Current Board Members 

Dr. Frances Ruane (Chair)

Dr Frances Ruane, Chair of the Abbey Theatre, is an economist. She held academic positions at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) between 1977 and 2006, and was Director of the ESRI from 2006 to 2015. She is currently Chair of the National Competitiveness Council, a member of the European Statistical Governance Advisory Board (ESGAB), and a member of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support to Persons in the International Protection Process.

Dr Ruane has been a member of the Royal Irish Academy since 2003 and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin since 2010. She recently served as President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland and was as a member of the Council of the Institute for International and European Affairs. She has previously served as a board member of several public bodies, including the NBST, IDA, Forfás, BGE, HEA, HRB, and the NPRF Commission. She also served as Chair of the National Statistics Board and as Chair of the Douglas Hyde Gallery at TCD.

Over her career, Frances has been an academic visitor at various universities in the USA and Canada. Born in Tuam, Co Galway, she studied Economics at UCD and at Oxford University, where she graduated with a DPhil in 1980.  (Date of appointment: 22/05/2017)

Mairéad Delaney

Mairéad Delaney is the Abbey Theatre Archivist and Staff Director. A graduate of UCD and a professional Archivist, she was commissioned as an external consultant in 1994 to prepare the first detailed analysis of the Abbey Theatre’s archival holdings. In 1996 she was appointed to establish the Abbey Theatre Archive.

In the intervening years the Abbey Theatre Archive has grown extensively, creating a unique resource preserving and making available the social, cultural, and economic history of Ireland’s National Theatre. The collection is widely utilised by scholars, theatre practitioners and members of the public both nationally and internationally. Mairéad is a member of the Project Team for the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive. This large scale digitisation partnership with NUI Galway has helped define a new era of theatre scholarship.

Having taught at secondary, university and adult education levels, she retains a strong interest in education and mentoring. In addition to giving specialist tours of the Abbey Theatre, Mairéad frequently acts as an Abbey ambassador lecturing both at home and abroad. She has collaborated on several exhibitions with other cultural institutions including the National Library of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery.

Mairéad previously served on the Advisory Council of the National Theatre Society Limited. (Date of appointment: 1 February 2021)

Máire O’Higgins
Máire is an Assistant Principal and Chaplain in Larkin Community College in Dublin’s North Inner City. She has worked in education, arts and community development for over thirty years.

As an educator Máire developed the first partnership arts in education Junior Cycle programme in secondary schools in Ireland. She has led myriad artist residencies in schools. Her work in the arts and education has informed her role as a Board member of Encountering The Arts Ireland, a national alliance of education and arts practitioners and organisations. 

As a theatre practitioner Máire worked as a Director with Passion Machine Theatre Company. She was a founding member of Pigsback Theatre Company, and has worked as an actor and producer in theatre.

In her community development work, Máire has led intergenerational initiatives for civic community engagement, with the National Museum of Ireland, the National College of Art and Design, the Abbey Theatre and Localise Volunteering. She served as a Board member of Localise for ten years and on the Steering Committee for the National Citizenship Education Network.

Máire is on the North Inner City Programme Implementation Board Steering Committee tasked with bringing diverse communities together to celebrate sustained civic and cultural engagement.  (Date of appointment: 09/03/2020)

Michael Owens
Michael Owens is a HR professional, with extensive HR experience in insurance, manufacturing and retail. He recently retired as HR Director with Vhi Healthcare where he was a member of the executive management team involved in formulating and executing business strategy. Michael led a number of key projects in Vhi Healthcare, including the development of a business centre in Kilkenny employing 600 people and a new award winning Head Office in Abbey Street. 

Michael was a member of the board of Business to Arts for 8 years and served as its chairperson for 5 years. During that time Business to Arts was recognised for a number of impactful Arts initiatives including the Allianz Business to Arts Awards, New Stream and Fund it. Michael has also been a board member with Junior Achievement, Vhi Swiftcare and Coyle Hamilton. 

He has a keen interest in HR Best Practice and contributed in this regard as a member of the National Committee of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Ireland) where he was chairperson for 4 years. Michael has a BA in HR and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Executive Coaching. (Date of appointment: 09/03/2020)  

Michael West
Michael West is a playwright, adaptor and translator. In collaboration with Annie Ryan and The Corn Exchange, his work includes The Fall of the Second Republic, Dublin by Lamplight; the world premiere adaptation of James Joyce’s Dubliners; Man of Valour; Freefall; Everyday; Foley; and adaptations of The Seagull and Lolita

Translations include The Marriage of Figaro; Death and the Ploughman by the Bohemian 14th century writer Johannes Von Saaz; and work by Molière, Marivaux and Calderón, including Forever Yours, Mary-Lou, by Michel Tremblay. 

Other original work includes Conservatory, and FRNKNSTN, a mutation of Mary Shelley’s classic, written for Theatre Lovett, both of which premiered at the Peacock. And he also wrote The Chinese Room, which played at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the USA in a production directed by James Macdonald. 

He was dramaturg on Webster’s The White Devil at the Globe, and Dead Centre’s Hamnet, which premiered at the Abbey Theatre. He has written plays for children, for radio and adapted an Oscar Wilde story for the English National Ballet. He teaches scriptwriting at Queen’s University Belfast and is published by Methuen. (Date of appointment: 09/03/2020)

The members of the Abbey Theatre board are members of the Company.