Abbey’s Artistic Directors Stepping Down

12th August 2020 by admin

On Tuesday, 28th July 2020, it was announced that Graham McLaren and Neil Murray are to step down from their roles in July 2021. The press release noted: “In view of the challenges and opportunities in the coming years, and following consideration of its strategy and its leadership requirements for that period, the board has decided that this new leadership structure is in the best interests of the national theatre”.

Their tenure was problematic, causing an outcry among theatre practitioners and provoking a highly effective campaign, of which WGI member Joe O’Byrne was at the forefront. Of particular concern to the WGI was the abolition of the position of Literary Manager and its replacement with the new role of Dramaturg, which the Guild feels diminishes the independence and status of the previous position, the importation of productions previously presented by theatre companies elsewhere and, most alarmingly, the radical reduction of the number of new, full-length plays by Irish writers actually produced and staged by the Abbey.

Attempts to get the management to address the substantive issues foundered and the temperature of the exchanges grew white hot. The Guild published a letter declaring no confidence in the Abbey Board and campaigned directly to the Arts Council and the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage where it became clear there was a considerable sympathy with our point of view.

The Writers Guild of Ireland share the Abbey’s concern for the best interests of the national theatre, and wish the Abbey board every success in the hunt for a new director/s.

Paul Stuart

12th August 2020 by admin

It is with deep regret and sadness that we mourn the passing of Guild member Paul Stuart. Paul was a very bright, talented and dedicated writer and artist. He worked hard at his craft, had a brilliant sense of humour and would regularly engage people in lively conversations and debates.

Paul was extremely well-liked and will be sorely missed by his friends in the Guild. Paul was a terrific addition to the writing group team, always supportive, patient and had a wonderful sense of humour. He’ll be really missed.

- Patricia Kelly

Paul had a distinctive voice on and off the page. He wrote in every genre, he was so talented he could create different worlds, unfortunately he left this one too soon. Paul was loved by everyone in the group and will be sadly missed.

- Lesley McLoughlin

Paul Stuart was such an important member of the group when I was there. He was everything that a creative group needs in its members. He was enthusiastic, really inclusive and very adept at reading the room. He knew how to put new members at their ease and he also was very good at dispelling tension. And, he was funny. Very funny. In summary, Paul was sound. Paul was also a talented writer with an abundance of original ideas. He was great at pitching and I still smile when I think of Paul leaning over the table and pointing an index finger in the air to begin a pitch with the phrase ‘Picture this …’ It wasn’t until Paul left the group that I realised what a natural, unassuming leader he had been. I feel very lucky that there was a time in my life when, every second Thursday, I got to sit in a room with Paul for a couple of hours and dream.

- Ciara Flanagan

The Guild would encourage any member who is anxious, stressed, depressed or struggling with any emotions or any kind of difficulty, no matter how small or large that difficulty might be, to please contact a friend, family member or someone they would be comfortable talking to. Practical and emotional support is available. Please do not hesitate to reach out.



Helpline: 1800 80 48 48

Phone: 01 661 7211

Support Email:




Text: HELP to 51444

Helpline: 1800 247 247

Phone: 01 628 2111




Helpline: 116 123

Support Email:



Helpline: 0761 07 4000



Helpline: 0761 07 2000




Helpline: 0761 07 2000

Support Email:

A full list of helplines can be found here:

IFTA Nominations Announced for the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020

23rd July 2020 by admin

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) has announced the 2020 IFTA Nominations for the Irish Academy Awards across 25 categories in Film and Drama.

Below is a list of members nominated for their work.

Please note that the Best Film Nominees this year have been split into two categories  – Film 2019 and Film 2020, while other categories have been expanded from 4 to 6 nominees to reflect the work from over the last two years.

Pierce Ryan

Black 47 was nominated for Best Film 2019 at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Pierce Ryan wrote the script with PJ Dillon and Eugene O’Brien.

Carmel Winters

Float Like a Butterfly was nominated for Best Film 2019 at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Carmel Winters wrote the script as well as directing this ZeBBie-winning drama.

Carmel was also nominated for Best Script Film for Float Like a Butterfly.

Roddy Doyle

Rosie was nominated for Best Film 2019 at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Roddy Doyle wrote the script for Rosie, which was directed by Paddy Breathnach.

Roddy was also nominated for Best Script Film for Rosie.

Stuart Drennan

The Dig was nominated for Best Film 2019 at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Stuart Drennan wrote the script for The Dig, which was directed by Andy Tohill and Ryan Tohill.

Lee Cronin

The Hole in the Ground was nominated for Best Film 2019 at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Lee Cronin and Stephen Shields wrote the script forThe Hole in the Ground, which was directed by Lee Cronin.

Mark O’Halloran

Rialto was nominated for Best Script Film at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Mark O’Halloran wrote the script, which was directed by Peter Mackie Burns.

Tristan Heanue

Ciúnas (Silence) was nominated for Best Short Film at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Tristan Heanue wrote the script and directed the film.

Ronan Blaney

Here’s Looking at you Kid! was nominated for Best Short Film at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Ronan Blaney wrote the script, which was directed by Michael Lennox.

Tracy Martin

Sister This was nominated for Best Short Film at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Tracy Martin wrote the script, which was directed by Claire Byrne.

Paul Webster

The Vasectomy Doctor was nominated for Best Short Film at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Paul Webster wrote the script and directed the film.

Hugh O’Conor

The Overcoat was nominated for Best Animated Short at the IFTA Film and Drama Awards 2020. Hugh O’Conor wrote the script, which was directed by Sean Mullen.

View the full list of nominations here.

The Academy is currently finalising plans for a bespoke virtual 2020 Awards Ceremony scheduled for September with full details to be announced shortly.


22nd July 2020 by admin

Aoife Noonan has written three short films, A Terrible Hullabaloo, Herstory: Mary Elmes and The Chancers Guide to Dublin, produced through her company Bowsie, which she owns with writing partner Ben O’Connor.  They have worked in special effects winning an IFTA in 2018, and are now focussing on production.

Clíona Ruiséil: Tell me about the script you’re currently writing?

Aoife Noonan: I’m currently co-writing a film script called Something at the End with Ben, for which we’ve coined the genre Cyberpunk Fairytale.  It’s an experimental sci-fi film funded by the Arts Council.

Shooting has been delayed with the current situation so we’re using the opportunity to develop the script.

CR: What inspired you to write this particular story?

AN: It started with an image of a giant machine which we thought was interesting, and we grew the story out from there.  A lot of what we had been reading and talking about in terms of society and our relationship with technology has found a place in the story so it came together quite naturally.

CR: In terms of the creative construction, tell me about the stages you went through when writing the script?

AN: As visual artists we normally start with a visual idea or concept and build the story out from there.  We enjoy playing around with ideas, often the original idea is discarded as we flesh it out, but the tone or concept might still be there in a different form.

For a long time we talk and talk and very little writing gets done, but once the outline is solid we can get it into a script format quite quickly.

It’s a really low budget film for what we’re planning to do, so the script itself is loose and will have to accommodate the tight budget.

I love David Lynch, and he talks about writing all your ideas down and then stringing them into a story and that’s definitely an approach that we use.  For this script we were pretty clear on what the beginning and ending would be from the start, the middle of the film was a big unknown for a while.  We have a lot of ideas that were never used for other projects and we just tried them out to see if they would add something interesting to the world.  Like ideas for music videos that never got made, but now they sit naturally in this story and brought it somewhere new you might not have thought of before.

We stick all of the story beats and visual ideas up on the wall and move them around to see what fits where.  We quickly know the must-have scenes, others that aren’t strong enough on their own are discarded or elements get folded into another scene.  We have a board of ideas and interesting quotes that starts to look like the work of a madman.  If we’re stuck for an idea of where to take a script we’ll look to that and see if anything pops up.

CR: Are there elements of writing a script you find particularly easy or difficult?

AN: Just writing it down can be difficult – and not always due to chronic procrastination.  I enjoy the stage where you’re throwing around concepts, and everything is open.  Writing it into a script format feels like a commitment or can be a bit restrictive.

I cut or change characters or locations multiple times as an idea comes to me and it ends up a bit of an incoherent mess. If I push past that and the story starts to take shape I start to find where ideas fit in the story or have to answer questions I never thought about, so there’s a lot of thinking to do and then it’s fun again. Getting over that hump is probably what I find most difficult and plenty of scripts have been abandoned at that stage when I couldn’t tie ideas together into a script format.

CR: Have you got a producer on board?

AN: We’re producing ourselves through Bowsie.  We’ve produced three short films, and this will be our first feature film. It suits us to have full control over the creative and budgetary decisions, so it’s been a really enjoyable project so far.

CR: Why do you write?

AN: As a child, I was the classic introvert with her head stuck in a book at all times.  My mam once told me that I should do a job where I sit in a room alone – I’m not sure if that was for the benefit of myself or other people, to be honest.  But I enjoy it, so I see no better reason to do anything.


You can watch Herstory: Mary Elmes here and The Chancers Guide to Dublin here.

Scriptorium means a place for writing – so this is a place for you to discuss your work, your views on writing in general, your thoughts on the industry and anything else you’d like to mention. You can focus on a script that you’ve written which was produced during the last year, or one you’re currently writing. We hope you enjoy this series and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We welcome in particular writers who may have an unusual or atypical experience of scriptwriting in Ireland in terms of their ethnicity, gender, age, physical ability, socio-economic background or other life experience.

Bheadh áthas orainn freisin a chloisteáil ó scríbhneoirí le Gaeilge gur mhaith leo an agallamh a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge.

If you’d like to participate simply email:

WGI & BAI Webinar Series 2020

8th July 2020 by admin

Over the last three years, the BAI has supported a number of initiatives aimed at supporting female screenwriters. We are delighted to announce their support for a series of three virtual seminars in 2020. The first of these: Mapping Your Career will take place as a webinar on Thursday, 16th July at 11am.

The event, which is open to female WGI members only, aims to provide practical advice and guidance so that writers can develop a strategic plan for their screenwriting career: developing business skills, who to know and how to connect with them, how to develop your own ’slate’ of projects, how to market yourself and your work and how to survive financially while progressing your work.

The session will be introduced by lecturer Dr Susan Liddy, moderated by Screenwriter Jennifer Davidson with panellists Writer & Director Carmel Winters and Producer Emma Norton.

You can register for the event using this link:

A limited number of female members will be able to sign up for this webinar, on a first come first served basis. Questions for the panellists (in English or Irish) must be submitted by Tuesday, 14th July to: We wish to encourage members who identify with any of the following categories to sign up for this webinar: members with disabilities; members from a minority ethnic background; members who are LGBTQ+; members experiencing socio-economic hardship or other difficulty.

In the coming months we will be announcing a further series of exciting online events with support from Screen Skills Ireland which aim to inform and support all our members across the country.

Dr Susan Liddy is a lecturer in media in MIC, Limerick. She is chair of the WGI Equality Action Committee. Her book ‘Women in the Irish Film Industry: Stories and Storytellers’ was published in February 2020.

Deputy Chair of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland, Jennifer Davidson is an experienced TV drama writer. She currently writes for RTE’s Fair City, and has a number of original projects in development.

Carmel Winters is an award-winning writer and director for stage and screen. Her most recent film ‘Float Like A Butterfly’ won the FIPRESCI international critics’ award at Toronto International Film Festival and her theatre plays have premiered at the Abbey Theatre and beyond.

Emma Norton is a Producer at Element Pictures where she executive produced Normal People, for BBC / Hulu. Norton works across film and television and is based in Dublin.