Youth Theatre Ireland Team
Michelle leads and manages the staff, resources and work programme of Youth Theatre Ireland. She ensures that Youth Theatre Ireland delivers on its role and mission as an organisation. Contact Michelle
General Manager—Katie Martin
Katie maintains the overall administration of the office including finances. She also assists with the management of the work programme. She also looks after website management and manages internal and external communications with members and other organisations. She worked for a number of years as a leader with Tallaght Youth Theatre. Contact Katie
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. Contact Alan
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. Contact Rhona
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. Contact Dave
ArtsTrain Assistant Co-ordinator—John Taite
John assists the Training Co-ordinator in the design and delivery of the ArtsTrain training programme. He submits required materials to QQI and supports the Artstrain participants in achieving their accreditation. John is a former member of Red Lemon Youth Theatre, Dun Laoghaire. Contact John
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. Contact Louise
Youth Theatre Ireland Board of Directors
Chairperson: Jen Coppinger—Independent Theatre Producer (appointed February 2012)
Jen is Producer for a number of other artists and companies including Dylan Tighe, TheEmergencyRoom, Emma Martin Dance, HotForTheatre, Sean MacErlaine and Ray Scannell. In 2013, for HotForTheatre, she produced Break as well as a national and international tour of HotFortheatre – HotForTouring. She also produced riverrun by Olwen Fouéré (a Galway Arts Festival/TheEmergencyRoom co-production). This was presented at the Galway Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival & The National Theatre, London. Jen is currently Project Manager for the Irish Laureate for Fiction. Previously Jen worked with Arts Audiences, Irish Theatre Institute, City Arts Centre, Dublin Writers Festival, RADE (Recovery through Art, Drama and Education), and The Abbey Theatre. She sits on the board of RADE, Dublin Fringe Festival and Youth Theatre Ireland. Jen is Independent Producer in Residence at Rough Magic Theatre Company. Jen became Chairperson of Youth Theatre Ireland in 2017.
Eimear Cheasty - County Carlow Youth Theatre (Appointed April 2017)
Eimear Cheasty is a writer, youth arts facilitator and yoga teacher form Waterford City. She is passionate about empowering young people to explore their own creativity in a fun and supportive environment. Eimear runs the creative writing programme for Waterford Youth Arts and co directs County Carlow Youth Theatre as well as freelancing for other youth projects around the country. Her last play How To Live premiered in VISUAL, Carlow in September 2016, and she is currently working on a collection of short stories to be published in 2018.
Professor Aine Hyland—Independent (appointed April 2007)
Áine Hyland is Emeritus Professor of Education and former Vice-President of University College Cork. She has been involved in teacher education since the 1980s. She led a number of university/community based education projects, including early childhood projects. She has published nationally and internationally on educational history and policy. Since her retirement some years ago, she has been a member of the European Universities Association’s institutional evaluation project; the Press Council of Ireland, the Barristers Professional Conduct Tribunal and a number of other local and international organisations. She has been a member of the board of Youth Theatre Ireland since 2007.
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.
Mary Murphy—Independent (appointed February 2013)
Mary Murphy is a public relations consultant. Owner and Managing Director of Mary Murphy Associates, 1997-2008. Director of Project Communications at RPS, 2008-2012, following the sale of Mary Murphy Associates to RPS, engineering, planning and environmental consultants. Former Director of Public Relations at Carr Communications.
Sean O’Brien—Independent (appointed September 2009)
Sean O’Brien is from Dublin and has practiced as a Solicitor in Tallaght, Dublin 24 for the last 30 years. He has been involved as a member of the board of various artistic endeavours, including Tallaght Community Arts Centre (now Rua Red), and as committee member of the Dublin Drama Festival. His involvement with drama goes back to the early 1980s as a member of Sundrive Players and he has been a member of the board of Youth Theatre Ireland since 2009. Sean was Chairperson of Youth Theatre Ireland from 2013 - 2017.
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.
Peter Hussey - Kildare Youth Theatre (appointed August 2015)
Peter Hussey is Artistic Director of Crooked House Theatre Company in Newbridge which he founded in 1993. He established Kildare Youth Theatre in 1996. He is a writer, director, lecturer, researcher, and drama facilitator. He lectures in youth theatre, embodied learning, Theatre of the Oppressed, applied theatre, and theatre directing with Maynooth University. Directing includes work by Shakespeare, site-specific work, and premieres by Mark Ravenhill (National Theatre, London), Laura Wade, Anthony Neilson, Edward Bond and Kevin Ellyot (Project Arts Centre). Work with young people includes many collaborators in Europe, notably with Theatre Le Grand Bleu (Lille, France), Teatro della Limonaia (Florence, Italy), National Theatre (London, UK), Rogaland Teater (Stavanger, Norway), National Theatre of Scotland, and with Erasmus+ programmes in most EU countries. Peter is currently researching for a PhD degree on the impact of collaborative theatre-making on young people.
Niall Cleary - Activate Youth Theatre (appointed April 2016)
Niall is head of Outreach and Education with Graffiti Theatre Company. He previously held the position of Artistic Director of Droichead Youth Theatre and worked as an associate director and facilitator with Galway Youth Theatre. He has also directed productions for a range of Youth Theatres including Sligo, Play and Fracture in Tipperary, Roundabout and Backstage Youth Theatre. Niall worked as an professional actor and state manager for many years. He was a founder member of Decadent Theatre Company. He has worked as an outreach facilitator with the Abbey Theatre and sat on the board of the Galway Theatre Festival. He holds a BA in English and History from UL and a Professional Diploma in Education from NUIG. He trained as a drama facilitator on ArtsTrain in association with Youth Theatre Ireland.
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.
Monika McCleane Fay - County Wexford Youth Theatre (appointed April 2016)
Monika hails from Wexford originally and now lives in Cork. In 1997 Monika founded Bare Cheek Theatre Company from which County Wexford Youth Theatre and Cork Youth Theatre have emerged. She has been known to tread the boards a few times, and produces all of Bare Cheek Theatre Company’s productions. Monika is a keen activist and voice for Child Protection both here and in the UK, with a special interest in social phenomenology and its affects on young people. She worked as a social worker and counselor dealing with child protection for children and young people in Camden Social Services, Aberdeen and Bedfordshire. When she returned from the UK she worked as acting coordinator for Youth New Ross and coordinator with the South East Community Development Board. She is currently Executive Director of Bare Cheek Theatre Company.
Christina Matthews - Droichead Youth Theatre (appointed August 2015)
Christina Matthews is the Artistic Director of Droichead Youth Theatre, Drogheda. She holds a postgraduate diploma in Drama in Education and a B.A. in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, where she specialized in Stage Management, Community Drama and Devising. Christina has previously worked with Sugarglass Theatre, Smock Alley Theatre, The Dublin Shakespeare Festival, and Independent Youth Theatre, for whom she was Artistic Director. In addition to work in youth theatre, Christina teaches drama, dance and fitness with Prosper Fingal, and Socially Engaged Theatre in Trinity College. As a former National Youth Theatre participant, Christina is delighted to be involved with Youth Theatre Ireland’s board.
Kate Ferris - Independent (appointed June 2017)
Kate is programmer for Young Radicals: Fringe for Kids with Dublin Fringe Festival, producer working with Collapsing Horse and Head of Stage Management at The Lir Academy, Dublin.
From 2013 – 2016 she was Company Producer for WillFredd Theatre. Throughout this time she produced five productions: CARE (Project Arts Centre 2014, National Tour 2016), FOLLOW (Peacock 2014), JOCKEY (Dublin Dance Festival 2015), BEES! with The Ark (Dublin Theatre Festival 2015, Spring 2016). Kate previously produced the national and international tour of Solpadeine Is My Boyfriend (With An F Productions).
Since 2013, Kate has been Head of Stage Management in The Lir Academy. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Production and Stage Management) at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. Kate has worked as a Production, Stage and Event Manager with Australian companies and festivals including C!RCA, Queensland Theatre Company, LaBoite Theatre Company, Brisbane Festival, Malthouse Theatre Company and David Atkins Enterprises (15th Asian Games, Doha, Qatar).
Since relocating to Ireland Kate has worked as Company Stage Manager with The National Theatre of Scotland, The Gate Theatre, Opera Ireland, Pan Pan Theatre Company, Fishamble Theatre Company and The Corn Exchange.