Surviving or Thriving? Panel Exchange 6: Theatre

Panel Exchange 6: Theatre

Thursday 01 April, 10.30am (online)

Chair: Dr Maureen Gaffney

Speakers: Actor & director Aaron Monaghan, costume designer Catherine Fay and theatre maker Louise Lowe.

From Waterford Healing Arts Trust in partnership with the Arts Council.

Part of an online series of panel discussions, workshops and resources seeking to strengthen resilience, restore confidence and promote connectedness across the arts sector.

Click here for info about the entire Surviving or Thriving? programme.
Listen to a recording of this event here:


Our sincere appreciation to our associate organisation Theatre Forum for their support and guidance in curating this Theatre strand together.

About the speakers:

Aaron Monaghan is an award-winning actor and director from Cavan, and is the Artistic Director of Livin’ Dred Theatre Co, which he co-founded. He has performed numerous times with the company in productions such as Emerald Germs and The Tinkers Curse.  Aaron has worked extensively with the Abbey Theatre and Druid Theatre and has performed all over the world in productions such as The Playboy of The Western World, DruidMurphy, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Walworth Farce, Translations, Romeo & Juliet, She Stoops to Conquer and Waiting for Godot. His most recent work includes The Second Violinist and Richard III.  Aaron’s many film and TV appearances include Assassins Creed, Maze, Vikings, The Foreigner, Love/Hate and the award-winning Redemption of A Rogue in which he played the lead role.  His directing credits include Walking the Road, From All Sides, Slice the Thief, Hitting the Mark and the highly-acclaimed Charlie’s A Clepto.  Aaron has received numerous awards for his work, including the Lucille Lortel Award, the Manchester Evening News Award, The Irish Times Irish Theatre Award and an OBIE Award for Outstanding Performance.

Catherine Fay designs costumes for theatre, dance and opera.  She has worked on many productions over the years in a variety of venues nationally and internationally.  Highlights include The Plough and the Stars (Lyric Hammersmith / Abbey Theatre); Owen Wingrave (Opera Bastille, Paris, 2016); Näher… closer, nearer, sooner (Liz Roche Company in association with The Goethe Institute); Orfeo and Euridice (Irish National Opera); Embargo (Fishamble: The New Play Company, Dublin Theatre Festival 2020) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rough Magic, Kilkenny Arts Festival) and Romeo and Juliet (Gate Theatre).  Catherine holds the position of Chair of the Irish Society of Stage and Screen Designers (ISSSD).  She is a graduate of NCAD and is currently studying for her MA in Art in the Contemporary World.

Hailing from the north inner city of Dublin, Louise Lowe makes site specific and immersive art works within communities of space, place and interest, building on a global reputation for creating theatre of excellence.  Since co-founding ANU in 2009, she has created all of the company’s multi-award winning plays to date, including Canaries (Dublin Port Commission), The Party to End all Parties (Commissioned by Dublin Theatre Festival), Faultline (Gate Theatre co-production for Dublin Theatre Festival), The Anvil (Manchester International Festival), The Lost O’Casey (Abbey Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival) – winner of three Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, including best new play – Torch St. Helens UK (Arts Council England, ambition for excellence award), The Sin Eaters (Dublin Theatre Festival), Hentown (Dublin City Council / Winner of Irish Times Irish Theatre Award), These Rooms in collaboration with CoisCeim for London International Festival of Theatre, Now1418, TATE UK and Dublin Theatre Festival, Pals in collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland, Angel Meadow (Winner Best Production and Best Ensemble Awards at Manchester Theatre Awards, Nominated for Best Director Award, UK National Theatre Awards / HOME Manchester) Beautiful Dreamers (Limerick City of Culture), Proclaiming a Republic (National Museum of Ireland), Basin (Winner Irish Times Irish Theatre Award and the multi-award winning Monto Cycle encompassing: World’s End Lane, Laundry, The Boys of Foley Street and Vardo.  Current plays in development for ANU include The Book of Names (ANU / Landmark /Dublin Port commission), Goat Songs, The Windtalker and Outrage (Cork Midsummer Festival).

Outside ANU, Louise has written and directed plays for many Irish and international producers including Landmark Productions, Cork Opera House, the Abbey Theatre, Fishamble, Dublin Fringe Festival, Belltable, Upstate Theatre, Prime Cut, Screen Ireland, The Gate, The Ark and Corcadorca, among others.  Louise is the current recipient of the Virgin Media Discovers Award, and previously was awarded the International Artist Residency at the Robert Wilson Center, New York.  Louise trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London).

Psychologist, writer and broadcaster Dr Maureen Gaffney earned a BA in Psychology from UCC, an MA in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Chicago and a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. She has completed Executive Education Programmes on leadership and governance in the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Chicago Business School and the Kellogg School of Management. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and served on its Executive Committee.

Dr Gaffney brings the latest research and thinking on emotional intelligence, resilience, and transformational leadership to her work with companies.  She has worked with a wide range of organisations, including Intel (Ireland and the US), Boston Scientific, Amazon, Google, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, as well as major professional service companies and the educational sector in Australia.

She is a much sought-after speaker and has addressed businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US, Sweden, Germany and Spain. Dr Gaffney is a highly experienced chairperson and moderator in both the public and private sector including Executive Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum, Chair of the National Monitoring Committee of the Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development and Chair of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland Council for three years. She was a Board member of the HSE and has extensive experience of the health sector. She has retained a long-term interest in the legal sector since her ten year tenure as Law Reform Commissioner.  She has worked in many other sectors of Irish life – as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Society in University College Dublin and she served on the board of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute.

A follow up workshop with Chartered Psychologist and musician Louize Carroll entitled ‘Working in the Arts: How to live on the edge of chaos‘ for people working in theatre takes place on Thurs 1 April at 12.30pm. More details here.