At Siamsa Tíre’s AGM on Wednesday June 02, Joe Leonard stepped down as Chair and was replaced by Seán Murphy of Murphy’s Ice Cream. Joe Leonard, who is Group HR Director with PM Group, a global engineering and construction management company based in Cork, was first appointed as Chair of the Board in 2011.
Siamsa Tíre’s Executive Director, Róisín McGarr, paid tribute to Joe. “The creative, collegial, supportive, and thoughtful organisational culture at Siamsa Tíre is testament to the leadership, integrity, and personal values of our out-going Chairman, Joe Leonard,” she says. “His talents enabled Siamsa Tíre to successfully navigate challenging circumstances with care, commitment, and skill.”
Covid-19 proved to be a daunting challenge. “It tested our industry like nothing has before and our survival so far owes much to Joe’s work, unwavering support, and insightful counsel,” says Róisín. “I consider myself fortunate to have worked with such a Chairman and I know that the whole team in Siamsa will ensure he remains a valued member of the extended Siamsa family in the years to come.”
Artistic Director, Jonathan Kelliher said “During his time with us, Joe has been a great leader, ambassador and friend of Siamsa Tíre. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Joe over the last eleven years during challenging but rewarding times.”
The 2016 production of Anam was one of those times. “Joe was instrumental in the development of that production,” says Jonathan. “His belief and support gave everyone the confidence to move forward and develop a show that successfully toured nationwide and has since become part of the Siamsa Tíre repertoire. Joe has always been a great support to all staff members and his personal touch will be greatly missed.”
Seán Murphy, founder and CEO of Murphy’s Ice Cream, is the new chair. Born and raised in New York and living in Dingle for the past 21 years, Seán is a keen musician who has always had an interest in the arts.
“We have focused on supporting local ever since we set up Murphy’s Ice Cream,” says Seán. “This is an opportunity to expand that support to the county’s premier theatre and art space. I am joining a wide group of people who have worked hard over the past 50 years to keep folk heritage alive. Being a part of the future of that heritage is an honour and a privilege.”
The team at Siamsa look forward to working with Seán who joined their board earlier this year following an open recruitment process. “Seán’s fresh perspective and boundless energy has already had a hugely positive impact on the organisation even in the short time since he joined us,” says Róisín. “I look forward to working with him to strategically and sustainably position Siamsa Tíre for success in a post-Covid world.”
Following the most recent government announcements, Siamsa Tíre has reopened its doors to the public. The building will be open from Thursday to Sunday throughout the summer, restrictions permitting. The National Folk Theatre photo exhibition will be installed for the first month of re-opening and in July, a new interactive Homecoming Exhibition will be launched.