Theatre (appointed June 2019)
Sarah serves as General Manager of Dublin Youth Theatre.

Leish Burke--Griese Youth Theatre (apporinted June 2019)
Leish is Artistic Director of Griese Youth Theatre.

Emer Casey--Mr. Sand Youth Theatre (appointed April 2018)
Originally from Derry, Emer Casey is Artistic Director of Mr. Sands Youth Theatre in Bray, and Senior Drama Teacher with Wicklow-based Action Arts.  She fervently believes that drama offers a haven and the means and space for young people to grow as individuals, not just artistically, but personally and socially too. She feels the Youth Theatre model, in particular, provides the ideal environment for this to happen. Emer was a co-founder of and facilitator with Boolabus Youth Theatre. She is also an examiner with the Irish Board of Speech & Drama and an experienced drama adjudicator. She is Convener of the Michael Chekhov Studio Dublin. As a professional actor, she has has worked on stage, TV and film productions and is also an accomplished voice-over artist. Emer holds a BA in English & Philosophy (TCD), a Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education (QUB), Associate & Licentiate Diplomas in Drama Teaching (RIAM), Advanced Acting & Facilitator Certification (Michael Chekhov International Academy), amd a Certificate of Family Celebrancy (IIOC).

Emelie FitzGibbon—Graffiti Theatre Company (appointed April 2007)
Emelie FitzGibbon is the founder (1984) and Artistic Director of Graffiti Theatre Company in Cork, a company dedicated to work for and by young people. The many productions she has directed  have been seen in Ireland, the UK, France, Sweden and the USA. As a lecturer and educator on Educational Drama and Theatre she has worked with post-grads, teachers and youth leaders in Sweden, Malta, the US, UK,  Austria, Hong Kong, Korea and the Czech Republic and has published and edited many contributions to the field.

Fionn Woodhouse - Lightbulb Youth Theatre (appointed November 2014)
Fionn Woodhouse is a director, producer and facilitator of drama/theatre with particular interest in youth participation and learning through practice. Fionn is an active educational drama practitioner, having trained and worked with Graffiti Educational Theatre Company for over 14 years. During this time he has co designed and facilitated various programmes including anti racism/bullying, UCC Plus+ Drama Workshops, CIT Access Workshops, etc. He currently works in UCC's Drama and Theatre Studies Department. With a strong interest in youth theatre, Fionn is the Artistic Director of Lightbulb Youth Theatre and Footlights Youth Theatre, and a founder member of With an ‘F’ Productions theatre company that has toured shows both nationally and internationally. He was a former member of Activate Youth Theatre, Cork.

Geraldine O'Neill - PlayActing Youth Theatre (appointed May 2020)

Antonia McTaggart - Independent (appointed June 2018)

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10 July