Carndonagh woman Caitríona McLaughlin has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre.

McLaughin will join the staff of the renowned Dublin theatre in early May.

The board of the national theatre decided in July 2020 to hold an open competition to fill two distinct leadership roles to deliver on the Abbey Theatre’s strategy and ambition over the next five years.

Caitríona McLaughlin, Abbey Theatre

Caitríona is a highly-distinguished, award-winning theatre director, who has been an Associate Director at the Abbey since 2017. As Artistic Director, she will lead on the objectives relating to Art and Audience in the Abbey Theatre strategy.  Over the last number of years, she has directed in London, Dublin, and New York. Recent productions at the Abbey include The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh; Citysong by Dylan Coburn Gray (ITTA nomination Best New Play); and On Raftery’s Hill, by Marina Carr for which she won Best Director at the 2019 Irish Times Theatre Awards.

Commenting on her appointment, Caitríona McLaughlin said: “We are in a time of profound and existential change; but also one of potential and renewal.

“I am thrilled to be taking up this position at this pivotal moment, and fully embrace both the responsibility and opportunity of it.

“We need to find and champion new voices and new ways of seeing. This means identifying combinations of characters we are yet to meet on our stages, having conversations we are yet to hear whilst also engaging in an interrogation of our classical canon with an urgency and curiosity about what makes it speak to this moment.

“Our stories teach us what it is to belong, and what it is to be excluded and exclude.

“My journey as Artistic Director begins with these twin impulses, and with two questions: who were we, and who are we now?”

Mark O’Brien was also announced as the Abbey’s new Executive Director.