Our Story

Board of Directors

The Festival is governed by a voluntary, non-executive Board of Directors, made up of 7-10 members.

Brian Brady (appointed 2013; Chairperson since Jan 2020)

Head of Theatre Programme of Trinity Laban
Brian Brady is Head of Theatre Programme of Trinity Laban, the UK’s first conservatoire for music and dance. Originally from Ireland, he is a graduate of The Samuel Beckett Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. Since 2000, Brian has worked as a freelance theatre artist, directing Opera and Theatre in the UK and Europe. He is a former Associate Director of The Abbey and Peacock Theatres, Ireland’s National Theatre.

Gemma Duke (appointed 2017)

Executive Officer, System Funding - HEA
Gemma Duke currently works in System Funding in the Higher Education Authority. Before joining the HEA, Gemma worked as the Development Manager at the National College of Art & Design, having previously performed roles in PR, marketing and development in Ireland and abroad, with the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Abbey Theatre and Sydney Festival. Gemma has a Masters in Strategic Management & Planning from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Lisa FitzGerald (appointed 2015)

Head of Human Resources
Lisa FitzGerald is currently the Head of Human Resources for an international broadcaster and has held similar HR roles at NCAD, UCD, the BBC and the Museum of London. She previously gained significant experience in dance administration with companies including Mark Morris Dance Group, Akram Khan Dance, Richard Alston Dance Company as well as related roles at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, City Centre Theatre (NY) and Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance.

Dr Aoife McGrath (appointed 2021)

Senior Lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Aoife McGrath is Senior Lecturer in Drama and Athena SWAN Champion at the School of Arts, English and Languages, Queen’s University Belfast. After a professional dance career in Germany and Ireland, Aoife has worked as a choreographer, dance critic, and as Dance Advisor for the Irish Arts Council. Publications include her monograph, Dance Theatre in Ireland: Revolutionary Moves (Palgrave, 2013), and the co-edited collection (with Dr Emma Meehan, CDaRe, Coventry), Dance Matters in Ireland: contemporary processes and practices (Palgrave, 2018). Recent choreographic work includes Please (NIMHAFF, 2017), Within: Body+Time (Accidental Theatre, 2018) and Let Down (Being Human Festival, Breastival, Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, 2018). Aoife is Co-President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research, Co-Convenor of the IFTR Choreography and Corporeality Working Group, and a performer/choreographer member of Dance Ireland.

Síona Meghen (appointed 2015)

Entrepreneur & Business Consultant
Síona Meghen was Commercial Director of Certus, a financial services outsourcing firm, which she co-founded in 2010. Prior to this, Síona held a number of senior positions in Bank of Scotland (Ireland), KBC Bank and the National Treasury Management Agency. She trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen and spent 8 years with the firm, working predominantly in the Business Consulting division. Síona holds a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and a Qualified Financial Adviser. Síona is also on the Board of Women’s Aid.

Jerry O'Connell (appointed 2015)

Financial Management
Originally from County Kerry, Jerry returned to Ireland in 2014 after 25 years working abroad in the International Financial Services sector. Jerry held senior finance management roles for various financial institutions in Sydney, Frankfurt and London. A qualified Certified accountant and Life & Business Coach , Jerry also holds an MSC in Financial Services from University College Dublin. Jerry has served on the boards of various charities in the UK specialising in Financial Management and Corporate Governance. He also trained as a Latin American and ballroom dancer at Pineapple studios in London. Jerry is currently working with the Irish Red Cross in Dublin and is in the final year of an MBA at the National College of Ireland.

Anna Walsh (appointed 2018)

Executive Director of Theatre Forum
As Executive Director of Theatre Forum, Anna works closely with the organisation’s team, board and over 280 members to plan, produce and deliver training, as well as an annual programme of events. Her background is in strategic communications and advertising, having worked with multinational and indigenous companies, internationally and locally. Anna holds an M.A. Cultural Policy and Arts Management awarded by UCD, an M.Phil. Irish Art History and an M.Sc. (Management) Organisational Behaviour, both awarded by Trinity College, Dublin. She was an Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards judge in 2015 and chaired the judges’ panel in 2016.