DUBLIN, 21 December 2021 – Dr. Frances Ruane, Chair of the board of the Abbey Theatre, announced today that Noelle Brown, Múirne Laffan, Owen Travers and Michael Wall have been appointed to the board for a four year term. The new appointments were confirmed at a meeting of the Abbey Theatre’s Board of Directors on December 20th.

Speaking about the announcement, Frances Ruane said: “We in the Abbey are delighted to announce the appointment of four new members to the board, each bringing a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience to our national theatre. Following advertising on our website and a professional search process, we reviewed a strong field of applications to fill vacancies across four skills areas.  We sought people whose skills and backgrounds would bring additional expertise to support the theatre’s artistic ambition, its strategic goals, and particularly the exciting plans for the redevelopment of the Abbey Theatre as part of the national investment in Ireland’s cultural infrastructure.” 

Ruane added:

“The Department of Tourism , Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media will shortly advertise two further vacancies on the Board to be filled by Minister Catherine Martin in early 2022.”

In relation to the four new appointees, the Chairman said:

“Noelle Brown comes to the Board as a distinguished actor and theatre maker, who is familiar to audiences of theatre, film, radio and television across Ireland over three decades. An advocate for human rights and social inclusion, she has used her skills as an artist and curator to highlight social justice issues, such as the treatment of survivors of Mother and Baby Homes and prejudice towards the Travelling Community.”

“Múirne Laffan, formerly Chief Digital Officer at RTÉ, brings to the Abbey her extensive skills in global and local marketing across news, media and entertainment. She is joining the board at a time when Irish theatre is assessing its next steps and future audience engagement strategies  in a world that has been turned upside down by Covid-19. Múirne is currently on the board of the Irish Television & Film Academy and the Digital Repository of Ireland.”

“Owen Travers, a keen theatre enthusiast, comes to the board with a wealth of experience in corporate finance, and specifically in relation to major capital projects across a wide range of sectors. His expertise, gained in his current role as Finance Director of D|RES Properties and his previous roles, including as Chief Executive of AIB Corporate Finance, will be contribute to the Board’s plans for the new theatre development.”

“Michael Wall, who has professional qualifications in law, architecture, project management and planning, has been appointed to the Board, having previously served from 2017 to 2020.  He is a practising barrister specialising in in construction, planning and environmental law. His skills will contribute to the current exciting plans to redevelop the Abbey Theatre, as will his extensive experience as a board member in the many areas, including the arts, environmental, and heritage sectors.” 

With this announcement, the Abbey Theatre’s board of directors now comprises:

Frances Ruane (Chair)

Noelle Brown

Mairead Delaney

Múirne Laffan

Máire O’Higgins

Michael Owens

Owen Travers

Michael Wall

Michael West

Two further appointments will be made shortly by the Minister for Tourism , Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media.

Further details on all Board members can be found at https://www.abbeytheatre.ie/board-of-directors/