Theatre Forum CLG AGM took place online on 30 September 2020
Following the Government’s restrictions in relation to travel and public gatherings, the AGM was held at Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre at 11.30am on Wednesday 30 September 2020. As attendance in person was impossible, members were invited to attend the AGM virtually.
At the AGM, there was an election for three board positions (candidate biogs below).
The results are as follows: Tom Creed, Paul Johnson, and Aaron Monaghan were elected.
Candidates for Election
Tom Creed 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 GAZE Film Festival, and was previously on the board of Macnas and Dublin Fringe Festival.
Priorities if elected
If elected to the board, I will bring my experience with the National Campaign for the Arts to advocate more than ever for performing arts workers in Ireland, I will be a voice for independent artists and freelance practitioners, and will use my international experience to help Theatre Forum and its members create new connections and opportunities abroad.
I have engaged with Theatre Forum in many capacities over the last 15 years, as a member, a participant in MAKE and The Next Stage, and a panel curator, speaker and even a DJ at the annual conference.
I bring wide experience of theatre and opera as a director, festivals from my work as a director and curator, street arts and spectacle from my time as a board member of Macnas, and dance having worked with many Irish dance companies and artists at festivals and as collaborators on theatre and opera productions.
Paul Johnson is an arts manager, curator, mentor and dramaturge. He is the former Chief Executive of Dance Ireland. Paul’s background is in dance, theatre, film and multi-media, working as a performer, choreographer and collaborator for a range of companies including Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre, IMDT, Scottish Ballet Steps Out, TAG Theatre Company and Brother Films. He ran his own company MaNDaNCE (1991-2001) and was Choreographer in Residence with Project Arts Centre, documented in Fine Lines on Shifting Ground: Reflections on a Choreographic Process (Project Press, 2000).
A creative and strategic thinker with extensive experience in management, leadership, strategy development, governance and relationship building. He was Artists Services Manager with the Arts Council (2003-2006). He led on the successful opening of DanceHouse in 2006, and over a 14year period grew the programme and reach to create a public-facing flagship home for dance. His previous board experience includes serving on the Arts Council (2009 to 2013), and for Dance Resource Base NI and Ballet Ireland. He is currently a director trustee of IMDT and Create.
A graduate of DCU, Johnson has earned a BA and MA in Communications & Cultural Studies and is currently undertaking a Professional Certificate in Governance (IPA, Dublin), in addition to working on a range of mentorship and consultancy projects.
Priorities if elected
Broad sectoral representation is important. I wish to contribute my dance experience and skills to the continued growth and development of the organisation. I believe in the important role a representative membership-informed organisation plays in our arts ecosystem.
I am an experienced and knowledgeable arts and culture advocate, with strong leadership skills. A strategic thinker, with a track record in delivering strategy and policy, informed by coherent business plans, I have well-developed skills in listening, communicating and negotiating.
My primary interests are in enabling artists’ professional development, supporting artistic innovation and seeding opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Through supporting experimentation, research & development, and facilitating process-based approaches, I am interested in supporting opportunities for artists and companies to set their own creative agendas and grow.
I have an interest in supporting cross-sectoral developments and believe in our collective strength. I would welcome the opportunity to share these skills and work alongside fellow directors in support of the values that Theatre Forum stands for.
Catherine Mahon-Buckley is an Actress, Director and teacher. Catherine is Artistic Director of Ireland’s most progressive Academy, CADA Performing Arts. She has created a centre of excellence in Drama, Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre, Music and Communications. Under Catherine’s direction, CADA Performing Arts has produced, created and helped many great performers and business people of today. Catherine is very involved in Education programmes for the Performing Arts. She is on the executive board of Cork International Festival, a member of the Irish Film and Television Academy. Catherine is delighted and proud to be Chairperson of the team to produce the Presentation Community 60/60/50 book. She was also part of the wonderful celebration for Cope Foundation’s 60th celebration. She was artistic director of the programme “Back to School Initiative” for Parents in the Arts. She has extensive T.V. and radio performances and is also a gifted playwright.
Catherine qualified with an M.A. from St. Patrick’s College. She has an English and a psychology degree.
Recently she has received the National Award for Inspiring Woman in the Arts. Last November she was honoured with a special award from the Cork Business Awards for over 25 years’ service to the Arts.
My work in the Performing Arts has given me such joy, positive challenges and happiness throughout my career. Now witnessing how artists face great challenges in creating work in these Covid 19 times. All of us in the Performing Arts are looking for ways to work safely in these very strange and uncertain times. With my experience and I have proven that artists can work again. My Academy was the first in Ireland to open under strict covid guidelines, allowing all our artists in the Academy to be working, creating and earning a living. I am working with a community group who had started a project before the pandemic. With my experience this project will now take place at the end of the year.
Aaron Monaghan, 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.
Priorities if elected
I am a freelance artist.
I joined the board somewhat uncertain about Theatre Forum’s priorities regarding freelance artists and practitioners, but I realise they’re unstintingly committed to improving conditions for us across the industry, now more than ever. I am proud to have been a small part of Theatre Forum’s agenda of focussing more on freelance workers, prioritising them more within their programme of work.
Theatre Forum is a key voice in advising and negotiating with relevant bodies to ensure Irish Theatre’s survival at a time when it’s in serious jeopardy. But I believe it can also be a pioneering voice for change across the industry, to lobby and provide for more supports and opportunities countrywide.
If elected for another term my priority will be to ensure the needs, challenges, concerns and voices of all freelance arts practitioners- those without whom theatre cannot happen- are at the very centre of every discussion, at every level. Our livelihoods depend on it.