GSA Board

Patrick Sutton


Patrick Sutton - DirectorPatrick Sutton is Director of The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland. He is also the Director of Smock Alley Theatre 1662. Trained at Dartington College of Arts, England, Patrick graduated in 1980 with an honours theatre degree. He also has an MA in Screenwriting from IADT. Patrick has worked extensively as an actor in Ireland, England and France. He is former Director of Plymouth Action Community Theatre, The National Festival of Youth Theatres, Ireland, Wexford Arts Centre, and Artistic Director of TEAM Theatre Company. Patrick has worked at a senior level in politics, industry and the arts. He was a government appointee to the board of The Irish Arts Council where he acted as chairman of the grants and business and finance subcommittees (1997-2005) From 2005-2009 he served on the board of Culture Ireland, the International Irish arts promotion agency.

Patrick is a former Government appointee to the board of The Irish Museum of Modern Art. He is a former board member of Storytellers Theatre Company and The Project Arts Centre. He is currently a board member of The Lisa Richards Actors agency, The Arts for Peace Foundation, The Gaiety School of Acting and Smock Alley Theatre and is appointed to the Governing Authority of The Dublin Institute of Technology. He frequently appeared as a guest presenter on MindFeed with Norah Casey on NewsTalk 106fm. Patrick is also Director of Communicate, a communications company working at senior level in Industry Politics and the Arts.

Joe Dowling


Joe Dowling - FounderJoe Dowling founded the Gaiety School of Acting in 1986 and was our chairman until 2011. He is currently the Director of the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Previously Joe worked as the Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre and the Managing Director of the Gaiety Theatre. He has directed plays in all major Irish theatres and also in London, New York, Washington, Montreal and the Banff Festival of the Arts, Alberta.

Donal Sheils


Donal Shiels has worked in the arts in Ireland and abroad for more than twenty years as a producer and promoter of theatre, opera, music and dance. He has also managed the China / Ireland Cultural Exchange on behalf of the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism, and was Chief Executive of St Patrick’s Festival – the largest annual event in Ireland for many years. More recently he has been Executive Producer with Lane Productions, and currently runs Verdant Productions and continues to produce a mixture of music, drama and comedy. He is also a board member of Druid Theatre and The James Joyce Centre.

Ger Canning

Vice Chairperson

President of the AEOA executive (Adult Education Officers’ Association)
Adult Education Officer, Cork VEC

Tony O’Dalaigh

Arts Consultant

Tony O Dalaigh is an Arts Consultant and a board member of St Patrick’s Festival and the Irish Romanian Cultural Foundation. He was the manager of An Damer from 1963-1965, general administrator of the Irish Theatre Company from 1974 to 1978, and director of Dublin Theatre Festival 1990 to 1999.

Karl Sheils


Karl is a well known and accomplished Irish actor and a former graduate of The Gaiety School of Acting. He is Artistic Director of Irish Company, Semper Fi, and has directed many projects for them. He has won several awards including the Best Actor Award at the Dublin Theatre festival for his role in Comedians in 1999. Since then he has been nominated for an IFTA for Best Actor in 2004, an Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2009, Best Actor Award in the 2010 Stage Awards and Best Actor at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2011.

He was awarded the Judge’s Special Award for his contribution to the development & promotion of Irish Theatre at the 2013 Irish Times Theatre Awards He has worked extensively on stage around Ireland and the UK over the years appearing in the Abbey, the Peacock Theatre, the Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court, the Helix, The Lyric (Belfast), the Hampstead Theatre (London) and the Studio Theatre (Washington DC).

Karl’s television work includes The Clinic (RTE), Doctors (BBC), Any Time Now (BBCNI), Attachments (BBC2) and On Home Ground (RTE). Film work includes Batman Begins, Veronica Guerin, Intermission, Mystics, Capital Letters and Che Guevara opposite John Hurt. Karl appears in the recurring role (Neil Sutherland) in Titanic: Blood And Steel a new TV Drama directed by Ciaran Donnelly for DAP and due for transmission in 2012. He most recently appeared as Goldfish in The House by Tom Murphy, directed by Annabelle Comyn at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

Catherine Leeney

Lecturer in Drama Studies, UCD

Cathy Leeney is lecturer in Drama Studies. She was Head of Subject from 2005 to 2008. Her academic experience includes creating and teaching courses in Stagecrafts, Gender, Identity and Performance, Irish Women Playwrights of the Twentieth Century, Irish Theatre 1950-80, Caryl Churchill, Contemporary Ireland Onstage, Beckett in Performance, Contemporary British Playwriting, Issues and Perspectives in Modern and Postmodern Theatre, and Text Analysis and Performance, Cathy is currently supervising doctoral research in contemporary Irish theatre and performance, contemporary American theatre, verse theatre in performance, and metatheatricality.

Candida Fitzgibbon


Candida Fitzgibbon is a practising barrister. She graduated with a law degree from Trinity College Dublin, a Masters in European Union Banking and Finance Law from the Universite du Luxembourg and the degree of barrister-at-law from The Honorable Society of King’s Inns. Prior to her call to the Bar, she was a student on the full-time professional actor training course at the Gaiety School of Acting. She continues to maintain a keen interest in and involvement with amateur dramatics.’