The Maven’s Programme   1st Feb - 30th Aug 2022



We are delighted to be running  a new playwright professional development programme providing career support for female identifying writers aged 35+. In a small peer group the writers are  exploring, through reading and discussion, representation of older female characters on stage with dramaturg Pamela McQueen.  The programme received a high number of applicants, all of a very strong calibre.  The four writers awarded places  were:  Ciara Elizabeth Smyth,  Dee Roycroft, Elizabeth Moynihan and Lesley Conroy






Ciara Elizabeth Smyth-  an award-winning writer for stage and screen. Her plays have been presented by the Abbey Theatre, Fishamble, Dublin Fringe, the MAC Theatre, Project Arts Centre and Bewley’s Café Theatre. Currently, Ciara is on commission to adapt her debut play, All honey, (Fishamble New Writing Award 2017) and her 2019 play SAUCE for television, with Buccaneer Media and Maia Pictures, respectively. She is also on commission with Chapter One Pictures for a television project and supported by Summerhall, Edinburgh and mentored by Enda Walsh to write a new play. Ciara was a recipient of the Next Generation Award 2020, the Lyric Theatre’s Live to Digital Commission 2021 and the Abbey Theatre’s Commemoration Bursary 2021. Ciara is represented by Curtis Brown.

Dee Roycroft is  returning to playwriting following nearly a decade of work in the film and television industry as a writer, script editor and creator. She has written for children’s television porgrams  Jessy and Nessy, Mythical Heroes, Berry Bees, Blasts from the Past,  Ollie & The Body Brothers. Dee wrote and directed Mr. Wall a 10-part radio drama series for pre-school for RTÉjr. Funded by BAI and supported by RTÉ. (Nominated for IMRO award for Drama, 2018.) Dee was shortlisted for RTÉ’s 2019 Francis McManus Short Story competition with ‘Toby, Toby, Toby’. Shemwas a recipient of the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire’s Gallery Space Award, 2019. Dee was a particpant on Irish Theatre Institute’s Accelerator programme with Javier Daulte in 2021. She has  recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing and is working on her first book. Originally an actor Dee was a member of award-winning Loose Canon Theatre Company. Performances include The Seagull, Phaedra’s Love, The Maids, Duchess of Malfi, and Macbeth. Also Not I for Bedrock Productions, Julius Caesar, Comedy of Errors, Brothers and Sisters, At-Swim-Two-Birds at the Abbey/Peacock Theatres, Amanda Coogan’s Yellow at both Dublin Theatre Festival and Dublin Film Festival, and Singlehood by Una McKevitt.

Elizabeth Moynihan-  is a multi-award winning playwright who has just written her first novel. Her play Cider Queens debuted as a radio drama winning the Writers Guild of Ireland’s award for best radio drama.  Her play Tic followed, produced by Tall Tales Theatre Company. Published by Liberty Press 2007. The screen play “A Life Out Loud’ will be directed by Marion Comer (48 Angels, Boxed) 2022. Her play ‘Walnuts remind me of my mother’, was nominated at the Absolute festival awards 2009. The following year ‘Slaughterhouse, Swan’ received five nominations and four awards including Best New play, Best Actress and Best Visual Production, Best director. Her play ‘Pinching for my Soul’ was directed by Blanche McIntyre. The National theatre of Ireland included her in a new writing programme with her play ‘Marvel’.  ‘I want to know’ was performed at the Abbey the following year for international children’s day.  ‘Quicksand’ won an IMRO in 2021 for best radio drama on RTE. ‘An Un-made bed 1 & 2’ was commissioned for The Fight back/Push forward Festival 2020.  SOP/Black Girls Love Jane Austen Too, performed two festivals in London and Cambridge U.K.2021.  Her web series Bust is available to stream on Twisted Mirror Telly, Vimeo and Youtube.

Lesley Conroy-  is an IFTA award nominated actor, with 25 years-experience on stage and screen. Over the course of her career she has worked with The Abbey, Corcadorca, Loose Canon, Fíbín & Decadent Theatre among others.  Turning to writing during lockdown her monologue CLEANER won the 2020 Scripts Ireland Competition and was awarded a Dublin Gay Theatre Festvial Diversity Short Play Bursary. Adapted for screen under the Screen Ireland/Bow Street Academy’s Actor as Creator scheme it won the Best Cork Short Award at the 66th Cork International Film Festival.  As the 2020 Jane Anne Rothwell award winner, she presented her short film MY CONNECTION IS UNSTABLE at the 2021 Cork Midsummer Festival. It also screened at Scripts Festival, Waterford Film Festival and the Women in Film and TV 2021 showcase.  She is an Associate Artist with The Corps Ensemble & Axis Ballymun. In 2022, supported by the Axis Assemble residency she will collaborate on a research project on the liminal space between caring and creativity with Johanne Webb and Shaun Dunne.  She was a recipient of the Arts Council’s Professional Development and Agility Awards and was a participant on Javier Daulte’s playwriting masterclass supported by ITI.  As a member of MAM Ireland’s steering group and Theatre Forum’s Artist Working Group, Lesley is an advocate for diversity & inclusion in Irish Theatre and Screen, and improved representation and supports for parenting artists.  She greatly looks forward to her time on the Maven programme which will allow her time and space to develop creative material on the themes of domesticity and motherhood.

Established Irish female playwrights, Michelle Read, Gina Moxley, Noelle Brown and Deirdre Kinahan  will facilitate a group class and one individual mentorship meeting for each participant.

The program will also include a paid writing week to create some text and some explorative discussion with the dramaturg to outline a new play. These ideas will be shared in a final session with your fellow playwright participants.


PAMELA McQUEEN is currently  Project Lead & Dramaturg The Baptiste Programme for black Irish theatre makers in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. She is also project lead on the Dramaturgy Now mentorship project for Dramaturgs Network Ireland. She was New Play Dramaturg at The New Theatre, Dublin 2017-2020. She regularly delivers dramaturgical mentorships for various local arts office across the country and Arts & Disability, Ireland. Pamela is currently researching dramaturgies of Disability Arts with a bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She is taking part in the L.M.D.A and Dramaturgs Network U.K. International Dramaturgs Lab 2021 with a Dublin City Arts Office bursary.  Pamela has recently been production dramaturg onBAng! by Michelle Read in Dublin Theatre Festival ’21 ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ with The Abbey Theatre and ‘Scotties’ by Frances Poet & Muireann Kelly, National Theatre Scotland & Theatre GuLeor; ‘The Spiders House’ by Roderick Ford Winner of the A.D.I/ Project Arts Centre Realise Award at Project Arts Centre February 2020;‘Minefield’ by Clare Monnelly at Dublin Fringe Festival, Axis Ballymun & Smock Alley 2019. Current production dramaturgy  includes ‘Bliss’ by Emily Gilmor Murphy at Mermaid Arts Centre, 2022 and Teach/Taidgh/Ty in development with Theatre GuLeor and Fishamble The New Play Company for 2022.  She was Associate Dramaturg of the Tron Theatre, Glasgow 2008-2011 plays included Olivier award winning Roadkill by Cora Bissett & Stef Smith. She has a B.A from University College Dublin and an M.Litt in Dramaturgy & Playwriting from the University of Glasgow. Her writing includes ‘Sustaining a Career as a Female Playwright in Ireland’ Howlround Journal; ‘From Space to Place: The Audience Journey in Anu Productions The Boys of Foley Street’. Chapter 5 in  Immersive Theatre Engaging the Audience ed. Joshua Machamer. Common Ground Publishing. pp65-76. ‘Giving Voice to the Global Citizen in The Speculator by David Greig ’ International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen , 6 (1). pp. 82-100. [Journal article]


MICHELLE READ is an award-winning playwright and theatre-maker with a background in comedy. She has a track record in the professional production of new writing and experimental theatre and co-ran READCO / Living Space Theatre with director Tara Derrington for twelve years. Her writing awards include the Stewart Parker/BBC NI Drama Award, the Hugh Leonard new play award, an Ondas Spanish broadcast award, and an Edinburgh Fringe First. Michelle has been playwright-in-residence with the Civic Theatre, and is currently a playwriting mentor for the Tenderfoot Youth Arts Apprenticeship Programme at the Civic. In 2021 Michelle presented her memoir piece On A House Like A Fire, about remembering her mother Margaret and made in collaboration with the composer Brian Keegan, for the Bealtaine Festival At Home from Smock Alley. She also presented her latest play Bang! a drama comedy about love and identity, as part of thDublin Theatre Festival 2021 at Smock Alley. Michelle received the inaugural Age & Opportunity Creative Aging Writing Bursary this year and is currently a member of Six In The Attic with Irish Theatre Institute. As an independent artist her aims are to challenge and develop her creative practise through collaboration and production, and to produce diverse, engaging, emotionally complex stories for the theatre. Her focus often lies in exploring female perspectives and identities and she regularly experiments with form.  

GINA MOXLEY is a Dublin based writer, actor and director. She was elected to Aosdána in 2020.  The Application, her short documentary made with Luca Truffarelli, was selected for the 33rd Galway Film Fleadh and presented as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2021.  In 2020, Gina contributed A Start to the Abbey Theatre’s online lockdown project Dear Ireland; Still, Life to Dublin Dance Festival’s online project Where I Am Now and contributed a video essay to Centre Culturel Irlandais’ Addressing the Nations. In 2020, she directed Transmission for Dublin Fringe Festival at the Peacock – one of the few plays staged with a live audience that year. Gina’s play The Patient Gloria premiered at Dublin Theatre Festival in 2018. In 2019 it played the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh where it won a Fringe First and a Herald Angel.  Gina has previously written plays for Rough Magic, Fishamble, National Connections UK, CoisCéim and Pan Pan Theatre.  She has performed with Pan Pan, Corcadorca, Cork Midsummer, Dead Centre, Abbey Theatre, Livin’ Dred, Prime Cut, Rough Magic, Almeida Theatre, Royal Court, Out of Joint, Tim Crouch Company and has toured extensively.  Directing credits include Spliced by Timmy Creed, My Magnetic North by Gary Coyle, How to Keep an Alien by Sonya Kelly and Solpadeine is My Boyfriend by Stefanie Preissner.  She will be seen next in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at The Gate Theatre in spring 2022.

NOELLE BROWN has spent the last 35 years working as an actor, writer, and director.  She has worked extensively in theatre, film, television and radio. Her play, POSTSCRIPT, co-written with Michèle Forbes, premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013. It was nominated for the Fishamble New Writing Award and the Bewleys Little Gem Award. It toured all over Ireland, played at the Centre Cultural Irlandais Paris, at the Abbey Theatre (Peacock) in June 2017, and the London Irish Centre in February 2020. Her play Foxy was presented at Project Arts Centre in 2015. Recently, she was lead artist and curator on the Abbey Theatres Home: Part One. Noelle is also a campaigner for Adoption Rights in Ireland.

DEIRDRE KINAHAN is an award winning playwright and a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s elected body of outstanding artists. Recent work includes: The Visit (Draiocht, Dublin Theatre Festival 2021), The Saviour (Landmark Productions 2021) Embargo (Fishamble 2020), In the Middle of the Fields – (Solas Nua DC 2021), Dear Ireland (Abbey Theatre 2020), The Bloodied Field (Abbey Theatre 2020), The Unmanageable Sisters (Abbey Theatre 2018/19), Rathmines Road (Fishamble 2018), Crossings (Pentabus UK 2018), Wild Notes (Solas Nua DC 2018), Renewed (Old Vic London 2018). New Projects include: New Opera , Ettie, Outrage (Irish Civil War Commemoration Play) – Fishamble Theatre Co. & Meath County Council, a new play for Landmark Productions. Deirdre is an Associate Artist with Meath County Council Arts Office and currently artist in residence at CCI Paris. Her plays are translated into many languages, published by Nick Hern Books and produced regularly in Ireland and on the International stage. Representation: Lily Williams, Curtis Brown, London.

This Programme is funded by the Arts Council