Chun an leathanach seo a léamh i nGaeilge, cliceáil anseo.

Abbey Begins 

Over eight sessions, ten selected participants for this intake of Abbey Begins will have access to a smörgåsbord of techniques, exercises and relationships with other writers that will encourage and arm them with the tools they need to write their first full play.

Each two and half hour session aims to immerse participants in the craft of playwriting. All the sessions will be led by writer and performer Jody O’Neill, who will guide participants as they dig into the core elements of playwriting, like writing character, creating dynamic dialogue, structures and meaning, and collaboration. At the end of the group, participants will be invited to share a play with the New Work team for detailed feedback and guidance on developing their play further.

The workshops are free to attend and will be held virtually Saturday mornings starting Saturday, 14 August, until Saturday, 25 September, 2021. After a four week break, participants will be invited to attend the final session in person (restrictions permitting) on Saturday, 23 October, 2021, in Dublin. Travel subsidies will be available for the final session for writers who live outside of Dublin.

Applications for Abbey Begins open on Wednesday, 30 June, 2021, and will close Friday, 23 July, 2021. To apply all you need to do is to fill out a brief online form and to send 10 pages of work written for live performance to In the online form we just want to know a bit about why you are applying and what you hope to get out of the group. The 10 pages you share alongside your completed form do not need to have been produced or staged or even read by anyone else but yourself – in fact, you could write them now for this application.  We just want to get a sense of your own unique voice and what you want to say with it. We are particularly interested in applications from writers from communities that have been historically underrepresented in Irish theatre.

Writers selected to take part in Abbey Begins will be contacted by Monday, 9 August.  If you have any questions about the group or the application process, please get in touch with us at We’re excited to hear from you.

Jody O’Neill 

Jody is an award-winning autistic writer and performer with over 20 years’ experience working in the theatre, film and TV sectors in Ireland and internationally. Her critically-acclaimed play, What I (Don’t) Know About Autism, premiered in 2020 in co-production with the Abbey Theatre, and in association with The Everyman (Cork) and Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre. It will return to the stage in late 2021 for live and streamed performances. Funded by Dublin Theatre Festival’s Future’s project, she is currently developing a project called Seaside Conversations, working with disability service users to explore their experiences of the pandemic. With support from the Arts Council, she is researching and developing a new play about female autism. She is also working on a commission, what the telly saw for Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre, and recently completed a play about Climate Justice, Fail, an Epic or An Epic Fail for Youth Theatre Ireland. In 2019, Jody received a Judges’ Commendation at the UK Bruntwood Awards for her play, Ballybaile. She was also shortlisted for the PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Award. As a writer and/or performer, Jody has worked with many Irish theatre companies including: The Abbey Theatre, Rough Magic, Fishamble, Anu Productions, Graffiti, Team, Barnstorm and more. She lives in Wicklow with her partner and son.