The Abbey Theatre is currently seeking to fill a vacancy on its Board. Find out more here.
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 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) from 2006 to 2015. Her research interests are in international economics and public policy. Over her career, she has been an academic visitor at various universities in the USA and Canada. She has been a member of the Royal Irish Academy since 2003 and was elected an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2010. Dr Ruane is currently President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland and a member of the Council of the Institute for International and European Affairs. She is also a member of the European Statistical Governance Advisory Board (ESGAB, the Advisory Board at the Fraser of Allander Institute in Scotland, and the Scientific Advisory Board at the Kiel Centre for Globalisation. Dr Ruane has previously served as a Board Member of several public institutions, including the National Board for Science and Technology, the National Theatre Company (the Abbey Theatre), the Industrial Development Authority, Forfás, Bord Gáis Eireann, the Higher Education Authority, the Health Research Board and the Commission of the National Pensions Reserve Fund. She also served as Chair of the National Statistics Board and as Chair of the Douglas Hyde Gallery at TCD. Frances was born in Tuam, Co Galway. She studied Economics at UCD and at Oxford University, where she graduated with a DPhil in 1980.
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.
Pádraig Cusack lives in West Cork and works internationally. He has exceptional knowledge of theatre with a successful record of producing and directing in many theatres across the world, including in the Abbey Theatre and the National Theatre of Great Britain. He comes from a family with an outstanding theatrical record, as the son of the late Cyril and Maureen Cusack and brother of Niamh, Sinéad, Sorcha, and half-brother of Catherine. Pádraig has many years of experience serving on the boards of several companies in the theatre sector, including the Society of London Theatres, the Cambridge Arts Theatre and the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith.
Jane is Co-Director of Irish Theatre Institute (ITI), a key resource for the Irish theatre sector, its artists, makers and independent producers focussing on mentoring, development, production supports and national and international networking. ITI is the creator of PLAYOGRAPHYIreland, the on-line catalogue of new Irish plays since Abbey’s foundation in 1904.
Jane was General Manager/Producer with Druid for eight years (1988-96) and in 1996 set up Jane Daly Arts Management which provides project management, strategic planning and facilitation services to arts organisations. In January 2016, she was engaged by Galway City Council as Programme Manager/Developer for Galway’s successful bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2020. Jane has also worked at Dublin Theatre Festival, MayFest Glasgow, the Arts Council and was Executive Producer on Ireland’s first national presentation at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial Exhibition of Scenography.
Jane received the Special Tribute at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2016, with Siobhán Bourke her Co-Director at ITI, acknowledging their contribution to Irish theatre development over 30 years.
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.
Kevin McFadden is the Head of the Lighting and Sound department at the Abbey Theatre and Staff Representative on the Board of Directors. As a Lighting designer his work at the Abbey includes includes Shush, Tinas idea of fun, Conservatory, Maeve’s House,The Passing, The East Pier, Bookworms , Doubt, Drama at Inish, Silent, Richard II (with Ouroboros Theatre Company), Fool for Love, Grown Ups, What Happened Bridgie Cleary, The Guys and A Quiet Life. Other work includes The Pearce Project (Dublin Dance Festival 2012), Cruel and Tender (Hatch and Project Arts Centre), Myrmidons(Ouroboros and Beckett Theatre), Hysteria (b*spoke and Project Arts Centre), Hamlet (Gúna Nua and Project Arts Centre), Taste (Gúna Nua and Andrews Lane), Bloody Poetry (Bank of Ireland Arts Centre) and Seven Deadly Sins (Performance Corporation). Operas include Heresy(Meta productions), The Dead(performance corporation) and Ormindo (RIAM).
Kevin has also toured extensively both nationally and internationally with the Abbey, and has acted as an associate designer for many of its visiting artists.
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.
Michael Wall is a practising barrister specialising in construction, planning and environmental law, is chair of the board of Wide Open Opera (since the foundation of the company) and chairman-designate of the Irish Georgian Society. Michael is a member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Irish Planning Institute (IPI) and teaches at UCD on masters’ degree programmes in planning, urban design and landscape architecture. He was a member of the full-time board of An Bord Pleanála for eight years, prior to which he worked in private practice as an architect, in marketing and in project management. Since April 2010 he has served as a member of the NAMA Planning Advisory Committee, appointed by the Minister for Finance. He is a member of the board of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) since May 2015. In addition to qualifications in architecture from DIT and TCD, he has a master’s degree in planning from UCD, an MBA from the Smurfit Business School at UCD and BL from the Honorable Society of the King’s Inns. Michael is also qualified and practises as a Mediator and Arbitrator. He is a board member/trustee of Simpson’s Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin.