MFA Directing Graduates: Where Are They Now?

We caught up with some directing grads from the past who told us what they have been doing since graduating and how The Lir Academy helped shape their career.

Lee Wilson (2015)

Since graduating from The Lir Academy, Lee has directed The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Tinkerbell by Patrick Flynn, If We Were Birds by Erin Shields, The Cassilis Engagement by St. John Hankin, and A Fear and Loathing Actor in Dublin by Mark McCauley, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Theatre@36 in Dublin.

He also directed the world premieres of Running with Dinosaurs by Nadine Flynn (The New Theatre); The Eurydice Project by Joanna Crawley (White Label/The Project Arts Centre Main Space); Fray by Margaret Perry and Pork by Nadine Flynn (Smock Alley Theatre); and The Sea Brothers by Padraig Colum and Joanna Crawley (Brinkmanship Theatre/O’Reilly Theatre). His critically acclaimed production of East of Berlin by Hannah Moscovitch played to sold-out houses at The Project Arts Centre. Lee was the Associate Director to Joe Dowling on Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge for the Dublin Theatre Festival/Gate Theatre in 2015.

Currently, he is halfway through his certification as an intimacy director with IDC in the United States and is training with one of the world's most prominent voice teachers, Patsy Rodenburg, in Presence, Speech, and Voice.

Lee directing 'Tinkerbell' by Patrick Flynn, University of Windsor 2022.

Jack Reardon (2017)

After graduating, Jack Reardon went on to assist in several of Ireland's leading theatres including Let the Right One In (Abbey Theatre), Look Back in Anger & The Glass Menagerie (The Gate Theatre) and as associate director on the blockbuster hit Asking For It (Landmark Productions).

As associate artist with Clonmel Junction Arts Festival, Jack directed several productions including Pests (Vivienne Franzmann), Hucklebuck (Devised), and the Irish Premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Alan Menken) in an outdoor spectacle production as part of the Arts Council's In the Open / Faoin Spéir programme. Jack also directed Lir alumni Cathal Ryan's debut play Pucked for an Irish tour.

Jack has also directed several short films and is the artistic director of Stagecraft, one of Ireland's leading youth theatres.
Splitting his time between Ireland and London, Jack recently made his London theatre debut with Kitty in the Lane by Aine Ryan, which one the Best Actor award at the London Pub Theatre Awards. Jack most recently directed From Out the Land, co-written by Jack and Aine Ryan as part of ART2023. The production saw over one hundred performers in an outdoor, site-specific spectacle production. The production also starred many Lir alumni.

CJAF Hucklebuck opening night

Holly Griffith (2022)

Holly is the Artistic Director of Corrib Theatre in Portland, Oregon, the only Irish Theatre on America's West Coast. She has directed two productions for Corrib: the US Premiere of Metaverse by Hannah Khalil and Marina Carr's Woman and Scarecrow. Corrib Theatre will produce the North American Premiere of Lir graduate CN Smith's play Spear, which will be directed by Lir graduate Joy Nesbitt this year.

Along with her Lir cohorts Franziska Detrez and Eftychia Spyridakia, Holly helped found Common Crow Theatre, a collective based in Dublin that focuses on bringing international stories to Irish audiences. For Common Crow, she directed Krabat, written by Eftychia Spyridaki, a fairytale based on the German myth of the same name. It was produced by SoFFt Productions for their SoFFt Nights Festival in 2022. In Portland, she is also on the board of directors for the All Ireland Cultural Society.

The Metaverse photo features Jerilyn Armstrong as The Woman and Winnie Hu as The Mother. Photo by Owen Carey.

Eoghan Carrick (2014)

Eoghan has worked as a director and co-creator on a wide variety of projects. He has worked in Ireland and internationally, on new and established texts, with a focus on innovative interpretations and interdisciplinary collaboration.

A selection of credits as co-creator include: Haus of Fash Hun (Dublin Fringe Festival, 2023), Rescue Annie (Dublin Fringe DUETS/Peacock Theatre, 2021), Bodies of Water (Dublin Fringe Festival, 2019), INFINITY (Dublin Fringe Festival and Tour, 2018/19). A selection of directing credits as director include: Songs from the Soil (The Ark Theatre, 2023), Good. Orderly. Direction. (Dublin Theatre Festival/Axis, 2022), about : blank (Civic Theatre/Dublin Theatre Festival 2021), Theatre For One (and a Little One) (Landmark/Abbey Theatre, 2020), 14 Voices from the Bloodied Field: Michael Feery (Abbey Theatre/GAA, 2020), Midsummer (Project Arts Centre, 2019), Theatre For One (Cork Midsummer Festival, 2019), Panned (Project Arts Centre, 2018), Nora (Dublin Theatre Festival, 2017), This Lime Tree Bower (Project Arts Centre/Irish Tour, 2016), The Boyz of Harcourt Street (Smock Alley Theatre, 2016), The Matador (Bewleys Café Theatre, 2015), Panned (Theatre Upstairs, 2015)

He is an associate artist with Once Off Productions. He was the associate director with Corn Exchange Theatre Company from 2015 to 2020 and worked as an associate for Tom Creed on a variety of Opera Productions. Since 2018, he has been associate director for Enda Walsh on productions with Landmark and Irish National Opera. Eoghan has received multiple awards from the Arts Council of Ireland toward the development of his practice as an artist and the creation of his work. He was on the National Campaign for the Arts Steering Committee from 2016-22. He is currently the Chair of Praxis: Artist Union of Ireland and a member of IETM, Theatre Forum, and Dramaturgs’ Network Ireland. Eoghan is an Adjunct Teaching Fellow in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Creative Arts and The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art.

Haus Of Fash Hun, Dublin Fringe (Kate Finnegan) Photo Mich Behan.

Katie O’Halloran (2020)

Katie has worked across Ireland and internationally as an interdisciplinary director. She has worked with Druid (Druid O’Casey, The Last Return), Irish National Opera (Fidelio, Don Pasquale, Der Rosenkavalier), Dublin Youth Theatre (Chatroom), Aon Scéal Theatre (Tír na nÓg), DlR Mill Theatre (Hamlet), Dublin Fringe (Eleanora Salter & the Monster from the Sea, The Perfect Immigrant), and Volya Theatre (Revolutionary). She directed a reading of The Pendulum Moon by Laura Hennessey DeSena as part of Druid Debuts 2022 in the Mick Lally Theatre.

With a background in storytelling through dance and music, Katie has directed several music videos for the X Collective in Dublin and for the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Eleri Ward in New York City. Katie is the resident acting coach for EKM Vocal Studio (NYC). In 2021, she directed a reforestation documentary entitled What We Can, which featured Irish actors Alex Murphy and Andrew Scott.

She was the recipient of Druid's Marie Mullen Bursary in 2022 and was selected as a studio director with Irish National Opera for their 2023 season.

Revolutionary by Emilie Hetland. Volya Theatre at Stavanger Konserthus in Norway. Directed by Katie O’Halloran.

Keelie Sheridan (2016)
After graduating, Keelie returned to NYC to become the Artistic Director of The Ume Group, and served on faculty for the T Schreiber Studio, Brooklyn College and the City College of New York. She produced new works festivals and directed pieces of physical theatre including by wing, fin, hoof or foot, (collaboration with Lir MFA Design Alum Valentin Eisele) for which she received a NY Innovative Theatre Nomination for Outstanding Movement/ Choreography. Keelie performed in premieres of several new works, including Jerry Leiblich's Tongue Depressor at The Public Theatre, and several independent films.

Keelie's feature film directorial debut, planet b234, (also a collaboration with Lir MFA Stage Design alum Valentin Eisele) was selected for film festivals around the globe and won several awards. It is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. She won a Stanley Award for Best Direction of a Play for her 2022 production of Little Women, and was nominated for Best Actor for her portrayal of Marianne in Nick Payne's Constellations, directed by Lir MFA Directing alum Andy Christensen. She spent two years as an Assistant Professor of Cinematic Arts and Theatre at the University of North Alabama and one year as an Artist-in-Residence at Union College. Keelie was recently appointed the Artistic Director of the Irish Classical Theatre Company in Buffalo, NY, and is working on curating her first season for the company.

by wing, fin, hoof or foot- directed by Keelie Sheridan and costumes by MFA Design Alum Valentin Eisele- photo by Ryan Camarena)

Louisa Sanfey (2014)

Louisa was part of the first class of directors to graduate from the Lir in 2014.

Since graduating, she has directed extensively for theatre and radio in Ireland, the UK and Serbia as a director and dramaturg. She recently directed You're So F***ing Croydon! at Croydonites Festival which will be touring in 2024. Louisa specialises in disability arts and produces work for Extant, the UK's leading professional company of blind and VI actors. She also works as an audio describer. Recent work includes directing a showcase at Camden People's Theatre and producing I Dream in Colour at the Bloomsbury Festival.

'You're So Fucking Croydon!' by Katie Hurley at Croydonites Festival, photographer is Glenn Foster

Samantha Fade (2019)

Recent directing credits include MIASMA by Collin Murphy (ANU, 2022), staged readings of Burnt Norton by Colin Campbell, Homo Hibernicus by Jimmy McAleavey for Rough Magic's Rough Weekend (2022), FETCH by Lauren Shannon Jones (DFF, 2019) and No One Sees The Video (The Lir Academy, 2018).

Since 2018, Samantha has worked as an assistant/associate director for the multi-disciplinary, site-based theatre company, ANU. The work with ANU has included high-profile productions; Staging The Treaty, The Lost O’Casey (Winner of three Irish Times Theatre Awards), Torch (Arts Council England, Ambition for Excellence Award), The Anvil (Manchester International Festival), Book Of Names, and Faultline (ANU/The Gate), Of the Mouth of Flowers (DCC), All Hardest Of Women. Other assistant directing credits include Steward of Christendom (Louise Lowe/The Gate 2022). Most recently she was the assistant director on An Old Song Half Forgotten (Abbey Theatre, 2023.

Samantha is undertaking her PhD at University College Dublin UCD, where she is researching the use of archives across various genres and forms of Irish commemorative theatre. Samantha holds two masters in theatre: one in Directing from The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin; and the other in performance studies at UCD. Previously, Samantha worked as a professional actor in Canada's film/TV and theatre.

Christopher Moran (2019)

Since graduating in 2019, Chris has worked as an assistant director on productions in Ireland and abroad. He’s currently working at the Schaubühne in Berlin on a new musical, Bucket List. Last year, he assisted at the Abbey Theatre on THISISPOPBABY’S Haunted/If These Wigs Could Talk and at the Gate Theatre on Piaf. Between 2022- 2023, he was a TRANSFORM Associate Artist at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray.

Chris has also been developing his own projects that generally use archival research to retell forgotten stories, often queer stories. The TalentLAB residency at the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg allowed Chris and a team to develop a new play about the history of eugenics in Ireland. He wrote and directed a children’s show, The Song Collector, at the Galway Theatre Festival using hand-drawn animation. Chris has just received funding to collaborate with an Irish photographer on a new project about contemporary queer photography.

Chris has sought opportunities outside Ireland too. In 2022, he attended the Wise Children Winter Workrooms led by Emma Rice. In 2020, he attended the European Theatre Academy. In 2023, he won a scholarship through the Richard Wagner Foundation to visit the Bayreuth Opera Festival, Germany.

He has supported new writers as a dramaturg, recently directing a Druid Debut at the Galway International Arts Festival. In 2024, as well as directing his own projects, Chris hopes to continue developing work with new writers.

THISISPOPBABY'S Haunted/If These Wigs Could Talk at the Peacock Stage, the Abbey Theatre (2022), directed by Philip McMahon.

Giulia Grillo (2023)

Giulia’s show Near to has been selected as part of Sprint 2024, Camden People’s Theatre Festival for bold and brand new work in London. Giulia is also part of the Nuovo Grand Tour project at Cité Internationale Des Arts, Paris. She is working towards a site-specific piece of performance art alongside visual artist Francesca Brugola. Giulia has recently joined Blether— a storytelling and performance event based around the traditions of Celtic ritual and solidarity—as a director.

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