Researchers at UCD

Cathy Leeney


School Of English, Drama & Film
Sheehy-Skeffington Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168967


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.

Cathy's interest in directing theatre grew from work as an actor and director in student theatre, and she developed the MA in Directing for Theatre Programme at UCD from 2004 which she co-directs with colleague Finola Cronin. She trained in directing with the British Theatre Association in London, and has directed professionally for Moveable Feast Theatre Company (Dublin Theatre Festival), Pigsback Theatre Company (now Fishamble), and Bright Boy Productions. She has also worked as Director and Assistant Director at the Abbey Theatre Dublin, with Rough Magic Theatre Company and with Marillac Theatre Company (Belfast). She is currently developing a performance of the long poem 'Now Is a Moveable Feast' (by Irish poet and playwright Anne Hartigan) which has been supported by a residency at the Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakkerig.

In March 2004, Cathy organised 'Meyerhold Directing' a practice-based conference on Vsevolod Meyerhold, seminal Russian director of the early twentieth century. Participants included the world-renowned Edward Braun, Brian Woolland (Reading University), Mike Wilcock (UCD), and Marina Burke (QUB).

In 2010 her monograph on Irish Women Playwrights, 1900-1939 was published and launched by director Garry Hynes. She co-edited The Theatre of Marina Carr (with Anna McMullan) in 2003, and in 2001 edited the first collection of new plays by Irish women, Seen and Heard, and has written on contemporary Irish theatre and performance. Current projects include articles on the first production of The Only Jealousy of Emer by W.B. Yeats (with Eric Alexander), on Rough Magic Theatre Company, and a new book on directing and designing in Irish theatre. 

She is a founder member and was founding Vice-President of the Irish Society of Theatre Research and is a member of the Irish Theatrical Diaspora group, an international network of theatre scholars dedicated to promoting research on the production and reception of Irish theatre inside and outside Ireland.



Book Chapters

Leeney, Cathy.,; (2004) 'Ireland’s Exiled Women Playwrights: Teresa Deevy and Marina Carr' In: Shaun Richards (eds). The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Irish Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge Univerity Press. [Details]
Leeney, C. ed. Shaun Richards; (2004) 'Exiled at Home: Teresa Deevy and Marina Carr' In: (Cambridge University Press, 2004) (eds). Cambridge Guide to Modern Irish Drama. [Details]
Leeney, C.; (2003) 'Contributions on Irish theatre topics and practitioners' In: ed. by Dennis Kennedy (Oxford University Press, 2003) (eds). Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. [Details]
Leeney, C.; (2002) 'The Return of Persephone: Lost and Found' In: Declan Kiberd, Marianne McDonald and Michael Walton (eds). Amid Our Troubles: Irish Versions of Greek Tragedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Leeney, C.; (2004) 'The New Woman in a New Ireland: Grania After Naturalism'. Irish University Review, 34 (1). [Details]


Research Interests

Contemporary and Twentieth Century Irish Theatre and Performance; Women in Theatre; Directing; Contemporary Performance