DUBLIN, 13 December 2022 – The Abbey Theatre today announced that Ruth McGowan has been appointed to the role of Literary and New Work Director, joining the Senior Management Team. Ruth will lead the Literary and New Work Department – nurturing relationships with playwrights and overseeing an approach to dramaturgy for the development of new work, which accommodates a wide range of approaches to the creation of theatre.

Caitríona McLaughlin and Mark O’Brien, Co-Directors of Abbey Theatre:

“Ruth McGowan is an artistic leader we have admired for many years. Her commitment and support of artists during her time at Dublin Fringe has had a profound impact on the Irish theatre landscape and on countless individual careers. We are all tremendously excited to see her return to the Abbey Theatre and look forward to having an opportunity to work with her in shaping a new department, developing Irish artists and igniting cultural conversations nationally and Internationally.”

Ruth McGowan commented:

“I look forward to joining the team at the Abbey Theatre in Spring 2023. It’s an exciting opportunity to begin a new chapter for the Literary and New Work Department, contributing to a rich legacy, and investing in a vibrant, courageous future for Irish theatre in all its forms. I will continue to advocate for big ideas, new perspectives, joy and disruption in this new role, championing playwrights and theatre makers of ambition to achieve their vision to its fullest.”

As a dramaturg, programmer and producer, Ruth has been championing new work across performance disciplines and building impactful creative partnerships since 2009. Specialising in idea development and talent development, she has supported hundreds of artists to bring their work from the page to the stage. 

Ruth joined the team at Dublin Fringe Festival as Programme Manager in 2015, taking on the role of Artistic Director & CEO in 2018. Under her leadership, the festival commissioned an exciting body of contemporary performance work from a broad spectrum of artists, seeded major collaborations between Irish and international artists, introduced valuable mentorship initiatives for early career artists and devised vital targeted support schemes to remove barriers to access for artists and projects that defy the mainstream. 

In her early career, Ruth worked in new play development at Atlantic Theatre Company and The Public Theatre (New York). She worked as Literary Assistant at the Abbey Theatre from 2011 – 2015, supporting playwrights of all career stages and the development of new work for the Abbey and Peacock stages. She was awarded the Lennox Robinson Bursary in 2013 to research innovative production models for the presentation of new work at Steppenwolf (Chicago). 

Ruth holds a B.Ed with English from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and an M.Phil in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College Dublin. 

Ruth will take up the role in March 2023.