Theatre Forum Independent Artists’ Working Group (1)

Central to Theatre Forum’s work and artistic policy in 2021-2023 is a commitment to represent and respond to the needs of independent artists. This led to the establishment of an Independent Artists’ Working Group at the AGM in September 2020 to identify the resources and supports most useful to independent artists to sustain their careers.

Theatre Forum is committed to creating a diverse Working Group and welcomed applications from Ireland-based artists of all genders, nationalities, races, cultural backgrounds, ages, religions, languages, different abilities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses or geographic regions. Applications to be a member of this Working Group were invited in December 2020 and we now welcome the artists selected to join this Working Group.

Theatre Forum – Independent Artists’ Working Group: 

Lesley Conroy
Tom Creed (Theatre Forum Board Director)
Romi Cruanas
Mairéad Folan
Aaron Monaghan (Theatre Forum Board Director)
Ruairi Ó Donnabháin
Emma O’Grady

Artist Working Group

  • Tom Creed

    Tom Creed

    Tom is a theatre and opera director, festival director and independent producer, originally from Cork and now based in Dublin. He has been a member of the voluntary steering committee of the National Campaign for the Arts since 2016, who have worked to ensure the survival and recovery of the arts sector during the pandemic.

    He has directed with the Abbey, Gate, Irish National Opera, Thisispopbaby, Rough Magic, his own company Playgroup, and many other Irish companies and performers. His work has been seen at the Paris Opera, the Barbican in London, the Edinburgh, Perth and Melbourne International Festivals, and BAM and the Public Theatre in New York.

    He has been Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival, Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival and Associate Director of Rough Magic. He is on the board of Theatre Forum, GAZE Film Festival, and was previously on the board of Macnas and Dublin Fringe Festival.

  • Romi Cruañas. Contatto. Photographed By Elena Cristofanon

    Romi Cruanas

    Romi is a theatre maker and arts worker based in Ireland for over twelve years. Originally from Argentina, she lived and trained in Italy, Spain and Germany. She obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Drama and Theatre Studies from TCD and she is currently studying an MA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy in NUIG. Her main areas of work are intersectional, transdisciplinary feminist performance. She is the curator of Mother Tongues Festival 2021. She was selected as part of the New Voices of Ireland award 2019 and the Arts Council Bursary 2020. Her work focuses on cross-cultural practice and intersectional, transdisciplinary performance.

  • Lesley Conroy Hi Res (002)

    Lesley Conroy

    IFTA award nominated actor, with 25 years-experience on stage and screen. She has worked with The Abbey Theatre, Corcadorca, Loose Canon, Fíbín and Decadent theatre among others in a freelance capacity. TV and film roles include Citizen Lane, The Running Mate, Women on the Verge, Life’s a Breeze, Fair City, Mattie, Eden and The Cured.

    As a fledging writer the Mothers Artists Makers group, MAM Ireland, was extremely beneficial to her practice, in particular Pom Boyd’s writing workshop during Fringe Lab/New Theatre/MAM’s ‘Playground: Return to practice’ initiative in 2017 and Regan O’Brien’s Matrix laboratory practice.

    In May 2020 she was the winner of the Scripts Ireland Writing Competition for her monologue ‘Cleaner’, which she is adapting for screen under the the Bow Street Academy/ Screen Ireland Actor as Creator award. ‘Cleaner’ was awarded a bursary from Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.

    She is currently Associate Artist with The Corps Ensemble.

    As an Axis Associate Artist she is working with the pop up literary department on a piece to be showcased later in the year.

    As a self-producing artist, she is currently working with mentor Judy Hegarty and Peter Reid on a solo show based on Joyce’s writings from Ulysses.

  • Headshot MairÉad Folan Photo Credit SeÁn Ó MannÍn

    Mairéad Folan

    I am the Artistic Director of Galway-based NoRopes Theatre Company (NoRopes) which I founded in 2015. I have directed and produced the following NoRopes productions: An Irresponsible Father’s Guide to Parenting (UK), Wake, Meet Luke, Flash Theatre – a 24 hr event, Wasted and The Open Couple.  Meet Luke is my debut as a playwright. I have been a bilingual freelance theatre practitioner since 2005 working with companies such as Fíbín and An Taibhdhearc.  I received a MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland and an Acting Diploma from London College of Music. I also trained with the Garvey School of Speech and Drama, Galway Youth Theatre and Core Theatre College. In 2017 and 2020, I was the recipient of the Mentoring Award supported by the Arts Council’s Arts and Disability Connect Scheme managed by Arts and Disability Ireland. I was also awarded a New Work award supported by the Arts Council’s Arts and Disability Connect Scheme managed by Arts and Disability Ireland and was one of the artists in residence on Druid’s FUEL programme in 2018. I am a founding member of Galway-based theatre collective, Theatre57.

    Photo credit: Seán Ó Mainnín

  • Aaron Monaghan

    Aaron Monaghan

    Aaron, co-founder and now the Artistic Director of Livin’ Dred Theatre Company, is a director as well as a multi-awarding winning actor with numerous theatre, film and TV appearances. He trained at The Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Aaron has worked extensively with the Abbey Theatre, and with Druid Theatre Company, of which he is an ensemble member and with which he has toured. He has also worked with companies such as Fishamble, Bedrock, Yew Tree and Livin’ Dred, which he co-founded in 2004. Aaron is a recipient of a Lucille Lortel Award, Manchester Evening News Award, an Irish Times Irish Theatre Award and an OBIE Award for Outstanding Performance.

  • Headshot Ruairi Donovan

    Ruairi Ó Donnabháin

    Ruairí is re-imagining himself and the world around him.

    Ó Donnabháin has been making dances in Ireland since 2008. He is a recent Masters in Choreography Graduate from DAS Graduate School in Amsterdam & holds a joint honors B.A. in Drama & Theatre Studies and English from University College Cork. Ó Donnabháinis from County Cork, Ireland and his choreographic practice is concerned with ‘aesthetic practices of care’. He is currently living and working on Oileán Chléire, a remote island and Gaeltacht off the south west coast of Co. Cork investigating Gaeilge as a site of queer resistance and new materialist collaboration ‘in the wild’.

    Ó Donnabháin has performed for Jennifer Walshe, Mårten Spångberg and THEATREclub among others. His own work has toured internationally across Europe, North America and Asia. He is a core artist with Keith Hennessy and TURBULENCE (a dance about the economy). He has performed a solo dance for 30,000 people with Arcade Fire and his work ‘aon mhac tíre nó roinnt mic tíre’ was nominated for Spirit of Fringe & Project in 2018 while ZOMBIES; why death is dying or are you working hard enough? received the Judges Choice award at the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2014. He is currently developing two artistic works; ‘Archipelagic Thinking’ which focuses on migration of people, animals and resources across the North Atlantic Arc and ‘Naomhóg’ a piece that takes the building of traditional currachs as the impetus for new choreography.

    Ó Donnabháin has curated a week long, multi disciplinary, residential event and professional symposium, Solstice which was awarded the Charlemagne Youth Price by the European Commission. He presented a micro festival called HOME, investigating performance and intimacy with artists presenting work in their own homes and co – curates and produces a micro festival with a live art & music focus annually in Cork entitled; Quarter Block Party. He facilitates an Irish language immersive residency on Oileán Chléire.

    Ó Donnabháin was a Next Stage artist at Dublin Theatre Festival in 2010 and completed a year long residency with Daghdha Dance Company. He was awarded a place on the prestigious DanceWeb scholarship at Impulstanz, Wien. In 2016 he participated on Pan Pan Theatre Company’s International Mentorship and Bursary programme where he worked under the mentorship of Stewart Laing towards realising a large scale public art commission in the context of the Irish 1916 Centenary Celebrations entitled SOLDIERS.

    Photo credit: Robbie Sweeney

  • Emma Headshot B&w

    Emma O’Grady

    Emma is a Galway-based theatre artist, writer, actor and production manager. She collaborates with people to create theatre, film and art  inspired by true events, real lives and shared histories. She was co-director of Mephisto Theatre with Caroline Lynch 2006-2014. Her first play What Good is Looking Well When You’re Rotten on the Inside? – based on tapes recorded by her grandfather during the last month of his life – was produced to critical acclaim in 2017 and continues to tour.  In 2020 she created a documentary web-series Mad, Bad & Dangerous: A Celebration of Difficult Women with Copper Alley, Miriam Haughton, Dublin Fringe and Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival. She is a participant on Druid FUEL 2021 and recipient of an Arts Council Theatre Bursary 2020. She is co-chairperson of Theatre57, a collective of over 100 independent theatre artists based in Galway city and county advocating for sustainable careers and infrastructure for the independent theatre sector. Emma has been supported by the Arts Council, Culture Ireland, Galway City Council, Galway Co. Council and Laois Co. Council.