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)

Peter Lowry
As an experienced member of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Peter has achieved many accolades during his career to date including building a successful firm of chartered accountants, tax advisors and statutory auditors and acting as a trusted advisor to many businesses in the private SME sector, in addition to Charity and Not for Profit organisations. Experienced in building professional and business relationships, developing teams and providing strategic business solutions Peter has added to his credentials over the years as a graduate of National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). He also earned a Certificate of Personal Insolvency Practitioner with Chartered Accountants Ireland and after putting his experience and acumen of working with and striving to bring out the best in people to the fore he earned an Advanced Diploma in Personal Leadership and Executive Coaching. (Date of appointment: 01/11/2018)

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)

Breda O’Keeffe
Breda O’Keeffe is an accountant with more than 30 years experience in various financial roles across a broad range of industries. A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, she has held senior financial positions in aircraft leasing (Guinness Peat Aviation, General Electric Aviation Services), in telecommunications (JetPhone), in insurance (Halifax Bank of Scotland, General Electric Insurance Services) and in public service broadcasting with RTÉ.  

Breda joined RTÉ in 2002 and was appointed Finance Director of RTÉ Television and was also a member of the Programme Strategy Group.  In 2012, she was appointed Chief Financial Officer of RTÉ, in which role she has had experience in restructuring, raising capital, working with Government departments, contracts and rights negotiations. In addition, she has overseen and managed significant financial challenges in the media industry at RTÉ.  

Breda has extensive experience in financial reporting, governance and compliance matters.  In 2013, she was also appointed board director of RTÉ Transmission Network Ltd and RTE Commercial Enterprise Limited.  A native of Kilkenny, Breda studied at Waterford Institute of Technology. In addition to her interests in media, she enjoys sea swimming, cycling and long distance running. (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 Wall
Michael Wall is a practising barrister specialising in construction, planning and environmental law, and a member of the board of Irish National Opera. He is chairman of the Irish Georgian Society, a fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and a member of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI). 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. He is a member of the board of NAMA and is chair of the NAMA Planning Advisory Committee. Michael is also 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.
(Date of appointment: 31/07/2017)

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.