Surviving or Thriving? Supporting wellbeing in the arts sector: Theatre

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An online series from Waterford Healing Arts Trust in partnership with the Arts Council seeking to promote wellbeing in the arts sector.

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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.

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

Adm free but booking essential. Book your place for the Theatre Strand on this page.

See below for info about the entire Surviving or Thriving? programme.

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 of 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).

Scroll down or click here for more info on Surviving or Thriving?

WORKSHOP: A follow up workshop with Louize Carroll, Chartered Physiotherapist and musician, entitled ‘Working in the Arts: How to live on the edge of chaos’, takes place on Thursday 01 April at 12.30pm. More details here

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

Surviving or Thriving? Arts Council and Waterford Healing Arts Trust announce innovative online series to support the wellbeing of the arts sector in Ireland

The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon and Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) have announced details of an innovative new online series designed to support the wellbeing of arts professionals in Ireland, with particular relevance to the present Covid-19 pandemic. Entitled Surviving or Thriving?, the series of panel discussions, workshops and podcasts, which is open to all those working in the arts in Ireland and is free of charge, aims to strengthen resilience, restore confidence and promote connectedness across the arts sector. The programme features panel exchanges chaired by psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney, with guest speakers from a range of art forms, including writer Anne Enright, musician Eleanor McEvoy and artist Austin Ivers, in addition to follow-up workshops and online resources exploring self-care and wellbeing. Surviving or Thriving? takes place over three weeks from 15 March to 01 April 2021, with podcasts and other online resources available ongoing. Admission is free, but booking is required. Further details and booking links for all events from and

Surviving or Thriving? has been developed in response to the cessation of arts activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 has had a profound professional and personal impact on artists and arts workers, with major structural impacts for organisations. Artists and arts workers from across the arts sector in Ireland provided a myriad of real-life examples of the effect the pandemic has had on their wellbeing to the Arts Council for its report Survive Adapt Renew. Among its recommendations the report included commitments to building resilience, inclusion and sustainability in the sector as it faces into the future.

Each element of Surviving or Thriving? seeks to inspire and support, while acknowledging current challenges and realities. Recognising the need to break through the saturation of online events available and to offer real value to the target audience of arts professionals, WHAT has been liaising with national and regional art form and development organisations who have offered their expertise and guidance in developing the programme and putting together a high calibre line up of speakers. These organisations include Music Network, Visual Artists Ireland, Theatre Forum, Words Ireland, Create, Age and Opportunity, Minding Creative Minds and Dance Limerick.

Speaking at the announcement of details, Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, said: “These past 12 months have been extraordinarily difficult for people across the arts landscape. Alongside their own cares and concerns for family and friends, they have been dealing with the shocking cessation of activity and the resulting loss of income. We continue to support individuals and organisations through various schemes and initiatives, and we hope that this new programme with WHAT will provide further vital support to this brilliant profession.”

Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, added “Waterford Healing Arts Trust is very pleased to be working with the Arts Council on this important initiative to support the wellbeing of arts professionals in Ireland. The overwhelmingly positive response we have received over the course of planning Surviving or Thriving? indicates the need that exists for this type of support. We are extremely grateful to all of the associate organisations who have so generously worked closely with us to present a strong programme which participants can engage with at different levels and which, we hope, will not only lift spirits but will nourish and encourage artists and arts workers to restore their confidence, foster their resilience and fall in love with their creativity all over again.”

About the Arts Council: The Arts Council /An Comhairle Ealaíon is the Irish government agency for developing the arts. We work in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life. We provide financial assistance to artists, arts organisations, local authorities and others for artistic purposes. We offer assistance and information on the arts to government and to a wide range of individuals and organisations. As an advocate for the arts and artists, we undertake projects and research, often in new and emerging areas of practice, and increasingly in cooperation with partner organisations.

About Waterford Healing Arts Trust: Established in 1993, Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is based at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and brings arts experiences – music, creative writing, painting – to the bedsides of patients at the hospital and other healthcare settings in the community. WHAT believes that exposure to the arts softens the clinical environment and reduces anxiety and stress for patients, families and staff. WHAT believes the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society as a whole, including within healthcare settings, and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity. WHAT is a leader in the national development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the highly regarded resource website

The organisation operates from the WHAT Centre for Arts and Health, the first of its kind in Ireland, on the grounds of UHW, enabling the org anisation to bridge its work between the acute hospital setting and the wider community. WHAT is a registered charity and is core funded by the Arts Council, HSE and Department of Social Protection. Additional funding is provided by Waterford City and County Council, Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, the Ireland Funds and the National Lottery. WHAT raises additional funding through sponsorship and fundraising initiatives.


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