VFH Northern Ireland: Creative Team

WRITERS David-Ireland-cr-Declan-English-700x455.jpg

David Ireland
David’s plays include WHAT THE ANIMALS SAY (Oran Mor, Glasgow), EVERYTHING BETWEEN US (Tinderbox), THE END OF HOPE (Oran Mor), YES SO I SAID YES (Ransom), CAN’T FORGET ABOUT YOU (Lyric, Belfast) and CYPRUS AVENUE (Royal Court/Abbey).  He was Playwright-in-Residence at the Lyric, Belfast from 2011-12. EVERYTHING BETWEEN US won the Meyer-Whitworth Award in 2011.  CYPRUS AVENUE won the Irish Times Award for Best New Play and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama in 2017.  He is currently working on new plays for the Royal Court and the Abbey and has various screen projects in development.

AbbieSpallen_320Abbie Spallen
Abbie is a multi award winning writer, actor and film producer.  Her awards as writer include the Stewart Parker award, The Tony Doyle award, the Clare McIntyre Bursary from The Royal Court, the Peggy Ramsay award, the Dublin City Council Bursary for Literature, the HALMA award and the Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her theatre plays include ABEYANCE (Druid Debut, Druid Theatre Co), PUMPGIRL (Bush/Traverse/Manhattan Theatre Club), – STRANDLINE (Fishamble, Dublin) – BOGWOG (NPC) O’Neill Centre Connecticut.  LALLY THE SCUT (Tinderbox, Belfast) and POENA 5X1 (Underbelly, Edinburgh Festival).  Her short plays include THIRTEEN (Women in Power and Politics, Tricycle Theatre), SHAVING THE PICKLE (59E59 NYC) and RUBBERFOOT (Pentabus) Her work is published by Faber and has been translated into many languages and produced across Europe and the USA. She has completed one attachment to the Royal National Theatre and two to The Royal Court.  In 2014 she was writer in residence in the Lyric Theatre Belfast.  Her work for radio includes RAPTURE FREQUENCY (The Wire BBC R3) LIVE FROM THE PALACE (BBC R4) and SNAKE OIL (BBC R4). Her film and television work includes PUMPGIRL (PG Films/NI Screen) SEACHT (Stirling Productions) and COLLUSION (Sharp Focus for Calipo) and SEVEN DRUNKEN KNIGHTS – Tony Doyle Award BBC Northern Ireland.  Her credits as producer include the feature SILENT GRACE (Guerrilla Films) and the short CRAWLIN’ for ATC films. She is currently under commission to the Royal National Theatre, the Lyric Belfast and The Abbey Theatre Dublin. In 2016 she was awarded the Windham Campbell Prize from Yale.

ALICEAlice Malseed
Alice is a writer and theatre maker from Belfast. She studied at Goldsmiths, graduating with a BA Hons in Drama and Theatre Arts and MA Applied Theatre, completing this in 2011. Her first play, JELLYFISH premiered at Tiger Dublin Fringe 2015 and toured UK including to sell-out audiences at High Tide Festival. It made it to the final 20 out of 900 in Verity Bargate Award 2015 and  won the Fringe Wild Card Award in Dublin. Alice’s second work, IT’s GETTING HARDER AND HARDER FOR ME, premiered at Dublin Fringe 2017 in Smock Alley Theatre, playing to sellout audiences and receiving great critical acclaim. NORTH STREET is part of a series of plays she is writing about Belfast. Alice is also a boxer, and was awarded ‘City of Belfast Senior Boxer of the Year 2016-17’.

PATRICKPatrick Dunlea
Patrick is a contributor to BBC Online comedy. Based in Belfast, he has had work performed at the Belfast Media Festival, Brian Friel Theatre (Belfast), Soho Theatre (London), Lost Theatre (London) and Brixton Market (London). He is a graduate of writing programmes at Queen’s University Belfast and Goldsmiths College London. THE DINNER PARTY is his first full length play.


Lesley Ann Acheson
Originally from Coleraine in Co. Derry, Lesley Ann is a recent graduate from Drama Studio, London where she won the Maggie Ollerenshaw Award for Comedy Acting and was selected for a BAFTA Scholarship. Theatre includes ‘The Extraordinary Cabaret of Dorian Gray’ (Pleasance Theatre & Kings Head Theatre), ‘The Business of Murder’, ‘A Bedfull of Foreigners’, ‘The Revival’ (Sheringham Little Theatre Rep Company), ‘Merrily We Roll Along’, ‘The Full Monty’ (Edinburgh Fringe)

Stephen-Cavanagh-©Michael-Wharley-2017-5.jpgStephen Cavanagh
Stephen Cavanagh is from Derry, Northern Ireland, and trained at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and the British-American Drama Academy in Oxford. Recent theatre appearances include Easter Rising and Thereafter at Jermyn Streeet Theatre; Stones In His Pockets and Abigail’s Party for Contexture Theatre; Spokesong and Blackwater Angel at the Finborough Theatre; and Radiance at the Tabard Theatre.  For the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, appearances include Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme, Pleasure and Pain and Dial M For Murder; and for the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Romeo and Juliet, Coriolanus, Journey’s End and Death of a Salesman. He has worked with many Irish theatre companies including Dubbeljoint, Prime Cut, Kabosh and Big Telly.

Claire was born and grew up in Lurgan, 30 minutes outside of Belfast. She worked and performed in Northern Ireland before moving to England to train at the Guildford School of Acting. She graduated in 2016 with a first class honors in Acting and since then has worked both on stage and in a number of short films. Credits include: Marianne Dashwood in Austen’s Artifice, Ireland in Rue Britannia.

Michael graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2015 , receiving the Patricia Routledge award. He was previously cast as part of View from Here Scotland, and has previously appeared on stage at Theatre503 for Rapid, Write, Response. He appeared in 2017 Swedish film ‘The Third Wish’.




Clare McGowan-Duffy

Clare studied Writing, Directing and Performance at University of  York and after graduating, trained at The Gaiety School of Acting. She has worked with Company of Angels and performed at York Theatre Royal as part of their Theatre Cafe Festival and worked with Changing Face Collective at the Arcola Theatre. Clare is an associate artist of The Minerva Collective and recently performed in Foodie at The Hope Theatre.






Katrina McKeever
Born and bred in Belfast, Katrina trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. During her training she was a finalist for the Michael Bryant Award at the National Theatre and represented Guildhall for the BBC Carlton Hobbs Award in 2014, where she received highly commended for Outstanding Solo and Classical Monologues.She recently starred as Teenie in a sell out run of David Ireland’s Everything Between Us at the Finborough Theatre which received 4 star reviews across the board. Her performance was hailed as ‘richly detailed, comically naturalistic’- (Fergis Morgan, The Stage), ‘simply electric.’ – (Pub Theatre), ‘delivered with the confident expertise of a stand-up comedian’ – (British Theatre Guide) and ‘perfectly captures Teeni’s traumatised vivacity and endless contradictions’ – (Michael Billington, The Guardian). Recent theatre credits include: The Melting Pot (Finborough Theatre), The First Man (Jermyn Street Theatre), What The Butler Saw (Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast) and Goblin Market (Lyric Theatre, Belfast and Edinburgh Fringe Festival).Parts during training include: Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Anya in The Cherry Orchard, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Pat in Flare Path and Patient in 4.48 Psychosis. Film credits include: Nightclubbing (winner of the RTE/Filmbase Award 2007), Lady Death (Belfast Short Film Festival 2017) and The First Man (2018).

Victoria trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts after reading a degree in Astrophysics. An experienced performer in weekly rep, Victoria has worked with the Charles Vance Company at the Manor Pavilion Theatre, Sidmouth, in 26 plays ranging from comedy to thriller to classic.  Some leading credits include tart-with-a-heart Mabel Crum in Rattigan’s While The Sun Shines; newlywed, neurotic Sibyl in Coward’s Private Lives; and suicidal Eva in Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular. Other theatre work includes Henry V (Riverside Studios and national tour); The Playboy of the Western World (Winchester Theatre Royal and No.1 tour); Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologue ‘Bed Among the Lentils’ (Wilde Theatre, Bracknell); the title role in the UK premiere of Oscar Wilde’s The Duchess of Padua (Pentameters Theatre); and a number of new writing credits including Gazing at a Distant Star (Greenwich Theatre) and Life Sentence (Southwark Playhouse).

Michael is a recent graduate of LAMDA and hails from sunny Lisburn Northern Ireland. Theatre credits include: ‘Peter And The Starcatcher’ (Royal & Derngate), ‘Desire Under The Elms’ (Sheffield Crucible). Film and television credits include: Derry Girls, Doctors, Two Angry Men, The Last Letter, The Big Picture. Radio Credits include: Trials Of Saint Patrick.





Helen BroughtonIMG_2407

Helen is a freelance theatre director, facilitator and drama & movement therapist. Her directing work has mainly focused on new writing and she has developed and directed work at venues including Watford Palace Theatre, ARC Stockton, Theatre503 and Young Vic Theatre. In 2011 she co-founded NiLon, a network for Northern Irish theatre artists in London which is still active on Facebook. Currently the focus of her work is in developing community and clinical ‘Arts in Health’ projects and workshops through her therapeutic arts organisation Nascent: https://www.nascenttherapeuticarts.org/


Katie-Ann McDonoughHEADSHOT

Katie-Ann is currently the assistant director of English Touring Theatre’s production of The Weir. Katie-Ann studied Drama at University College Dublin and Theatre Directing at NUIM. She was also a Trainee Director with Stonecrabs Theatre Company. Credits include: Blackout (Vaults Festival) Mastering Business (Stockwell Playhouse) Ironmistress (The Albany) We Grew Up In The Back Of A Van (Whitebear Theatre)


Katherine Nesbitt


Katherine was most recently Associate Director on The Open House by Will Eno (Michael Boyd, Print Room/Ustinov).  Directing credits include ‘boom’ by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (Theatre503), ‘The Ocean is Downhill from Everywhere’ (Imaginate), ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ by Andrew Bovell (Tron Theatre), and ‘Attempts on Her Life’ by Martin Crimp (West End Festival). Assistant director credits include ‘iHo’ by Tony Kushner (Michael Boyd, Hampstead), ‘Swallow’ by Stef Smith (Orla O’Loughlin, Traverse), and Staff Director for ‘A Walk at the Edge of the World’ (Magnetic North).
She was Artist in Residence at Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre in Royston, and is a JMK Trust Regional director bursary recipient and Leverhulme Scholar. She is a script reader for the Traverse theatre.



Ng Choon Pingping

Credits include Tamburlaine (Arcola), Crocodiles (Royal Exchange), Macbeth (Central School), Golden Child (New Diorama), Collision and Carla’s Puppet (National Theatre New Views), Snap (Young Vic 5 by 5). Assistant directing includes Chimerica (Almeida and West End), Nut (National Theatre), Bakersfield Mists (West End), and Cyprus Avenue (Royal Court). He is an Associate Artist of HighTide, and was the inaugural recipient of the Royal Exchange Hodgkiss Award for Young Directors.