'You, Fin and the Play Between' Participants Announced

The final ten participants for You, Fin and the Play Between have been selected! Following a both difficult and inspiring application process wherein over ninety exceptional submissions were considered, this new playwriting programme, in collaboration with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, Graffiti Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland, will see participants work closely with world-renowned playwright for young audiences Finegan Kruckemeyer to create their own unique, original pieces of theatre for young audiences.

The successful applicants are: Mark Ball, Diane Crotty, Alexandra Gogan, Shiva R Joyce, Bob Kelly, Mary-Lou McCarthy, Niamh Murphy, Miriam Needham, Jody O’Neill and Julie Sharkey.

All ten participants will attend virtual mentoring sessions and creative workshops with Fin over the next six months, developing their pieces and exploring their passion for theatre for young audiences.

Meet the Participants

Mark Ball

Mark Ball is a queer facilitator and theatre-maker (directing, devising, writing and performing) and is Super Paua’s Engagement Director (www.superpaua.org).

Recent credits: Scéalta Super Paua, Sraith 2, i gcomhoibriú le axis: Ballymun, 2020 (director, producer & dramaturg with Ursula McGinn); Super Paua Stories, Series 1, 2020 (director/producer/dramaturg); The Lonsdale Project, Riverbank Arts Centre, 2020 (delivered workshops on science, art, creativity and politics for 400+ children for Science Week, created engagement website, directed short film, co-curated interactive exhibition); Evil is… devised with NPAS, The Lir, 2020 (writer, director, deviser); Best Before, devised with Dublin Youth Theatre, Teachers’ Club, 2020 (writer, director, deviser); home/sick, Samuel Beckett Theatre, 2019 (director/deviser/writer); 24 Hour Plays, 2016 & 2019 (Assistant Director); RISING, Abbey Theatre, 2016 (Assistant Director).

Mark has facilitated workshops and co-created theatre with places like Science Gallery Dublin, Cabinteely Youth Theatre, Abbey Theatre, and the Ark. Awards and Bursaries include: Riverbank Arts Centre’s MOMENTUM 2020 award to develop a theatre/hula-hoop show for teenagers exploring the history of women’s bodies and sexuality; Baboró’s GROW Mentorship in 2019; Young People, Children & Education bursary from Arts Council in 2019 to deepen the complementary practices of facilitation and theatre-making through practical and writing mentorship with Veronica Coburn.

Diane Crotty

Diane Crotty is a Dublin-based playwright, dramaturg, director and performer. Her writing credits include Gig Nua (Superpaua Scealai, 2020), SALTBORN (Mercury Theatre Monologue winner, 2020), Folsom (Tiny Play For Ireland winner, 2020), RISK (2016 Dublin Fringe), Absolute Beginners (New Theatre, 2017), Spandex Blues (Smock Alley, 2016), Dragonscales (Smock Alley Collaborations, 2015) and A Very Zombie Fairytale (The Exchange 2012, revived 2013). Her directing credits include BASH (Out of Time Theatre, 2018), RISK, A Very Zombie Fairytale, Shadowskin (Siteation, 2012) and Measure for Measure (La Cathedral Studios, 2011).

She was the recipient of the 2018 Axis Bursary to develop her neurodiverse children’s show, The Silent-Hearted Princess.

As a dramaturg she has worked with companies as diverse as Superpaua and Game Theory. She is a graduate of both TCD and UCD, and a member of TYA Ireland. She has trained with Theatre Lovett (Teddy Talks 2020, Actor Training 2018), Fishamble Theatre (Playwriting Fellowship co-produced through Belltable Limerick, 2016), Dante or Die (masterclass co-produced through Belltable Limerick, 2017) and Cardboard Citizens (London, 2012).

Alexandra Gogan

The first story Alexandra Gogan was ever told was about the fall of communism. Specifically, how they were changing her diaper on the dining-room table as the crowds celebrated Ceausescu's execution.

So, she started life with a bang.

She’s half gypsy, half Romanian. She says she got her fair skin from her mother, the nose, ears and love of stories from her father.

She left her loud, musical and chaotic house at 18 to study Theater.

She’s been a face-painter, a nanny, a kids entertainer, a club promoter by night, a children’s theatre actor by day. She asked for donations on the streets of Harlem New York - or as she likes to call it: “professional begging in exchange for lunch money and life lessons”.

After University, she and her friend started their own little theatre company.

They adapted stories, painted props, sewed dolls, acted, directed, scheduled shows and carried sets in heavy suitcases to all venues that would have them. The only thing they didn’t do was the math.

Currently: part-time cheesemonger, writer and aspiring comedian.

Some of her favorite things: Gus Gordon's “Herman and Rosie”, the sky seen from underneath big trees, “Mary and Max”, funny, vulnerable people, all things cheese.

Shiva R Joyce

Shiva R Joyce is an Irish Writer and Printmaker who hails from the Antipodes. She is Features Editor for GoodDayCork, the only publication in Cork focused on amplifying the voices of writers from minority backgrounds and stories from the community that are not represented in mainstream media – including young people of all backgrounds. It is also the only publication space in Ireland, founded and run by BrownSkinGals, with multilingual features embedded as standard.

She is on the Board of Directors of NASC Immigrant Support Services working to see an end to the segregated detention of Asylum seekers in Irish Direct Provision; studying Creative Writing at Oxford University and developing her Lino Printmaking skills with Cork Printmakers. Her core project currently is ‘Talanoa,’ a poetry and print anthology about intersectional and ethno-ecological realities and displacement, from an Islander perspective.

All this cannot occupy a mind like hers fully, so she reads copiously or scripts and develops mini- stop-motion animations for her nieces and nephews abroad involving things like: origami rabbits conquering paper clouds; merwinged creatures on amphibious adventures or compostable puppets known as ‘Little things’ that hide in your garden in the hope you won’t step on them…which she sometimes shares with the wider world.

Bob Kelly

Bob Kelly is an Irish actor and theatre-maker. In 2020 he shared the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Ensemble, was selected for ITI’s Six in the Attic Scheme, and for the Screen Skills Actor as Creator Scheme. Lecoq-trained, he has performed at The Louvre, The Royal Ballet School, Paris' Theatre13, Cagliari's Theatro Massimo and the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street. He has worked on the Irish stagings of two John Tiffaney productions; Once: The Musical, and Let The Right One In at the Abbey. In 2019 Tintown - his one-man-show on IRA internment - was toured by Blue Raincoat, for whom he has played a number of lead roles. Nominated for the Irish Times Best Supporting Actor in 2012 for The Poor Mouth, he has played lead roles in both French (L’Ecrivain Public) and Italian (Cabaret Emotivo).

He has written for Landmark Productions (Breakfast on Pluto), for Blue Raincoat (Tintown, The Rallying Call) and for the Hawk’s Well Theatre (The Big Wall), where he was Artist in Residence 2016-18. In 2013 his adaptation of Jeff Vandeer’s Dradin, in Love was featured in the US publication The Steampunk User’s Manual: An Illustrated Practical and Whimsical Guide to Creating Retro-Futurist Dreams.

Mary-Lou McCarthy

Photo by Ros Kavanagh
Photo by Ros Kavanagh

Mary-Lou McCarthy is an Irish actor, writer and theatre-maker working across multiple disciplines including theatre, film, television and radio. She is a fluent English and Irish speaker and works in both languages.

As an actor, she has toured nationally and internationally with her stage work in Ireland, Europe, Russia and the U.S. Work for young audiences includes BigKidLittleKid (Anna Newell), Bees! A Musical (The Ark/Wilfredd), Me, Mollser (Abbey Theatre), and The Foolhardy Three (Curious State/Spraoi).

She has co-devised plays and created site-specific promenade work for adults, and written and performed comedy sketches for RTÉ Radio One. In 2018, she participated in PUSH, a residential lab exploring the theme of migration and the advancement of new ideas in theatre-making and dance for young audiences. In 2019, she was artist in residence at Le Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris developing a new play for young audiences. In 2020, she was commissioned by The Civic theatre to write this play: “The Dead Letter Office.”

Mary-Lou is a committee member of Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland, and is passionate about creating and promoting innovative work for young people in Ireland and abroad.

Niamh Murphy

Niamh Murphy is an actor, writer, and maker from Wexford, now based in Dublin. As an actor, she was most recently seen in DRAGON, a new musical by Fizz and Chips Theatre Company in The New Theatre. In February 2020, she presented her debut play, CASH POINT MEET in Smock Alley’s Scene and Heard Festival. Prior to this she participated in Kino Guarimba, a filmmaking festival in Southern Italy, where she wrote, directed, and performed in two short films.

Last year she graduated from The Lir Academy’s Diploma in Acting and Theatre, as well as training on a Professional Mentorship programme with Gavin Kostick and Danielle Galligan. She recently finished ARTiculate, a national playwriting project with Youth Theatre Ireland, and is a member Dublin Theatre Festival’s Active Spectator’s Group.

Niamh has a particular interest in working with young people. From 2016-2018 Niamh was on tour with Pickles by EITC, a Theatre-In-Education company based in France and Belgium. She worked as a Drama and English teacher in summer camps in Italy and Austria, as well as leading Drama workshops for Action Arts in Wicklow, and CWYT in Wexford. She believes that art is a necessary part of education and should be accessible to all.

Miriam Needham

Miriam Needham is a writer, performer, and theatre-maker based in Sligo. She studied at École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq (2012-2014).

She has worked with Branar Theatre Company (Mise 2010 – 2012, Bláth 2015, Tiny Shows 2020) and Pickles Theatre Company (The Job of Your Dreams 2010). From 2016 – 2019, she volunteered extensively as a clown and facilitator with children’s charity The Flying Seagull Project.

Her past writing work includes comedy sketches with Irish language theatre group Mumbro Top, which were performed at Culture Night, Electric Picnic, and Oireachtas na Gaeilge. She has also presented various short plays and works-in-progress at festivals. Her first full-length play, Compostela, premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2019.

In 2020, she wrote two short pieces for the Hawk’s Well Theatre’s online initiatives Come Together and 12 Days of Christmas. She also wrote a short audio story for children, Lara ar Strae, as part of Super Paua Stories. On TG4, she can be heard as the voice of Dot in DOT, as Owelette in PJ Masks, and as various roles in Mya Go and Adventure Time. Before the pandemic, she taught yoga in primary and secondary schools with Óga Yoga, and she misses it terribly.

Jody O'Neill

Jody O’Neill is an award-winning autistic writer and performer with over 20 years’ experience working in the theatre, film and TV sector in Ireland and internationally.

Her critically-acclaimed play, What I (Don’t) Know About Autism, premiered in 2020 in co-production with the Abbey Theatre, and in association with The Everyman (Cork) and Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre. It will return to the stage in late 2021 for live and internationally streamed performances.

Funded by Dublin Theatre Festival’s Future’s project, she is currently developing a project called Seaside Conversations, working with disability service users to explore their experiences of the pandemic. With support from the Arts Council, she is researching and developing a new play about female autism. She is also working on commissions for new plays from Youth Theatre Ireland and Mermaid.

In 2019, Jody received a Judges’ Commendation at the UK Bruntwood Awards for her play, Ballybaile. She was also shortlisted for the PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Award.

Writing for young audiences includes Scrapefoot (ANU Productions/The Ark); Walking Man (Graffiti); Cocooned (Graffiti).

She lives in Wicklow with her partner and son.

Julie Sharkey

Julie Sharkey is an actor, drama facilitator and wannabe writer! Originally from Ballaghaderreen in Co. Roscommon. She trained at the Gaiety School of Acting full time course. She also holds a Dip in Drama in Education and an MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from UCC. She has extensive experience as actor and drama facilitator.

Recent theatre credits include (just before lockdown no. 1) Alice and the Wolf by Tom Swift for Barnstorm Theatre in Kilkenny, Miss Happinness and Miss Flower for Brokencrow and Midsummer Festival Cork.

During Level three last October 2020 and now based in her home town Julie directed and produced a drive-in reading of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Working with a community cast the reading took place on a curtain side trailer. The audience parked up and tuned in on their car radios.

As drama facilitator Julie has worked primarily in the area of Arts and Health working with the HSE, Daughters of Charity and St. Michael’s House.

She is currently involved in the Artist in School and Creative Schools programmes. And finally as the wannabe writer… Julie is currently collaborating with actor/director Mikel Murfi on her new children’s play An Ant Called Amy which will have a virtual premiere as part of Cruinniú na nÓg 2021.

Meet the Facilitator

Finegan Kruckemeyer was born in Ireland and is now based in Australia. The award-winning writer has had one hundred plays commissioned, which have been performed on six continents and translated into eight languages. A winner of seven Australian Writers Guild Awards and the Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award for international Theatre for Young Audiences, he is committed to making strong and respectful work for young people.