Aideen Howard announced as new Director of The Ark

The Ark is delighted to announce that Aideen Howard has been appointed as its new Director. Aideen will commence the role in April 2015.

The appointment was welcomed by the board of The Ark Chairperson, Sheila de Courcy saying, ‘As The Ark prepares to move into its third decade, the board set out to appoint a new Director who had the creativity, experience, and acumen for this exciting challenge. In her work as Literary Director in the Abbey Theatre, Aideen built up a wealth of expertise in creating fruitful creative collaborations, developing and commissioning new work and initiating innovative projects. As Artistic Director of the Mermaid Arts Centre Aideen built up the centre from start-up to a vibrant and highly successful arts venue with a successful multidisciplinary arts programme for children and schools. She has also worked with The Ark on projects in the past. Aideen has a firm commitment to the essential value of rich cultural experiences for children and brings to her new role a strong, thoughtful and creative vision for The Ark which will allow the work of The Ark to continue to evolve and which will inspire new generations of children and artists alike. We are very excited to appoint Aideen Howard to lead The Ark into this new phase.’

Speaking of the announcement Aideen said, ‘Since The Ark opened its doors 20 years ago I have admired its unique dedication to producing high quality artistic experiences for children. In the meantime, The Ark has gone from strength to strength and I'm looking forward to leading The Ark on the next stage of its exciting journey. At the Abbey Theatre, I have had the great fortune to work with Ireland’s greatest writers and theatre-makers, Director Fiach MacConghail and an inspiring team of colleagues. I look forward to bringing that experience to an exciting new challenge in making and presenting new work for children at The Ark.’

Aideen Howard has been Literary Director of the Abbey Theatre since 2006 where she has responsibility for commissioning new plays, supporting new playwrights and the Abbey Archive and the NUIG Abbey Archive Digitisation Project. On behalf of the Abbey Theatre she has commissioned and worked alongside Ireland’s leading established and emerging writers. As Literary Director she has developed more than 30 new plays for the Abbey and Peacock stages including, most recently, Our Few and Evil Days by Mark O’Rowe, The Waste Ground Party by Shaun Dunne, Conservatory by Michael West and Quietly by Owen McCafferty. She is editor of Irish Shorts: New Plays from the Abbey Theatre published by Nick Hern Books.

Aideen was the first Artistic Director of Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, where she programmed and ran a multi-disciplinary arts venue including a programme for children. There, she collaborated and co-produced with The Ark on a number of projects. She has also worked as literary consultant to Arts Council projects and as dramaturg at the Abbey Theatre. Recently she curated the poetry programme of the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire. Aideen holds an MA in Drama from UCD and a BA in English and German from Trinity College.

Since it opened in 1995, The Ark, has established itself as a key cultural organisation for children in Ireland, dedicated to providing exceptional cultural work for children, schools and families. Children aged 2 -12 can explore theatre, music, literature, art, film, dance and more through a programme of world class performances, exhibitions and creative workshops which change throughout the year.

The Ark gratefully acknowledges the support of its principal funder the Arts Council and also its other annual supporters: the Department of Education and Skills, Temple Bar Cultural Trust and Dublin City Council.

Press information: Sinead O’Doherty, Gerry Lundberg Public Relations. t: 01 679 8476 / 086 2591070