Abbey Theatre Board
Dr. Bryan McMahon, Chairman
Dr. Bryan McMahon, Chairman of the Abbey Theatre, was born in Listowel, Co. Kerry, and is the son of the late Bryan McMahon, Abbey Theatre playwright, novelist, short story writer and teacher. After graduating from University College Dublin Law School, Dr. McMahon was admitted as a solicitor in 1964. He was awarded a fellowship to Harvard Law School, and graduated with the LLM in 1965. Dr. McMahon was awarded his PhD in 1972 from NUI. He has held a number of academic positions and lectured extensively on legal topics in Europe and the USA. Previously, he was a senior partner in the Ennis firm, Houlihan and McMahon, Professor of Law at University College Cork and National University of Ireland, Galway, and adjunct professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin. He is co-author of Irish Law of Torts and European Law in Ireland. He was also Chair of the Irish Universities Quality Board and Chair of the National Archives Advisory Council. In 1999, Dr. McMahon was appointed a Judge of the Circuit Court. In 2007, he was elevated to the High Court. He retired from the bench on 8 April, 2011. In 2005, Dr. McMahon was appointed Chairman of the Abbey Theatre, and was re-appointed for a second term until 25 January, 2017. In 2013, Dr. McMahon was appointed Chairman of the Governing Body of University College Cork. In September 2011, Dr. McMahon was appointed Chair of two national referendum commissions. Dr. McMahon was appointed as Presiding Officer for pilot Irish Citizenship Ceremonies in 2012, and was awarded an honorary doctorate (LLD) by UCD in the same year. Dr. McMahon was appointed Chair of the Working Group established by the Government in November 2014, to recommend improvements to Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to asylum seekers. The Final Report of the Working Group was submitted to the Government in June 2015.
Jane Brennan’s acting career has spanned over thirty years. Her work at the Abbey Theatre includes Hedda Gabler, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Perve, No Escape, Alice Trilogy Winner of the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Actress, 2007, Bailegangaire, The Burial at Thebes, The House (Irish Times Theatre Award nomination for Best Actress), Dancing at Lughnasa, The Last Apache Reunion, The Crucible, Footfalls, A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant, The Playboy of the Western World, The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, The Wake, Saint Joan, and The Rivals. Other theatre work includes Jane Eyre, Pygmalion and Not I (Gate Theatre), ’Tis a Pity She’s a Whore, A Little Like Drowning, The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Brigit (Druid Theatre Company), Splendour, (Irish Times Theatre Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress 2008) (Project Arts Centre), Digging For Fire, Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer and The Way of the World (Rough Magic), The Sugar Wife (Rough Magic and Soho Theatre) and Hamlet (Second Age Theatre Company). Jane co-founded b*spoke Theatre Company and with them she has also appeared in Electra, Boston Marriage and Tejas Verdes. Her film and television work includes Brooklyn, Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actress (Wildgaze/Parallel Films), NW (BBC 2), Paula (BBC 1), Single Handed 2, Fair City and Love/Hate (RTÉ), The Tudors (Showtime), Benedict Arnold (Dark Eagle Productions), Perrier’s Bounty (Parallel Films), Death of a Superhero (Bavaria Pictures), Intermission (Brown Sauce Film Productions), Attracta (B.A.C. Films) and Black Day at Blackrock (Venus Three Productions).
Dónall Curtin is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland. He currently serves as Chairman of the Institute’s Registration Committee. Dónall was a Partner in the accountancy practice Byrne Curtin Kelly and has in excess of 32 years’ experience. A considerable portion of Dónall’s client portfolio was in the professional service sector, where he acted as management consultant, as well as the normal practice related services and advisory services. He is a Member of the Institute of Directors and was awarded the Certificate and Diploma in Corporate Governance, and achieved Chartered Director Qualification within the Institute of Directors. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, with considerable experience in arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution. Up until recently, he served as President of Chambers Ireland, the country’s largest business organisation, with 60 member chambers representing over 12,000 businesses throughout the island of Ireland. Dónall is a collector and a consumer of the arts. He worked with several organisations in promoting the role of the Visual Arts within Ireland. He currently serves as a director of Visual Artists Ireland and European Movement Ireland.
Loretta Dignam is a marketing professional with more than 25 years’ experience with several multinational and Irish companies, including Mars Inc, Diageo, Kerry Foods and Jacob Fruitfield. She was named Marketer of the Year in 2011, served as interim CEO of Fundraising Ireland and works with Plan Ireland in a marketing and fundraising capacity.
Loretta now works as an independent marketing consultant across a variety of industries and sectors and lectures on the Executive MBA Programme at the Michael Smurfit Business School. Loretta is also a member of the Enterprise Ireland Mentor Programme. Loretta is a graduate of UCD, with a first class honours Bachelor of Commerce and a first class honours MSc in Marketing. Loretta is also a recent graduate of DCU where she completed a post grad in Digital Marketing. Loretta joined the Board of the Abbey Theatre in July 2015.
Sarah Durcan is the Global Operations Manager of Science Gallery International, the non-profit organisation catalysing the growth of the world’s first university-linked network dedicated to public engagement with science and art. She has a background in theatre producing and financial management and worked for nine years as the Executive Producer for award-winning Irish theatre company, The Corn Exchange. Sarah was the Acting General Manager of Dublin Theatre Festival and then joined the Dublin Fringe Festival as General Manager. As a consultant producer and strategic advisor she has worked with ARCANE Collective Dance Company and Theatre Lovett on their international tours. Sarah holds a BA in Communications from DCU and an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from UCD. She has served on the boards of Theatre Forum and GAZE Film Festival. Since November 2015 she has been involved in organising the #WakingTheFeminists campaign to achieve gender equality in Irish theatre by 2021. In July 2016, Sarah was appointed to the Board of the Abbey Theatre.
Deirdre Kinahan is actively involved in the Irish theatre sector both as playwright and producer. She is an elected member of Aosdána, Ireland’s association of outstanding artists. Deirdre is also an advisor to the Stewart Parkert Trust whose mission is to encourage new writing for the stage. Her work is translated into many languages and produced regularly both in Ireland and abroad. She is published by Nick Hern Books. Her plays include Rise (The Old Vic), Wild Sky, Spinning, Halcyon Days, Bogboy, Moment, Hue & Cry, Melody and Maisy Daly’s Rainbow. Her work for radio includes Bogboy (RTÉ) and A Bag on Ballyfinch Place (BBC).
In 2017 Deirdre is under commission to Manhattan Theatre Club (New York), Fishamble: The New Play Company (Ireland), The Old Vic (London), Meath County Council (Ireland) and has numerous other theatre, film and writing projects in development. Her work has garnered her many awards, most notably a Fringe First for Halcyon Days in 2013 and the Tony Doyle Bursary with BBC Northern Ireland 2009. She is the recipient of the Jim McNaughton TileStyle Artist Bursary 2013, the Peggy Ramsay Award 2014 and Arts Council of Ireland Commission Award 2015/2017. Deirdre’s plays have been nominated by numerous international award committees including Westies, London; Helen Hayes, Washington, DC; and Jeffs Chicago, Doras, Toronto.
Niamh Lunny is Head of the Costume Department at the Abbey Theatre and Staff Director on the Board of Directors. Her design work at the Abbey Theatre includes Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Heartbreak House, The Waste Ground Party, The Risen People, Maeve’s House, Shush, The House, The East Pier, The Passing, Arrah-na-Pogue, The Seafarer, Only an Apple, Blue/Orange, Homelands, Portia Coughlan and I Do Not Like Thee Doctor Fell. She has worked extensively with ANU productions, The Performance Corporation and Fishamble: The New Play Company. She has also designed for Rough Magic, Theatre Lovett, Operating Theatre, Calypso Theatre, The Ark and the Olympia Theatre. In 2009, Niamh established the Abbey Theatre Costume Hire business to generate additional income for the national theatre and to make this unique range of costume stock accessible to the wider arts community. Before joining the Abbey Theatre, she spent four years as costume coordinator at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, and worked regularly in film and television. Niamh is a graduate of Limerick College of Art and Design.
James McNally is a partner in the tax services practice of PwC and specialises in company administration and outsourcing services, encompassing payroll processing and consulting, company secretarial, share schemes, accounting solutions, and management support functional effectiveness. James also has extensive tax experience, focussing on advising pharmaceutical companies on domestic and international tax planning and structuring, value chain transformation, R&D, and intellectual property.
Sheelagh O’Neill graduated in History from Trinity College Dublin and in Marketing from the College of Marketing and Design. She worked with Abbey Tours in Dublin, and as Marketing Manager for American Express in Sydney. She was a member of the Arts Council of Ireland from 2009-2011, and was until recently a Trustee and Fundraiser for Lessons for Life Foundation UK. She supports and invests in the performing arts in Ireland and the UK. She is a member of the Institute of Directors and has been awarded the Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction and Corporate Governance.
Mark Ryan was formerly the Country Managing Director of Accenture in Ireland from 2005 to 2014. Mark completed a 32 year career with Accenture. He joined Accenture as a Science graduate of Trinity College Dublin in 1982. He was Head of Accenture’s Financial Services Practice in Ireland from 1999-2005. During his career with Accenture, he spent extended periods both the United States and the UK. He has worked with major organisations across both the private and public sectors. During this time, he played numerous senior management and executive roles in delivering major strategy, technology and business change programmes for some of Accenture’s most important clients locally and internationally. Mark also drove major Diversity programmes within Accenture. He was also heavily involved with the Accenture Corporate Citizenship Programme in Ireland, working directly with numerous local community organisations. He was appointed to the Board of Wells Fargo Bank International in December 2014. He was previously President of the Trinity College Business Alumni, from 2008-2010. He is currently a member of the Trinity Foundation Advisory Board. He also served on the Board of the National Concert Hall from 2005 to 2011. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and was awarded the Certificate & Diploma in Company Direction & Corporate Governance.