Search begins for new Abbey Theatre Director

Search begins for new Abbey Theatre Director

~ Exciting opportunity to lead a flourishing national theatre and expand its influence on Irish theatre internationally ~

The Board of Directors of the Abbey Theatre today begin a search for a new Director to succeed Fiach Mac Conghail whose successful 12 year tenure as Director of our national theatre ends in December 2016. KPMG Executive Search has been appointed to oversee the recruitment process. The Board expects to announce the successful candidate this summer.

Speaking today, Dr. Bryan McMahon, Chairman of the Abbey Theatre said: “As Fiach Mac Conghail hands over the baton of leadership of our national theatre at the end of 2016, we are seeking an enterprising and visionary new Director to lead the Abbey Theatre through its next stage of development in Ireland and beyond. We invite Irish and international candidates with a proven track record of leadership, creativity and innovation to apply for, what is the most influential and exciting job in Irish theatre. The successful candidate will ideally take up the role as Director Designate during 2016, working alongside Fiach Mac Conghail to ensure a successful transition. We are also open to hearing from all interested parties and to receiving joint applications from more than one candidate. The Abbey Theatre just celebrated an inspirational 110 years’ contribution to the cultural life of Ireland and the world. By the end of 2016, Fiach Mac Conghail will be handing over a thriving national theatre poised for the next chapter of growth and development for the good of Irish artists and audiences.”

Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said “I will have served 12 years as Director of the Abbey Theatre by the time I leave in December 2016 and it has been an honour and a privilege to do so. I have loved every minute of it, working side by side with an inspirational community of artists, creative people and my brilliant colleagues at the Abbey Theatre. Leading the Abbey Theatre is the most exciting responsibility in Irish theatre and I look forward to working alongside my successor to ensure a smooth transition for the benefit of our artists and our fellow citizens.”

Thomas Kilroy, renowned playwright and Abbey Theatre Board member said “The person appointed will of course respect and nourish the great tradition of the Abbey Theatre but he or she will also embrace the future, will welcome the challenge of the new, the innovative, even the alien. We are looking for a leader who will lead the theatre into that exciting future.”

This search begins at an exciting juncture for the Abbey Theatre which just celebrated its 110th anniversary year and as the Abbey Theatre plans an ambitious programme to acknowledge the 1916 Rising, an event to which the Abbey Theatre is inextricably linked.

2014 was an extraordinary year for the Abbey Theatre in which it reached 160,000 people in Ireland and internationally and saw the Abbey Theatre deliver an extensive and ambitious programme of artistic, literary, education and touring activities.

This week the Abbey Theatre opens Henrik Ibsen’s celebrated play Hedda Gabler in a new version by Mark O’Rowe, directed by Annabelle Comyn. Also this week, Death of a Comedian by Owen Mc Cafferty, an Abbey Theatre commission, opens at the Soho Theatre, London. The Shadow of a Gunman by Seán O’Casey and directed by Wayne Jordan is currently in rehearsals at the Abbey Theatre and will open in the Lyric Theatre Belfast on Thursday 7 May before returning to the Abbey Theatre on 12 June.

The Abbey Theatre has inspired and influenced the cultural life of Ireland and the world for over 110 years. It has produced some of the most ground-breaking and celebrated plays in the Irish canon which have won worldwide recognition and acclaim for Irish writers

Renowned Irish writers from Seán O’Casey, Bernard Shaw, J.M. Synge and W.B. Yeats to Marina Carr, Brian Friel, Thomas Kilroy, Frank McGuinness and Tom Murphy, all have interrogated the national psyche through their work at the Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre leads the way in encouraging new Irish writing for theatre by nurturing talented Irish writers. It is committed to developing and premiering the work of contemporary award-winning playwrights such as Sebastian Barry, Owen McCafferty, Billy Roche and Mark O’Rowe. It encourages and nurtures the talents of new playwrights through guidance and mentorship, offering opportunities to showcase their work in development and later producing and premiering their finished plays. The Abbey Theatre has championed the work of a new generation of exciting writers, including Shaun Dunne, Stacey Gregg, Nancy Harris, Phillip McMahon and Carmel Winters.

In interpreting some of the great iconic roles of Irish theatre, a host of extraordinary international stars such as Gabriel Byrne, Sinéad Cusack, Ciarán Hinds, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea and Fiona Shaw have worked at the Abbey Theatre.

A play’s director has an important role in the success of any production at the national theatre. The Abbey Theatre collaborates with the best Irish and international directors, including Selina Cartmell, Annabelle Comyn, Jimmy Fay, Wayne Jordan, Patrick Mason, Róisín McBrinn, Conall Morrison and Neil Bartlett, Jason Byrne, Howard Davies, Joe Dowling, Jeremy Herrin and Sean Holmes.

The Abbey Theatre has a long tradition of touring. Its productions are regularly invited to tour nationally and internationally. In recent years, the Abbey Theatre has toured extensively to Edinburgh, London, New York and Sydney with major tours of new Irish writing by Owen Mc Cafferty, Mark O’Rowe and American playwright, Sam Shepard.

Advertisements for the role will follow in the coming days. For application details please contact John McCullough, Managing Director, KPMG Executive Search & Selection, Tel: 01 – 410 1820, E-mail:

The Abbey Theatre acknowledges the support of The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon

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