The Lir Academy's staff, board and tutors are made up of a team of highly qualified professionals. Their expertise in the arts, education, cultural and business sectors supports The Lir Academy in realising its mission.
Samuel Beckett Chair of Drama and Theatre
Brian Singleton is Samuel Beckett Professor of Drama & Theatre at Trinity College Dublin and is the Academic Director of The Lir –National Academy of Dramatic Art in Ireland. He is co-editor of the series ‘Studies in International Performance’ published by Palgrave Macmillan for which he and Janelle Reinelt won the 2012 ATHE prize for sustained achievement in editing. He has published many articles and book chapters on interculturalism/orientalism and performance including the mongraph Oscar Asche, Orientalism and British Musical Comedy (Praeger, 2004), as well as two books on the life and work of Antonin Artaud. His latest monograph is entitled Masculinities and the Contemporary Irish Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Anne Fitzpatrick was appointed as The Lir's first Administrator and has been responsible for academic and operational administration for the academy since doors opened in September 2011. Anne trained and worked in theatre and education for over fifteen years previous to her appointment at The Lir. Anne was appointed as Director of Administration & Company Secretary in 2018 with her duties now including that of financial controller and HR management for the academy.
Gavin is the Director of Actor Training and Postgraduate Studies at The Lir Academy. After joining us in 2011, he initially taught Voice & Dialect on The BA Acting program, and later became the first course director of the Foundation Diploma in Acting & Theatre in 2014, as well as heading up all Short Courses at The Lir. He studied Drama at The Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, spending his ERASMUS year at Goldsmiths College, The University of London. On graduating from Trinity, Gavin trained as an actor at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He worked as an actor in the theatre and on radio in the UK before studying for his MA in Voice Studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Prior to his work at The Lir Academy, Gavin taught on drama programmes at University College Cork and the University of Ulster. He continues to work as a freelance dialect coach as well as teaching voice at the Dundalk Institute of Technology. Alongside his duties on the Foundation Diploma and Short Courses, Gavin teaches dialect and sight-reading on the bachelor in Acting course.
Eve has been working in theatre across the U.K for the last 19 years specialising in lighting. She has worked across multiple platforms including new writing, touring, tv and digital media. Her previous role as Deputy Technical Manager at Soho Theatre included working as Production Electrician and Chief Lighting Programmer for new and innovative theatre including “Fleabag” (Olivier Nominated) and “Silent” (Olivier Award Winner). Most recently, Eve was The Lir Academy's Head of Lighting, joining the academy in 2017.
Colm began his career in healthcare, working for several years as a healthcare assistant before moving into medical secretary roles. Colm has worked in most of Dublin’s major hospitals in settings as varied as A&E, ICU, Palliative Care and Psychiatry. Colm later worked with both the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland, coordinating postgraduate medical education and training for Ireland’s graduate doctor’s. In 2013, Colm changed direction and began working freelance in the Arts sector. He has worked in various roles with The Abbey Theatre, Landmark Productions, Dublin Fringe Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, Clonmel Junction Festival and Dublin International Film Festival, as well as with Assembly Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland. Colm holds a BA in Contemporary Culture & Society from Dublin City University as well as a Certificate in Counselling & Psychotherapy from PCI College Dublin.
Paul O’Connor joined The Lir Academy in April 2019 as Commercial Director; in charge of devising and delivering creative new business initiatives across multiple departments within The Lir. Paul is responsible for driving sales across the academy’s range of Short Courses as well as running ‘The Lir at Work’, The Lir Academy's corporate communications training programme. With over 20 years experience working in Sales, Marketing and Business Development – Paul’s most recent role, prior to joining The Lir, was based in London, as Commercial Director of 1st Option Representation, the UK’s largest TV, Film & Photoshoot Locations Agency. Previously, Paul worked as General Manager of The Factory in Barrow Street and was one of the Senior Management Team responsible for the establishment of Bow Street Academy for Screen Acting.
Jessica studied Drama & Theatre Studies at the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College Dublin and has an MA in Performance & Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has worked in various positions in the cultural sector for over 20 years with a specific focus on marketing, communications and fundraising since 2012. Her recent experience includes roles at the Irish Film Institute; Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin; Dublin Fringe Festival; and Dublin Theatre Festival. She joined the Lir in 2020 as the Director of Marketing.
Tara Mc Dermott
Tara Mc Dermott studied Arts with Theatre and Performance at NUIG. During her time there she was involved in numerous theatre projects in every role imaginable including writer and director.
Since graduating Tara has been working in both administration and education in Madrid, organising language programmes for students of varying ages learning English.
While working in administration, Tara has continued to design for film and theatre as well as exploring visual art, exhibiting paintings in Kushuro in Madrid and most recently in Ireland as part of the Pluid project. Tara was appointed Admissions and Short Course Manager at the Lir in 2022.
Katie Sweeney studied Film and Documentary production at GMIT. During her degree, she produced and directed several short documentaries and was various crew on a number of short fiction films, both live-action and stop motion animation.
Katie continued with various roles across production and art departments for television and film in Ireland before moving into Media and Communications at a political consulting agency in New York where she produced campaign content for democratic state senators and assembly members, non-profit organisations and local union groups.
After returning to Ireland, she spent a short time working in administration for Galway Simon Community before joining the Lir in October 2021 as Training Coordinator for ‘The Lir at Work’ corporate communications training programme and The Lir Academy’s short courses.
Joanne brings her significant experience of over twenty years in the creative, cultural and not-for-profit sectors to the organization. Joanne has worked extensively as a freelance media producer and fundraising consultant. Her previous roles include Head of Fundraising for Enable Ireland and CEO of the Dublin International Film Festival.
Danielle Smith studied psychological studies with sociological and political science in NUIG. During her final year at university she was recruited by Apple inc to work part-time from home for their college programme. This allowed her to gain hands-on technical and customer experience, whilst focusing on her studies.
Upon completing her degree, and her contract with Apple during the 2020 pandemic, Dani found herself on a varied career path across the technology and customer support industry. She has worked with established companies such as; the HSE for the covid contact tracing programme and Diligent Corp, in entities support for modern governance management.
In summer 2022, she decided to take a break from the tech world and pursue other creative interests. After a short while, Dani rediscovered her love for acting and film, which led her to pursue a six month screen acting course in Bow Street Academy. This not only reignited a passion of hers but, introduced her to the endless possibilities of a career within the arts, beginning with The Lir Academy of Dramatic Art.
With a professional background working in the third sector as a human rights/social justice activist, and in the arts as a creative entrepreneur and arts practitioner, Shaz has contributed towards achieving progressive social change in Ireland. Informed by race, class, gender, and sexual identity, this has included addressing LGBTQ+ discrimination, sexual health awareness, and gender equality.
Previous roles include Executive Director of Dublin AIDS Alliance (now HIV Ireland). As a songwriter and performer she self–released a body of work to critical acclaim through her own label, ‘Radical Faeries’, and has performed extensively in Ireland and abroad. Most recently she
graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Masters in Education. As a postgraduate student she successfully ran for election as President of Trinity Graduate Students’ Union (2019-20), and served on the Board of Trinity College Dublin.
Ciara worked as a stage manager in the theatre industry for the last decade. She studied English with Drama at UCD, followed by a MA in Stage & Event Management from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, leading to eight years based primarily based in the U.K. She was London based for most of this time working in theatres such as the Young Vic, The Donmar Warehouse, the Arcola and the Hampstead Theatre. During the pandemic, she branched out and worked as a Covid Testing Coordinator for Netflix, Nimax and Disney Theatrics. Alongside the move back to Ireland she is now pursuing the Events Management side of her career at the Lir.
Roger Evans has been appointed as the new Head of Short Courses. Roger is an Actor and Director. He was brought up in the South Wales valleys and studied acting at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and has worked extensively in film, television and theatre across Europe and in America. He also has an MA in Actor Training and Coaching from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has taught in many Drama schools including The Lir.
Gemma joined The Lir Academy in 2023.
She had previously been the Director of Drama, Dance, Production & Film at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Previous to that, she had been appointed Artistic Director of Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in 2003. Gemma co-led the transformation of the theatres to be among the most dynamic commissioning houses in the UK and a central part of the city’s 2008 European City of Culture celebrations. Under her guidance, she implemented a drive to reach out to local communities and encourage new theatre-makers and audiences to the arts. Gemma and her team also delivered a £28 million campaign to rebuild the Everyman Theatre. It was re-opened to a hugely positive reception in 2014 and won the prestigious Stirling Prize.
Prior to her role in Liverpool, Gemma had an acclaimed career as a freelance theatre director. Following three years as a staff director at the National Theatre UK, Gemma became part-time associate director at the Hampstead Theatre and a freelance director directing a range of productions. She was key to realising the production of new works for many of the UK’s leading commissioning theatres during this time. Institutions she has worked with include the Royal Court, Bush Theatre, Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Gemma is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin where she read Drama and Classical Civilisation. She started her career in London as an assistant director to a range of leading figures in theatre including Harold Pinter, Sir Richard Eyre, Sir Trevor Nunn and Howard Davies.
Gemma was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool by John Moores University in 2014 for her outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Liverpool and awarded a Companionship at LIPA in 2015. She was the recipient of the inaugural Artistic Leader of the Year 2017 by Hope University, Liverpool and won Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards for artistic directorship of the Everyman Company in 2017. She has twice been Merseyside Woman of the Year.
- Chair: James Hickey
- Michael Binchy
- Anne Clarke
- Dana Cuffe
- Jon Downey (Alternate Director for Anne Mulcahy)
- Gail McElroy
- Eleanor Methven
- Anne Mulcahy
- Danielle Ryan
- Peter Reynolds
- Dearbhla Walshe