The Lir Academy's staff, board and tutors are made up of a team of highly qualified professionals. Their expertise in the arts, education, cultural and business sectors supports The Lir Academy in realising its mission.


Loughlin Deegan

Loughlin Deegan


Loughlin Deegan’s many achievements include working as a playwright, an arts manager for The Belltable and Druid, as director of ITI’s Irish Playography archive, as literary manager and later company producer of Rough Magic, and for five years he was the Artistic Director and CEO of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. As the first Director of The Lir, Loughlin is responsible for the overall direction of the Academy and the curation of the artistic programme.

Brian Singleton

Brian Singleton

Academic Director

Samuel Beckett Chair of Drama and Theatre

Brian Singleton is Samuel Beckett Professor of Drama & Theatre at Trinity College Dublin and is the Academic Director of The Lir –National Academy of Dramatic Art in Ireland. He is co-editor of the series ‘Studies in International Performance’ published by Palgrave Macmillan for which he and Janelle Reinelt won the 2012 ATHE prize for sustained achievement in editing. He has published many articles and book chapters on interculturalism/orientalism and performance including the mongraph Oscar Asche, Orientalism and British Musical Comedy (Praeger, 2004), as well as two books on the life and work of Antonin Artaud. His latest monograph is entitled Masculinities and the Contemporary Irish Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Anne Fitzpatrick

Anne Fitzpatrick

Director of Administration

Anne Fitzpatrick was appointed as the Academy’s first Administrator and has been responsible for academic and operational administration for The Academy since doors opened in September 2011. Having trained and worked in theatre and education for over fifteen years previous to this Anne continues to drive The Lir administration to support the students in achieving the highest possible standards during their training at The Lir Academy.

Barry Conway

Barry Conway

Director of Technical Training

Barry Conway began his career with the first Dublin Fringe Festival in 1995 which led to him working for both Arena Lighting and the Electric Light Company. Since 2003 Barry has held the position of Production & Lighting Department Manager of Avcom Ltd. Barry has worked consistently as a freelance Chief Electrician on numerous theatre productions in Irish theatre. Barry has also acted as Senior Technician for many of Ireland’s leading festivals and events including Galway Arts Festival, Belfast Festival at Queen’s, the Dublin Theatre Festival as well as a long career with the Dublin Fringe Festival in culminating in being its production manager in 2003. Barry has also led many teaching and training initiatives at Avcom and elsewhere. Barry is also a founding member of the Association of Irish Stage Technicians.

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Gavin O’Donoghue

Foundation Diploma and Short Courses Director

Gavin studied Drama at The Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, spending his ERASMUS year at Goldsmiths College, The University of London. On graduating from Trinity Gavin trained as an actor at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He worked as an Actor in the Theatre and on Radio in the UK before studying for his MA in Voice Studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Prior to his work at The Lir Gavin taught on Drama programmes at UCC and the University of Ulster. He continues to work as a freelance Dialect Coach as well as teaching voice at the Dundalk Institute of Technology. Alongside his duties on the Foundation Diploma and Short Courses Gavin teaches Dialect and Sight Reading on the BA Acting course.


Colm Carney

Academic Administrator

Colm began his career in healthcare, working for several years as a healthcare assistant before moving into medical secretary roles. Colm has worked in most of Dublin’s major hospitals in settings as varied as A&E, ICU, Palliative Care and Psychiatry. Colm later worked with both the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland, coordinating postgraduate medical education and training for Ireland’s graduate doctor’s. In 2013, Colm changed direction and began working freelance in the Arts sector. He has worked in various roles with The Abbey Theatre, Landmark Productions, Dublin Fringe Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, Clonmel Junction Festival and Dublin International Film Festival, as well as with Assembly Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland. Colm holds a BA in Contemporary Culture & Society from Dublin City University as well as a Certificate in Counselling & Psychotherapy from PCI College Dublin.

Joanna At The Lir Academy

Joanna Crawley

Admissions and Short Course Manager

Joanna is a producer, journalist, translator and dramaturg. For the last two years she has worked as a project manager with THEATREclub, producing shows: It's Not Over, I'm Not Here, The Ireland Trilogy, Not At Home, We Don't Know Whet's Buried Here. Her theatre producing work includes, This Is The Funeral Of Your Life (Louise White), INLAND(S) (Loose Canon), Override (White Label), Story Machines – Theatre and Technology Symposium (White Label), East of Berlin (Brinkmanship Company), The Windstealers (Eccles Theatre), FUSED (Dan Bergin), To Space (Niamh Shaw), Way to Heaven (Rough Magic SEEDS). Her translations of Irish plays into Polish have been staged and published in Poland. She has been honoured with ASSITEJ Award for Excellence in Theatre Criticism. She lectures at University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw.

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Cristina Florescu

Marketing Executive

Cristina completed her undergraduate studies in the UK, with a degree in English Literature and Media and Culture before moving to Dublin to do a Master in American Literature at University College Dublin. She has been active in the arts & culture sector in Ireland and the UK through freelance marketing, internships and volunteering roles. Before joining The Lir Academy, Cristina worked as a Marketing Assistant for the Dublin Fringe Festival.

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Kat Ennis

Front of House / Venue Manager

Kat Ennis is the full-time Venue & Events Manager for The Lir Academy having joined the team in 2018. She is an Honors graduate of ITSligo's Fine Art Department, class of 2016, and is originally from Trim in County Meath.

Prior to working for the Academy, Kat worked in venue management, as well as box office and other production roles, with various festivals such as Dublin International Film Festival, Body & Soul, Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival, Temple Bar Tradfest and several others.

Outside of her work for The Lir, Kat is a practising artist and writer. Her most recent writing credit was selected for development as a part of 'Fringe Lab 50' with Dublin Fringe Festival 2020 and her mixed media art practice continues in the form of residencies and commissions while she is a member at Block T Artist Studios, based in Dublin 8, as of February 2021.

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Ellen Murray


Ellen is a graduate of English and Film from UCD. In college she began to write for the University Observer as a film reviewer. Since graduating, she has written for numerous websites, most notably Film Ireland Magazine, and worked in various roles in both media and the arts sector, including as an intern for the Big Smoke Writing Factory, RSVP Magazine and as a Transmission Editor for TV3 Ireland. As well as writing, Ellen’s experience lies primarily in administration and she has a penchant for well organised spread sheets.

Ellen began working at The Lir Academy in November 2018. Her role as a Receptionist involves being The Lir’s first point of contact for all students, staff and members of the public.

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Paul O'Connor

Commercial Director

Paul O’Connor joined The Lir Academy in April 2019 as Commercial Director; in charge of devising and delivering creative new business initiatives across multiple departments within The Lir. Paul is responsible for driving sales across the academy’s range of Short Courses as well as running ‘The Lir at Work’, The Lir Academy's corporate communications training programme. With over 20 years experience working in Sales, Marketing and Business Development – Paul’s most recent role, prior to joining The Lir, was based in London, as Commercial Director of 1st Option Representation, the UK’s largest TV, Film & Photoshoot Locations Agency. Previously, Paul worked as General Manager of The Factory in Barrow Street and was one of the Senior Management Team responsible for the establishment of Bow Street Academy for Screen Acting.


Jessica Hilliard

Director of Marketing

Jessica studied Drama & Theatre Studies at the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College Dublin and has an MA in Performance & Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has worked in various positions in the cultural sector for over 20 years with a specific focus on marketing, communications and fundraising since 2012. Her recent experience includes roles at the Irish Film Institute; Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin; Dublin Fringe Festival; and Dublin Theatre Festival. She joined the Lir in 2020 as the Director of Marketing.


  • Chair: Dermot McCrum
  • Michael Binchy
  • Anne Clarke
  • Dana Cuffe
  • Jon Downey (Alternate Director for Danielle Ryan)
  • James Hickey
  • Gail McElroy
  • Eleanor Methven
  • Anne Mulcahy
  • Dearbhla Walshe


  • Alan Stanford
  • Charlene McKenna
  • Colin Farrell
  • Colm Meaney
  • Conor McPherson
  • Daniel Day Lewis
  • Garry Hynes
  • Jason O’Mara
  • Jim Sheridan
  • Lorcan Cranitch
  • Lynne Parker
  • Mark O’Halloran
  • Michael Fassbender
  • Micheal McElhatton
  • Nick Dunning
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Saoirse Ronan
  • Sarah Bolger
  • Sebastian Barry
  • Simon Delaney
  • Victoria Smurfit