Skip to main content

Hawk's Well Theatre appoint new Director

A portrait photo of Kieran Griffiths with theatre seats in the background

The chair and board of the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo are delighted to announce the appointment of Kieran Griffiths as Director. Derry native Kieran Griffiths, former producer and director at The Playhouse Derry- Londonderry, has succeeded Marie O’Byrne, who has moved to glór in Ennis.

Kieran joined The Playhouse team under the stewardship of Founding Director Pauline Ross in 2012 in preparation for Derry- Londonderry’s City of Culture year, producing and directing 13 critically acclaimed productions in that year. He has since gone on to implement The Playhouse’s legacy and digital strategy, creating and commissioning new work across theatre, education and community engagement.

Describing Founder Pauline Ross as his “theatrical guardian angel” throughout his career, Kieran went on to spend 11 years as Playhouse producer and director, firmly establishing The Playhouse as one of the top producing houses on the island, creating ground- breaking works such as Playcraft Live, The Monk, The Bird and The Priest, and Nutcase.

His most ambitious production for the theatre, The White Handkerchief by Liam Campbell, was watched by thousands in theatre and online from the Guildhall on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday 30 January 2022, as the first part of a peacebuilding trilogy. Receiving four star reviews from The Observer and The Times, and praised for its “intimate naturalism; rough comedy; epic monumentality” (The Observer) the show sold out in the Guildhall, with thousands watching online live and across multiple platforms. A fly on the wall BBC documentary about the production was watched by 64,000 viewers on BBC 4 and 27,000 viewers on BBC1 NI.

The second instalment of the peacebuilding trilogy, HUME- Beyond Belief, a drama honouring the waking life of John and Pat Hume, was performed at The Guildhall and broadcast across the world as part of 2023 global commemorations of the Good Friday Agreement on 7 April 2023.

Receiving five star reviews from The Observer, and praised as a “profoundly affecting” performance that “affirms the power of individuals, acting together to bring about change”, the show sold out in the Guildhall, and more than a thousand online tickets. A fly on the wall BBC World Service documentary was also created about the production.

In May 2021, Kieran launched The Playhouse Music Theatre Company, offering world class training in music theatre in an area of deprivation. The company offered education in movement, vocal and acting tuition, focusing on the practical experience of performance. Members of The Playhouse Music Theatre Company have made up the ensemble for both instalments of the peacebuilding trilogies (with some securing major roles).

Roddy Quinn, Chair, Hawk’s Well Theatre
“The Hawk's Well is thrilled that Kieran Griffiths is filling the role of director of the theatre. Kieran has all the necessary attributes to make a great success of the role and bring the theatre to new levels in every sense - he will be supported in every possible way by the Hawk's Well team and board.”

Kieran Griffiths, New Director of Hawk’s Well Theatre
“I grew up in Derry and in a community arts venue which provided a safe space, a playground and a direct supported pathway to professional practice. I am excited that Hawk’s Well Theatre is of its people, providing that platform but also acting as a cultural lighthouse for professional artists of all disciplines. I can see the deep sense of care the team at Hawk’s Well has for all artists, fervently promoting ‘Art for All’. I hope to continue the great and ground-breaking work produced and contribute a successful chapter in its great history.”

Mike Moriarty, Chair, Playhouse Derry
“Kieran has spent 11 years tirelessly campaigning for Pauline’s vision to create community, celebrate diversity and empower people through the arts”. “He has helped to put The Playhouse on the map in this time with the quality of his work and the breadth of his vision. We would like to congratulate him, both personally and on behalf of The Playhouse on his new role and thank him sincerely for his contribution over the years. We wish him every continued success.”

Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
"Kieran Griffiths has made one of the most significant contributions to contemporary theatre in Northern Ireland. His involvement in transforming the cultural landscape of Derry during its City of Culture year left a lasting legacy, not least his curatorial stamp on Derry’s historic Playhouse Theatre. The groundbreaking work that he has directed in recent years, including the highly acclaimed ‘White Handkerchief’ which received rave reviews by critics and peers, and ‘Beyond Belief – The life and mission of John Hume, one of the most powerful and creative reflections of Nobel peace prize winner and SDLP leader, John Hume; have all been recognised as important and critical productions. Kieran’s dynamism, curiosity and desire to create brilliant theatre, are all the hallmarks of a creative and cultural leader."

Hawk's Well Theatre is a 340 seat theatre in Sligo dedicated to showcasing and promoting a diverse programme of arts and culture including professional and amateur theatre as well as a wide range of music, dance, comedy and family events and workshops. The theatre was opened in 1982 and has since been, and continues to be, the ‘empty space’ for a huge number of cultural events.

The theatre is annually funded by the Arts Council, Department of Social Protection and Sligo County Council. Firmly rooted as a social and cultural hub in the North West in recent years it has commissioned and produced several exciting collaboration projects with local and national artists, including The Man in the Woman’s Shoes and I Hear You and Rejoice with Mikel Murfi, The Second Coming with Fidget Feet and most recently Constance with Kellie Hughes and Michael Rooney.