Who’s Who on
the Artistic Team

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Siamsa Tíre is the only venue in the country to employ a full-time team of artists to develop in-house productions.

Joanne Barry, Dancer and Repertory Director with the National Folk Theatre

Joanne joined the National Folk Theatre as a child and after completing her training, went on to attain a BA in English and an MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from University College Cork.

In 2002, she returned to the company as a full-time member and has since performed in most of our major productions, including a lead role in Moriarty.

In 2009, she toured Ireland with Rithim Rhythm, a collaboration with the San Francisco-based Printz Dance Company. In 2010, she performed in the premiere of ‘What the Folk’ as part of the ABSOLUT Fringe in Dublin and again in 2012 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She directed her first full-length production, Imigéin, with the NFT in September 2013.

As our Repertory Director, she has responsibility for the annual summer season Festival of Folk.

Jonathan Kelliher, Dancer and Artistic Director

Jonathan joined Siamsa Tíre at the age of eight and trained at our Teach Siamsa Training Centre for three years, studying singing, music, drama, and dance.

He became a professional member of our company in 1989, which marked the beginning of him playing leading roles in productions such as Clann Lir, Eachtra, and Fadó, Fadó.

Since then, he has performed in and directed productions including rEvolution for the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2005, Anam for the Dublin Dance Festival in 2016, and An Ghaoth Aniar for Siamsa Tíre in 2018.

Jonathan was the National Folk Theatre’s Dance Master from 2000 until 2007, when he became its Artistic Director, a role he performs with aplomb to this day.

Tom Hanafin, Composer and Musical Director of the National Folk Theatre

Tom has been involved with Siamsa Tíre for well over 30 years and has served as the Musical Director of the National Folk Theatre since 2000.

He is an accomplished musician and composer with a background in traditional Irish music.

In his work with us, he performs, teaches, auditions, casts, researches and creates new musical compositions and arrangements for our productions. He is also responsibile for nurturing young musical talent through our training programme.

Highlights from his time with us to date include working with the Director of the National Folk Theatre Choir to compose a new musical arrangement of the song ‘Róisín Dubh’. This piece was then performed on Banna Beach for President Michael D. Higgins to commemorate the centenary of 1916.

Anne O’Donnell, Dancer and Training and Development Officer

Anne started her training with the National Folk Theatre as an eight-year-old girl and she has been a full-time performing member of our professional company since 1993. She was our Dance Master for a number of years and is currently head of training and development.

She also teaches in Siamsa Tíre’s Folk Theatre Academy, is a member of the National Folk Theatre Choir, and directs and co-devises end-of-year productions with the students.

Anne has performed and toured extensively with the company here at home and to far-flung destinations including Venezuela, the Faroe Islands, and the US. She also has performed in many festivals including ABSOLUT Fringe, Cork Midsummer Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe to name a few.

Catherine Leahy, Dancer and Academy Tutor

A native of Tralee, Catherine joined Siamsa Tíre when she was six years old as a student of our training academy. She then graduated to the Community Cast, before continuing her training in dance at the College of Dance in Dublin where she studied contemporary, jazz, and tap dancing.

She joined Siamsa Tíre’s professional company in 2015 and since then, she has tutored the students of the training academy in dance, drama and singing. She has also played many leading roles in shows such as An Ghaoth Aniar, Oileán, and Fadó Fadó.

John Hurley, Lighting Designer

John started out as a part-time technician operating sound and lights for Siamsa Tíre’s summer season shows in 1996. Gradually, he began lighting more of the shows that came to perform here, from plays and musicals to recitals, film screenings, and dance.

Over time, he came to love the creative process of lighting design and developed his own unique style in the process. Ten years ago, he started to introduce projection into his designs and the majority of his shows now have some projected element in them, lending a whole new look to stage sets.

John is very much in demand and works throughout Ireland to great critical acclaim and many awards. We are lucky to have him as the in-house designer for all our shows as he relishes the challenge that each new production brings. He sees his role as bringing the director’s vision to life on stage but also challenging the accepted norm and pushing boundaries with technology and innovative designs.