Board of Directors
The Festival is governed by a voluntary, non-executive Board of Directors, made up of 5-10 members.
Anna Walsh (appointed 2018. Chairperson since 2022)
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.
Karen Howley (appointed 2022)
Strategy & Commercial Lead
Karen Howley works with The Dock, Accenture’s global centre for innovation, helping the world’s biggest companies solve complex problems. Since joining in 2017, Karen has worked in roles that span both business and communications strategy. Prior to Accenture, Karen worked with RTÉ’s digital marketing team; driving growth - connecting with both national and international audiences. Always working on the cusp of change, Karen worked in the start-up world for four years as a senior producer for one of Ireland’s first TV streaming services. She holds a BSc. in Multimedia from DCU, where she returns to give a guest lecture annually.
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.
Anne-Marie Smith (appointed 2022)
Anne-Marie holds a BSc in Biochemistry from UCD and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, having trained with KPMG, Dublin. She spent 8 years working in the audit sector, predominately in the areas of retail and the arts. For the past twenty five years, Anne-Marie has been working in the area of financial management, holding the position of financial controller for HMV Ireland and Cpl Resources plc. For the last 16 years she has held a senior financial management role within the music industry.