Who We Are

Meet our Board and Staff Team

Theatre and Dance NI is governed by a board of non-executive directors. Board membership is reviewed annually and any opportunities to join are posted on our website.

Meet the Board

With more than 30 years’ experience in finance, strategic planning, arts and creative management, Louise is also an expert in policy development and governance. Having spent almost 20 years working in the arts sector, she has since returned to her roots and now runs her own agricultural business in Ballycastle with her other half, Francis.

Louise is currently the chair of governors at Mill Strand Integrated Primary School in Portrush, where both her children went to school. As well as being passionate about the arts, she also loves gardening and spends as much time as possible outdoors, growing fruit and veg in the family’s poly-tunnel, amongst other things. She’s also kept busy looking after her two rescue dogs and four cats.

With degrees in Public Administration and Information Management, Niamh also holds a variety of professional training qualifications, including one in Arts and Intercultural Dialogue and Executive Leadership. After graduating, she worked in finance in the City of London, before travelling in South East Asia and Sydney, where she took another job in finance.

Niamh previously taught on the Arts and Entrepreneurship module for the Performing Arts Degree at Ulster University, with Doctor Tanya Dean. She recently acquired certification to teach English as a foreign language.

A former Ulster University graduate, Adam has been living in Northern Ireland for more than a decade and is currently theatre director at Crewe Lyceum, Cheshire’s landmark Edwardian theatre. He previously held senior roles at the Grand Opera House Belfast, ICC Belfast Waterfront and the Ulster Hall, along with the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. He further held senior positions within the Ambassador Theatre Group at the Edinburgh Playhouse, Trafalgar Studios and Savoy Theatre, where he won the London Theatre Manager of the Year Award.

Adam began his career at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing and Chichester Festival Theatre before training as an actor with the National Youth Music Theatre, National Youth Theatre and at London’s Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He has appeared on stage in London, Broadway and in Blood Brothers for Bill Kenwright. Recipient of the SOLT/Stage One New Producer’s Bursary, his production of Samuel Adamson’s Some Kind of Bliss played in London and New York and received a WhatsOnStage Award nomination.

Trustee of Bruiser Theatre Company, the Evelyn Norris Trust (one of the Combined Theatrical Charities) and of Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, Adam is also chair of Crewe Cultural Forum. He was a member of the Desire Lines steering committee, which informed Edinburgh City Council’s new cultural policy and is a member of the Town Board Steering Development of Place brand with Hemingway Design, ahead of major HS2 infrastructure investment.

Adam has a passion for contemporary dance and, in particular, the work of Matthew Bourne, Northern Ballet, Gary Clarke and Nederlands Dans Theatre. He also plays for Chester Centurions RUFC, supports Cliftonville FC and is a season ticket holder at Ulster Rugby.

Claire is an energetic and experienced leader with 15 years’ experience in marketing, strategy and sales, having worked for Coca-Cola, Heineken and the National Trust in Ireland, Northern Ireland and London. She has always had a passion for theatre and in 2014 set up Blunt Fringe Productions, which specialises in nurturing professional musical theatre in Northern Ireland. Three years ago, she moved into working full-time in the arts sector, initially at the MAC, Belfast and is currently head of development and marketing at the Lyric Theatre.

No stranger to the stage, Claire has been performing in community theatre since school and went on to perform with the R&R Dublin, St Agnes’ Choral Society, Belfast and others. While living in London she was a member of the Twickenham Operatic Society, which saw her perform as a leading lady at the prestigious Richmond Theatre. Her ambition to appear on a West End stage “just once” came true before she left London, when she performed at a gala concert at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – the largest theatre in the West End. Claire lives in Belfast with her husband John and their three children, Maggie, Elsie and Flora.

Linda is a chartered accountant who works for the Department for Communities. She has a keen interest in dance of all forms and teaches Scottish Country Dancing in Lisburn. At weekends, she can be found at park runs up and down the country, or walking her two dogs.

After many years working at the top level in media and events locally, nationally and internationally, Karin moved home to Belfast almost a decade ago, working as a freelance charity fundraising consultant predominantly within the arts sector. She is currently fundraising manager, on a freelance basis, with the Belfast International Arts Festival.

A board member of the Institute of Fundraising NI and Pintsized Productions, Karin is very much immersed in the local arts scene but is also fanatical about sport, particularly rugby, soccer and Formula 1.

Cheryl has worked as the drama and dance education officer at Youth Action’s Rainbow Factory for almost 20 years and has directed and choreographed more shows than she can remember. She is extremely proud to say that her professional career is a mixture of both educating others and doing her own performances. She would love to say that in her spare time she enjoys reading, but the truth is that it’s drinking wine!

A champion for the dance industry, Fleur trained at the London Studio Centre (achieving a BA Hons in Theatre and Dance) before working as a professional dancer within the commercial, corporate and theatrical sectors. This inspired her subsequent career as a choreographer and creative producer and she specialises in live performances with a strong dance/theatre element, whether it’s for the musical, fashion or corporate market.

Fleur also works independently, as well as being the co-producer and choreographer for Peter Corry Productions. Another string to her bow is being a humanist wedding celebrant.

Outside of work, Fleur is a big sci-fi fan and she enjoys relaxing with a good cup of tea or a gin and tonic. She’s also half-Mauritian and loves spicy food.

Originally from Galway, Noel spent five years at the NI Executive’s office in Brussels, where he worked with the Arts Council of NI to develop the ‘Brussels Platform’, aimed at promoting Northern Irish artists in Europe. He is the returning officer for the National Union of Students NI (NUS-USI) and a board member for Amadan Ensemble. He was also previously vice-chair of the board of Dance Resource Base.

Noel previously studied Modern History and Politics at Queen’s University, where he also served as vice-president of welfare in the Students’ Union. He has been a member of the NI Civil Service for more years than he’d like to admit and has worked in a range of posts, including Vocational Education and Training and the NI Skills Strategy. More recently, he has been working on social inclusion and equality, with a focus on gender.

An avid supporter of the arts, he is known to tread the boards from time-to-time and has competed at national level in Irish Set-dancing. Outside of work, Noel also has a passion for vanilla ice-cream.

Susan is director of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, a cultural regeneration agency that works in and around Belfast’s historic Cathedral Quarter in the city centre. Among the projects the Trust delivers is Culture Night Belfast, the city’s largest free arts event, which attracts annual audiences of more than 90,000 people.

Between 2008 and 2017 Susan was head of the Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). The two-screen QFT is Northern Ireland’s only dedicated cultural cinema and delivers a world-class programme of feature films and documentaries throughout the year, including archive and specialised films, and various events. During Susan’s time at the QFT, she managed all aspects of programming and operations, building audiences of around 100,000 each year and overseeing the cinema’s full conversion to digital technology.

In 2012, Susan oversaw the introduction and set-up of Film Hub NI, part of the British Film Institute’s (BFI) Film Audience Network, a major UK-wide audience development project based around a series of regional and national film hubs. Film Hub NI delivers a range of audience development and screening-based support across Northern Ireland and has had a significant positive impact upon film culture in the region.

Prior to this, Susan had many years’ experience working in cultural cinema in London. Roles included running events at London’s National Film Theatre (now BFI Southbank), as well as the film programme at the Hospital Club, the members’ club for the creative industries.

A former director of dance at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre London, Clare also previously taught at Musika Cenro de Arts in Brazil and was a guest Lecturer in Classical Ballet at Ulster University. She holds a Licentiate from The Royal Academy of Dance, London and a BA Hons in Anthropology with Ethnomusicology from Queens University, Belfast.

Clare established the Clare Novaes School of Ballet in 1998 and is passionate about promoting the unique qualities of ballet for lifelong wellbeing. In her role as artistic director and teacher, she runs classes for children and adults of all ages and levels and now also mentors student teachers for the RAD. During her ballet school’s 20th anniversary celebrations in 2018, Clare also launched balletretreat.com, which organises retreats to Covent Garden, Morocco and Ireland.

As an actress, Clare has enjoyed many fuzzy background screen appearances with Extras NI. Meanwhile, in her quest for the perfect aesthetically straight leg alignment, she continues to horse-ride – her theory being that ballet turns the leg out and riding turns it in. When exercising her horses she encourages her dogs to follow in line and aspires to have her daughter’s pygmi goats bouncing in to complete the choreography.

Meet the Team

For more than 25 years, Niamh has worked across the Northern Irish voluntary, community and arts sectors in a variety of roles. These include policy and community engagement, along with development and management roles for festivals, dance, theatre, and community arts events. She joined Theatre NI in 2016 and continued in her position following the merger with Dance NI.

With degrees in Public Administration and Information Management, Niamh also holds a variety of professional training qualifications, including one in Arts and Intercultural Dialogue and Executive Leadership. After graduating, she worked in finance in the City of London, before travelling in South East Asia and Sydney, where she took another job in finance.

Niamh previously taught on the Arts and Entrepreneurship module for the Performing Arts Degree at Ulster University, with Doctor Tanya Dean. She recently acquired certification to teach English as a foreign language.

Molly Rose is a professional dancer, performer, choreographer, teacher and facilitator. Originally from Birmingham, she trained at Liverpool John Moore’s University and graduated with a BA First-Class Honours in Dance. Her notable work includes a 10-day tour around Baltimore, Maryland, as well as performing at Birmingham International Arts Festival, The National School Games Opening Ceremony and The Tate Liverpool.

In 2018, Molly embarked on an MA in Arts Management at Queens University, Belfast, graduating in December 2019 with a Commendation. She has remained in Northern Ireland, establishing her career with both Dance Resource Base and Theatre NI and is excited to be an integral part of the new Theatre and Dance NI team.

Based in Belfast, Emma is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who specialises in performative practices, including multimedia installation, moving-image and socially engaged processes. She is currently fulfilling a directorship with Catalyst Arts, where she is also the former chairperson of the board, alongside working with Theatre and Dance NI. A member of Flax Art Studios, Emma was their Curator in Residence in 2019 and has curated a range of exhibitions and live art events over the years, including the thirteenth edition of the FIX live art festival (FIX19) in 2019.

Originally from Dublin, Emma graduated with a BA Hons in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2016. She went on to work in marketing at the Lyric Theatre Belfast and Catalyst Arts, as well as on a voluntary basis for NoDrama Theatre, a self-producing amateur theatre company in Dublin.

Emma has participated in a number of live art events in her career, including the Dublin Live art Festival, the Re-Vision Festival Belfast. Her most notable performance work is Heed, to the Mound, which premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2018.

Having relocated from Scotland to Northern Ireland back in 2014, Hayley has worked in the local arts sector since then. With more than 11 years’ experience in bookkeeping and finance across industries including construction, hospitality, health and beauty, and recruitment, she became finance officer for Theatre and Dance NI in 2018. She also works for Replay Theatre Company as their finance and operations manager.

Hayley began her career with an apprenticeship in Business and Administration. She went on to obtain further qualifications in Bookkeeping (IAB), Accounts and Payroll (Sage), and Management Practice (Ulster University). She is also currently working towards her Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping with AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and is looking forward to continuing to support Theatre and Dance NI and Northern Ireland’s wonderful creative sector.

Our Current Interns

Ben McDaid joins Theatre and Dance NI as part of his Graduate Development and Future Leaders Programme (Funded by Department of Further Education, Facilitated by SERC) as a Membership Development Intern. Ben has just completed his MFA in Musical Theatre at the Guildford School of Acting, and prior to his two years training, studied at St. Mary’s University College, Belfast in Primary Education with Music, graduating 2017. During his time with TDNI, he hopes to help members avail of all the benefits their membership has to offer and build on essential skills and connections within the sector as we all strive towards a better future within the arts.

Shannon O’Kane is a student training at Guildford School of Acting, originally from Kilrea, Northern Ireland. Currently i’m in her final year of ‘Theatre and Performance’ and gaining a scholarly and practice based knowledge.
”As a teenager, my goal was to become a performer, I achieved a diploma in practical acting at age 17 and have performed on Her Majesty’s Theatre, London with ‘West End Stage’ at age 14. Studying at a drama school has further solidified my love for the collaborative nature of the arts and I have found new interests within education and outreach. I am grateful to be an intern at Theatre and Dance NI and I am enjoying supporting the team to shape the future of Northern Ireland’s artistic landscape.”

After currently obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Dance, a primary discipline of interest and experience is dance, alongside having the chance of performance opportunities, and previously focusing primarily on dance theory and practice. However, since currently undertaking a master’s degree in Arts Management at Queen’s University Belfast, this has provoked new interest of having a theoretical and practice approach of the arts as a whole. It has centred my ambitions towards being involved in supporting and researching to help maintain appreciation and vast opportunities for what art and culture can offer societies.