Axis Assemble Artists 2021
Axis Ballymun is delighted to announce twenty nine artists who will be developing new work and ideas with Axis in 2021 via the Axis Assemble Artist Support Programme.
We are honoured that Luke Casserly, Grace Collender, Lesley Conroy, Gemma Creagh, Letizia Delmastro, Pea Dinneen, Jessie Doyle, Betty Duffy, Maria Francis, Jack Gavin, Esosa Ighodaro, Úna Kavanagh, Sinéad Keegan, Lewis Magee, Christina Matthews, Nessa Matthews, Liam McCarthy, Seirce Mhac Conghail, Chinedum Muotto, Niamh Murphy, Fiona O'Brien, Diane O'Connor, Colm Ó Foghlú, Aisling O'Mara, Hannah O'Reilly, Stephen Quinn, Megan Riordan, Caterina Schembri & Martin Warde will be supported as they develop their respective scripts, ideas and programmes of engagement. Each artist will receive support and mentorship from the axis.
Over the years, Axis has offered resources and production support to a range of artists, becoming a cultural hub on the Northside of Dublin and a space where artists and the public gather to encounter new work and new ideas. Since 2004 we have worked to develop and produce new writing (and theatre making) locally, nationally and internationally, while also facilitating the growth of hundreds of artists through our many programmes and initiatives, including the Axis Assemble support scheme. The 2021 Axis Assemble programme aims to create opportunities for artists to explore and develop new ideas through: financial support, development space, dramaturgical guidance, participation in green arts initiatives and engagement with fellow artists.
Speaking about the artist resource programme, Niamh NiChonchubhair Axis’ Interim Director said: “We’re thrilled to be hosting such a talented, fascinating and diverse cohort of artists in Axis this year as they develop their ideas and practice via Axis Assemble. We’re especially excited to be working with some artists for the first time as well as with those whose practice we have admired and encountered over the years.”
Aoife Spillane-Hinks, Axis’ Pop Up Lit Dep Lead Artist added; “I am delighted to be supporting these 29 artists as they develop their own creative processes. Each individual relationship that I have with an artist will be different, each with its own needs and possibilities; I keenly look forward to what we will discover. I also look forward to them creating a nurturing community of colleagues with one another, and harnessing that collective power and potential.”
Full artist biogs can be read below.
Luke is a theatre-maker from Longford, based in Dublin. His work to date has brought audiences on the DART to explore our national relationship with the material of plastic through sound (Mould Into Shape, 2019); sparked a national conversation around Ireland's biodiversity decline through planting a network of wildflower meadows across Ireland (1000 Miniature Meadows, 2020); and documented the passing of time on a Midlands bog for an online audience over 6 days (Live Bog Project, 2020). Luke is a Resident Artist at FringeLAB along with his collaborator Shanna May Breen, and is Associate Director of PAN PAN Theatre Company.
Grace is an actor and writer. Her recent acting work includes productions with The Abbey Theatre, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, BBC and Screen Ireland. Grace’s tiny play, The New Friday, was recently shortlisted for Fishamble/ESB’s Tiny Plays For a Brighter Future initiative, and she just finished performing her one-woman play, It Was All For Nothing, at Scripts Playwriting Festival 2021. Grace will develop her new play, SQUEEZE, during her time as an Axis Assemble associate artist
Lesley Conroy is an IFTA award nominated actor, with 25 years' experience on stage and screen. She has worked with The Abbey, Corcadorca, Loose Canon, Fíbín & Decadent Theatre among others. Her monologue CLEANER was the 2020 Scripts Ireland Competition winner and was awarded a DGTF Diversity Short Play Bursary. It has been adapted for screen with support and mentorship from Screen Ireland/Bow Street's Actor as Creator award.
In association with the 2021 Cork Midsummer’s festival, as the Jane Anne Rothwell award winner she wrote, produced and co-directed MY CONNECTION IS UNSTABLE with development support from Aoife Spillane-Hinks, Stewart Roche, Jed Murray and Adam O’Keeffe (co-director). Her time as associate artist with The Corps Ensemble & Axis in 2020/21 allowed her to focus on developing creative material on the themes of domesticity and motherhood.
She has been supported by the Arts Council through their Professional Development Award (2020) & Agility award (2021) and was a participant on Javier Daulte’s playwriting masterclass supported by ITI. As a member of MAM Ireland’s steering committee and Theatre Forum's artist working group, Lesley advocates for diversity & inclusion in Irish Theatre and Screen, and improved representation and support for parenting artists.
Gemma Creagh is a writer, filmmaker and journalist.Born in Cork, She currently lives in Dublin, and has studied in Belfast and in Galway. In 2014 she graduated with a First from NUIG’s MA Writing programme. Gemma’s play Spoiling Sunset was staged in Galway as part of the Jerome Hynes One Act Play series in 2014. Gemma was one of eight playwrights selected for AboutFACE’s 2021 Transatlantic Tales. Gemma was the writer and co-producer of the five-part comedy Rental Boys for RTÉ’s Storyland.
Since then, she has gone on to write, direct and produce several shorts which screened at festivals around the world. She was commissioned to direct the short film, After You, by Filmbase and Temple Bar Cultural Trust for the Made in Temple Bar Festival. Her script Detour was shortlisted for the 2020 Dun Laoghaire First Frames Scheme and was a finalist in the CinemaStreet Women's Short Screenplay Competition. On other projects, features, advertisements, and TV Shows, Gemma has worked across a number of departments.Gemma has penned articles for magazines, industry websites and national newspapers, she’s the assistant editor for Film Ireland and she contributes reviews to RTE Radio One’s Arena on occasion.
Letizia was born in the picturesque town of Alba, in Italy. At the age of 17 she spent one
year as an exchange student in Norway, where she was so lucky to join a children’s theatre
company which sparked in her a love for all things theatre. After graduating from high
school, she moved to London where she completed the Acting Diploma course at the
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. In Ireland she completed the PTC course with
the Gaiety School of Acting, and has recently graduated from the BA (Hons) in Theatre
Performance in TU Dublin, from which she was awarded a first class honours. Letizia is
now exploring her love for playwriting, and is keen to discover what it has in store for her.
Pea Dinneen is a writer and theatre maker from Dublin. Her debut play White enjoyed a sold-out run at the Dublin Fringe Festival, where she was also part of the artist residency programme. Pea works as a dramaturg and playwriting mentor throughout Ireland with organisations including The Lyric Theatre and Outburst Queer Arts Festival, where she leads the Transforming Stages development programme. Currently, Pea is a Rough Ideas artist with Rough Magic Theatre Company.
Jessie Doyle is a Dublin based theatremaker. Her work includes These Lights as part of Dublin Fringe Festival - which later garnered an award from Community Radio Ireland 2019 as a radioplay. Recently, she has created online theatre work Bird About Town as part of No Touching Theatre Festival, Belfast, and A Customer Calls with Transatlantic Tales from AboutFACE Theatre.
Betty Duffy :
Elizabeth Duffy started her journey with the Dublin Youth Theatre. From there studied Theatre Studies with Colaiste Dhulaigh and full time acting with the Gaiety School of Acting. She has worked as an actress, facilitator, production manager, director within many theatres around the country over the years. She received her Masters as a Drama Therapist in 2016 which has led her to delve into a new way of working when performing, directing, facilitating and now writing!
Maria Francis is a Theatremaker and playwright. Maria is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin were she studied Drama Studies and the History of Art and Architecture.. Her biggest passion is Theatre and live performance, and analyzing the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of her characters.
Jack Gavin is a writer and actor from Glasnevin in Dublin. He trained in dance and movement at the College of Dance before training on the full time course at the Gaiety school of Acting. His debut play ‘Made’ premiered at Scene and Heard Festival in 2019. He has since gone on to develop this into a radio play. Acting credits include ‘Under The Table’ and ‘Lost and Found’ at smock alley theatre. Prosperity (RTE), Little Women (BBC), The Participants (Still films) and A Grand Stretch in the Evening (Met film school, Berlin).
Esosa is an emerging writer. She has been working professionally as an actor since 2014, with roles in film, TV as well as theatre. Through that experience, she has worked on numerous scripts, workshopping, script reading, developing and critiquing. As a writer, Esosa has written numerous short scripts. She secured Screen Ireland funding as part of their Actor as Creator scheme 2020, to turn her script, “Round Boxes” into a short filmic piece. Her short script, “Dear People of No Colour” was commissioned by The Abbey Theatre to be screened in partnership with Home Theatre Manchester in 2021. Esosa created and wrote “Believe”, a ten-part sit-com for Grand Explorer Studios, set to go into production later this year.
Esosa is part of a transatlantic writer’s room, developing a Sci-fi drama series, “Here (For Now)” with Breakthrough Entertainment for a Canadian and Irish coproduction. Esosa has recently been awarded development funding by Screen Ireland for her original TV series, “Homeshare”.
Esosa received a scholarship from Warner Bros. Entertainment to complete her MA in Screenwriting at The National Film School at IADT. Esosa is also an accomplished vocalist. She recorded her debut album You Won’t Believe It in 2018.
Úna Kavanagh holds a B.A. & M.A. from the National College Of Art & Design, Dublin, Ireland. She has worked extensively across disciplines for over 30 years in her native Ireland, UK, America, France, and the Middle East.
Úna is a figurative artist whose work includes sculpture, text, painting, drawing, performance, film, installation, animation, script writing, music composition, Performance Art and Live Art durational performances. Her practice ranges from extensive work in theatre, film, television, and radio to her artistic collaborations.
Úna has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions. Her work is held in private collections both here and the Middle East. She was awarded The Art’s Council Theatre Bursary award 2017 & represented Ireland in “Art by Country” in Abu Dhabi 2014.
She is an award-winning actress and has received international nominations for her work on screen. In 2006 she was nominated for Best Actress at The Rose d"Or Festival for her work on RTE's Fair City. She originated the role of "Heather" in 2003 and has filmed over 500 episodes. She was also storyline writer between 2005-08. In 2009, Úna was nominated alongside Julie Walters, Isabelle Adjani and Kerry Fox for her work in RTE's Bittersweet at The Golden Nymph Awards, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
She was shortlisted for the SKY Arts Ignition award as part of TATSOI (Art/Science Collaboration) and was the 1st Artist in Residence for the inaugural Festival Of Curiosity in 2013. She received The DCC Incubation Award in the same year. She was selected for the Florence Biennale which took place in October 2017. In 2011 & 2015 she won the Best Actress Award at The Underground Film Festival. Úna was awarded The Royal Dublin Society Decorative and Architectural Ceramic 1993 Certificate of Merit and the Associateship of The National College of Art & Design. ANCAD.
She has been a company member and collaborator with the multi-award winning and groundbreaking ANU Productions for over a decade, creating, writing and collaborating on 5 Performance Art works, 14 Live Art Theatre-works & the film "Falling Out of Standing".
In 2011 Úna alongside journalist and playwright Hilary Fannin, created the "Young Playwrights Programme " in association with The Abbey Theatre and Fighting Words. Úna has been a Volunteer since 2009. http://www.unakavanagh.com
Sinéad Keegan is an Actor and Writer from Dublin and graduate of the Full-Time
Professional Acting Training Programme at The Gaiety School of Acting (2019)
where she was awarded the Gaiety Theatre Bursary in 2018. Screen credits
include Fate: The Winx Saga (Netflix) and The Doireann Project (RTÉ). Theatre
credits include ‘The Day of The Zebra’ (Neil Flynn) alongside Stephen Jones and
Kieran Roche at The Glass Mask Theatre. As a writer, Sinead performed her
original piece ‘Miss Placed’ for The Hazel Wood Stage at Electric Picnic 2019. In
2020, Sinéad and her writing partner Síofra Brogan were awarded the DLR
Creative Ireland Bursary by DLR Co. Council and in 2021, received an Arts
Council Agility award to further their work.
Lewis started in the world of theatre as a member of Roundabout Youth Theatre in 2004 and made his debut in the Axis Theatre itself. He moved to TV work and had recurring roles in RTÉ's Fair City, Republic of Telly and Damo & Ivor. He founded Swords Youth Theatre in 2018 and is currently the Artistic Director and facilitator.
Christina Matthews is a facilitator/theatre-maker based between Louth and Dublin. Since graduating from TCD with a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies, she has explored work as a professional collaborator (freelance and with her company Sugarglass) and as a community theatre-maker with groups including the Dublin Shakespeare Festival, Prosper Fingal and Droichead Youth Theatre, for whom she is Artistic Director.
Nessa Mathews is an actor, writer and director based in Dublin/Louth. She is a graduate of UCD, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
As an actor, most recent credits include INFINITY (Dublin Fringe 2018, First Fortnight 2019, VAULT Festival 2019), ‘Speak Softly, Go Far’ (Hannah Mamalis, Dublin Fringe 2021, Abbey Theatre), ‘Will I See You There?’ by Murmuration (Dublin Fringe 2020), Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Rough Magic), Shrouded (in development with Bewley’s Cafe Theatre), The Roaring Banshees (Devious Theatre), Hostel 16 (Raymond Keane), Phillip Pullman’s Grimm Tales (Philip Wilson, Bargehouse London), The Snow Queen (Smock Alley), Tactic (Sickle Moon Productions), The Playboy Variations (Sara Joyce), Foxfinder (The Lir), Bob & Judy, Macbeth, Dracula, Ashes to Ashes (all with Fast Intent). Film & TV credits include: Fair City (RTE), Inspector Jury (ZDF Productions) and Hen (Janna Kemperman).
As a writer & maker, she most recently wrote and performed in INFINITY (co-created with Eoghan Carrick in association with Corn Exchange with the support of Culture Ireland) which won the Best Design & First Fortnight Award at Dublin Fringe Festival 2018. She was also nominated for Best Performer.
She was also a founding member of Fast Intent who had their residency at Theatre Upstairs in 2015 where her debut play ‘Way Beyond the Blue’ was performed.
As a director, she is currently developing MADE FROM PAPER with writer Clodagh Mooney Duggan, with the support of DTF Futures Scheme and the Arts Council in association with O’Reilly Theatre. It will be staged in 2022. Other directing credits include: Arachnophilia (Associate Director, The New Theatre) and Cold Readers (Smock Alley).
She is a founding member of foldable theatre company. She is represented by Feast Management UK.
Liam is a writer and drama facilitator. He has worked, in various capacities, for several theatre companies and festivals in Ireland and abroad. His play “Mam and Love and Woo” was recently awarded the Wilde Irish Writer Bursary at Dublin Fringe Festival 2020. As a playwright, he has participated in Druid Theatre’s FUEL programme, Corcadorca’s SHOW festival, Brighton Fringe’s WINDOW project, and “Words, Words, Words” at The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Liam previously worked as Engagement and Participation Coordinator at The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, supporting The Ark team to deliver inclusive and participatory arts experiences to children. He is currently Artist in Residence at Belltable, Limerick. He studied Drama and English at Trinity College, Dublin and at UC Berkeley, California.
Seirce Mhac Conghail:
Is mac léinn iad Seirce Mhac Conghail, ag staidéir Béarla agus Gaeilge i gColáiste na Tríonóide. Scríobhann siad idir fhilíocht agus prós, chomh maith le haistriúcháin liteartha a dhéanamh. Tá a gcuid scríobhnóireachta foilsithe i New Critique, The Phare, agus Trinity Journal of literary Translation, i measc cinn eile.
Chinedum Muotto makes art, this art comes in different forms. Chinedum likes to have fun, fun too comes in different forms. Chinedum likes to think, with the hope that his thoughts once materialized also make you smile. He is self-taught and hard working, with recent commissions by CFCP.ie and most recently Artist in Residence at IMMA.
Niamh is an actor, writer, and maker from Wexford, based in Dublin. She was most recently seen in her debut play, CASH POINT MEET, at Edinburgh Fringe Festival Online. Prior to this, she starred in TESS, a one woman show as part of Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, and DRAGON, a new musical by Fizz and Chips Theatre Company at Galway Theatre Festival. She’s currently participating in You, Fin, and The Play Between, a playwriting mentorship with Baboró, Graffiti Theatre Co.
Fiona O'Brien is a Dublin based Artist. Her art practice is a combination of an exploration of film, photography and sound but also has an interest in other disciplines of art including painting, sculpture and digital art. She’s not just limited to one specific area.
Diane O'Connor is a Stand-Up Comedian, Writer and Drama Facilitator based in North Dublin. Diane wrote and performed Breastfeeding Alfresco in 2017 which she toured around Ireland selling out numerous times. She has written for Hot Press and Headspace while also featuring on RTE Lyric FM & BBC Radio Northern Ireland. She is also a Climate Activist who loves combining her passion for the environment and the arts to create, educate and entertain which has led her to work with Creative Schools, An Táisce and Arts in Education Portal. Diane is one half of the social enterprise The Sustainable Life School
Colm O’ Foghlú:
Composer, director, writer and producer, Colm has toured extensively throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and North America. A former Musical Director for Riverdance, he has composed, arranged and produced numerous award-winning shows and albums.
Premieres of his operas Eoghainín na nÉan and Íosagan, based on stories by P.H. Pearse, took place at Axis, Dublin which he directed and also created the animated imagery. Colm also created the original arrangements and orchestrations for the critically acclaimed Angela's Ashes: The Musical (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, London and New York).
As a co-director of Ember Productions he created a range of critically acclaimed performances including Stones, Bones and Beckett in the Fourknocks Neolithic Passage Tomb in Meath, Frozen Music in St. Mary’s Medieval Abbey in Dublin and Scoring the Stone, a commission from the World Archaeological Congress, Dublin 2008. Other commissions include Irish Thunder & Celtic Fyre (Busch Gardens), Aifreann na nAingeal/Mass of the Angels (RTÉ), The Star of Bethlehem: A Christmas Oratorio (BAI/RTÉ) and Inscribed, a musical collaboration with poet Eavan Boland (Poetry Ireland).
In addition to his work as a composer/producer, he wrote & directed his award-winning first short film Suanscéal and also presented/arranged and was music producer on an eight-part TV series Pitch Perfect for TG4 and Good Company Productions. He also contributed scripts and composed music for RTÉ’s new series Tír na nÓg.
Colm is also a graduate of UCD, holding an M.A. in Drama and Performance Studies and recently graduated from DCU, St. Patrick’s College with a Professional Masters in Education where he was Artist-in-Residence 2019-2021.
Aisling graduated from the LIR Academy with First Class Honours in 2015. Theatre Credits include: Next Please (Bewley’s Café Theatre) SHIT (THISISPOPBABY , Were We Will Festival, Projects Arts Centre) The First Pegeen (Bewley’s Cafe Theatre)In Our Veins (The Abbey Theatre)We Can’t Have Monkeys In The House (The Peacock Theatre), The Grimm Tale Of Cinderella (Smock Alley), Nothing But A Toerag By Aisling O’Mara (Smock Alley, Bewley’s Cafe
Theatre ), Fierce Notions (Dublin Fringe Festival Judges Choice Award Winner),
Monster? (Theatre Upstairs), Wall (Abbey Theatre), Murder of Crows
(Theatre Upstairs, National Tour), Hostel 16 (DFF 2016), Beyond Barricades (ANU),
Hornet's Nest (ANU), Into The Sun (ANU), Rebel Rebel (ANU: Ireland/UK/New York), Contractions (Bewley’s Cafe Theatre). Aisling is the winner of the Jim Mc Naughton Tile Style Bursary Award 2018 in association with Business to Arts. Next Generation Arts Council recipient 2020.
Aisling is currently one of the Six in the Attic with Irish Theatre Institute 2021.
Film and Television credits include: Tinderface (Short), Full Circle (Short), Rosie
(Element Pictures) ,Taken Down (RTÉ) Metal Heart (Treasure Entertainment). Cold Courage (Lion Gate) Redemption of a Rouge (Pale Rebel, Winner of Best Film, Best New Feature Galway Film Fleadh 2020) The Colour Between (Short) Ghostlight (Taken production’s) CAVE (Banjoman)
Hannah O’Reilly is a Theatre maker, performer, and visual artist. Her work strives to create highly visual, atmospheric, grounded pieces that thus far, have invited audiences to explore Irish folklore, family, and feminism.
Hannah is the founder of ThereisBear! Theatre, with whom she has toured the country, and since moving to Dublin, she has toured internationally performing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and worked with Brokentalkers, Rough Magic, and Dead Centre. She was chosen as one of ten participants for The Abbey’s inaugural Writer’s Workshop in 2019, and has staged work with Scene and Heard, and Theatre Machine Turns You On, Vol. V. Her most recent work includes devising and performing in the bilingual Scáth an tSumaire/ The Shadow of Carmilla with ThereisBear! Theatre, and An Triail with The Abbey's Unseen Plays programme.
Stephen Quinn is an award-winning theatre and performance maker, whose work explores Irish queer identity through a kaleidoscope of music theatre; drag; burlesque, physical theatre, and alternative cabaret. Recent credits include "Shame // Less" (GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, 2021); Anu Productions "Faultline" (DTF, 2019); "Overfired" (winner of the Outburst Queer Fringe Award at Dublin Fringe, 2018), MacArthur Fellow Taylor Mac's "A 24 Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act" (LIFT 2018, Barbican Theatre) and Zoe Ni Riordan’s "Recovery" at Project Arts Centre (2016/17; winner of the Romilly Masters Performance Award from the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, 2017). Stephen is also the co-creative director/host of the highly acclaimed, Dublin-based queer performance event SPICEBAG, where he perform as his alter ego: Stefan Fae.
Megan Riordan is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (BFA with Honours in Theatre; University Scholar) and of Trinity College Dublin (M.Phil in Irish Theatre and Film).
Megan has worked as a performer, theatremaker, musician, writer, director, and producer throughout Ireland and numerous locations abroad. She is co-founder and artistic director of Making Strange Theatre Company, whose work to date has toured the world and earned two Fringe awards and two Irish Times Theatre Awards nominations; she has served in some capacity as a writer or deviser on all the company’s original shows as well as a performer in all shows but one.
Performing highlights include the lead role of Girl in Once: The Musical (Landmark Productions, Dublin and International Tour); RIOT (Thisispopbaby); originating the role of Liza Field in Donegal by Frank McGuinness (Abbey Theatre); working with Collapsing Horse and Dead Cat Bounce on multiple productions each; co-starring in the multiple IFTA-winning An Klondike (TG4); and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and her solo autobiographical pieces (all Making Strange). Her most recent theatrical creation was It’s Not About Love, a cabaret show interrogating the cultural legacy of Romeo and Juliet.
Caterina Schembri (b. 1993) is an Italian-Colombian composer, orchestrator, and producer who specializes in interdisciplinary music. Her music has been successful on the screen, featuring in a number of films from diverse genres and origins including the UK, Spain, Colombia, USA, Greece, Ireland and Costa Rica.
Caterina has a strong presence on the stage having her music performed in numerous venues of her native country. She has a particular talent working with life ensembles, having recorded her music with top-class musicians in state of the art recording studios from different parts of Europe. Caterina has also worked as Orchestrator and in the score preparation department for TV and Film productions in Ireland, Malaysia and Korea. In December 2018 she became one of the founding members of Sonic Gate Studios, an international collective of sound artists working in music and sound for multimedia. In 2021 she was awarded a place in the prestigious Alliance for Women Film Composers Mentorship program under the guidance of Lolita Ritmanis who mentored her for a period of six months. Caterina is very active in the music scene of Ireland working in music production with some of the main cultural organizations of the country including the record label Ergodos, the Irish National Opera and Kaleidoscope Night. She’s currently based in Dublin working on different projects as a composer, orchestrator and producer.
Mairtín Mac an Bhaird is better known as Martin Beanz Warde, and is a Stand up comedian, writer, Theatre actor, Podcaster, and social commentator from the Irish Traveller community. He started his stand up career in 2005, and has since gone on to perform across Ireland in every major venue. Mairtín has also performed in Electric Picnic, Altogether now and is the creator of ShamAlive, Tuam’s first comedy festival. Aside from performing, Mairtin is an advocate for human rights, fairness, equity, and inclusion. Mairtin is currently writing the finishing touches to his first one person play, which will be performed as a work in progress show at the Dublin theatre festival, He is also due to start his MA in journalism in UL.