The Board of the Abbey Theatre today announced the appointment of Caitríona McLaughlin as its new Artistic Director and Mark O'Brien as its new Executive Director.

Caitríona McLaughlin is an award-winning theatre director, and an Associate Director at the Abbey since 2017. Recent productions at the Abbey include an outdoor production of The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh, staged at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Citysong by Dylan Coburn Gray and an acclaimed revival of On Raftery's Hill by Marina Carr, for which she won Best Director at the 2019 Irish Times Theatre Awards. 

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Commenting on her appointment, Caitríona McLaughlin said: "We are in a time of profound and existential change; but also one of potential and renewal. I am thrilled to be taking up this position at this pivotal moment, and fully embrace both the responsibility and opportunity of it. We need to find and champion new voices and new ways of seeing. This means identifying combinations of characters we are yet to meet on our stages, having conversations we are yet to hear whilst also engaging in an interrogation of our classical canon with an urgency and curiosity about what makes it speak to this moment. Our stories teach us what it is to belong, and what it is to be excluded and exclude. My journey as Artistic Director begins with these twin impulses, and with two questions: who were we, and who are we now?"

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Watch: Caitríona McLaughlin chats to Mark O'Brien

Mark O'Brien is the Director of axis arts centre in Ballymun, a focal point for cultural and community engagement on Dublin's northside, and a stalwart of the Irish theatre scene, with an extensive background in community and youth arts.

As Executive Director, O'Brien will lead the Abbey's engagement with local, national and international communities, the day to day running of the theatre and the redevelopment programme to create a new Abbey Theatre building as a resource centre for Irish theatre.

The duo will join the Abbey staff in early May, succeeding outgoing co-directors Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, who took the reigns at the Abbey in 2016.