Rachel O'Riordan

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Rachel O'Riordan
Born1974 (age 4647) [1]
Cork, Ireland
OccupationTheatre director
TitleArtistic director, Lyric Theatre
Predecessor Sean Holmes
Spouse(s) Richard Dormer
Parent(s) Robert Anthony Welch
Angela O'Riordan

Rachel O'Riordan (born 1974) is an Irish theatre director. She is currently the artistic director at the Lyric Hammersmith, London. [2]


Early life and education

Born in Cork, Ireland to poet and novelist Robert Anthony Welch and Angela O'Riordan Welch, O'Riordan first trained as a ballet dancer. This culminated in a scholarship to the White Lodge, Royal Ballet School [3] and then Mariinsky Ballet (formerly Kirov). [4] She studied English and Theatre studies at Queen Mary, University of London, before completing her PhD entitled Shakespeare's Physical Text: The Body's Imperative at the University of Ulster in 2002. [5] [6]


From to 2002 to 2011, O'Riordan co-founded and ran the Ransom theatre company in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she directed the production Hurricane. The show was performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and earned a season in London's west-end and off-Broadway in New York City. [7] O'Riordan then completed a season with the Peter Hall Company, where she directed August Strindberg's Miss Julie, and an adaption of George Orwell's Animal Farm at the Theatre Royal in Bath, England. [8]

O'Riordan's tenure as artistic director of Ransom saw her commission and direct the first play by David Ireland, Arguments for Terrorism, and new plays Early Bird by Leo Butler and Transparency by Suzie Miller, Protestants by Robert Welch, and, the Irish famine-based This Piece of Earth by Richard Dormer. [3] [9] During this time she also ran a three-year programme entitled Writers on the Edge to develop new writing for women in Northern Ireland. [10]

O'Riordan was artistic director at the Perth Theatre between 2011 and 2014. Her first production was Shakespeare's Twelfth Night . [11] In October 2013, O'Riordan was announced as artistic director of the Sherman Theatre, and took up the post in February 2014. [12] In January 2016, she was named amongst the 100 most influential people in theatre in the UK by The Stage [13]

In February 2019 O'Riordan joined the Lyric Hammersmith, London as artistic director, succeeding Sean Holmes. [14]

Personal life

O'Riordan is married to actor Richard Dormer. [1]

Selected productions

2019A Doll's HouseLyric Hammersmith TheatreTanika GuptaThe first production of Rachel O'Riordan's tenureship as Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.
2018FoxfinderAmbassadors, LondonDawn King
2018BirdKatherine Chandler Sherman Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange
2018The Weir Sherman Theatre
2017Arabian Nights Sherman Theatre
2017The Cherry Orchard Sherman Theatre Anton Chekov, in a new version by Gary Owen
2017Unfaithful Traverse Theatre Owen McCafferty Edinburgh Festival
2017Killology Sherman Theatre/Royal Court Gary Owen Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre. [15]
2015/2016Iphigenia in Splott Sherman Theatre Gary Owen'Best new play' at the Theatre Awards UK. [16]
2013The Seafarer Perth Theatre, Lyric BelfastConor McPhersonShortlisted at the annual Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) for best ensemble, best production and best director. [17] Won 'Best Ensemble' and 'Best Director'. [18] [19]
2013Macbeth Perth Theatre William Shakespeare
2013Moonlight and Magnolias Perth Theatre Ron Hutchinson
2012Someone who'll watch over me Perth Theatre Frank McGuinness
2012Twelfth Night Perth Theatre William Shakespeare
2011Arguments for TerrorismOran MorDavid Ireland
2011Over the BridgeWaterfront BelfastSam Thompson
2011The Absence of WomenLyric Belfast/Tricycle TheatreOwen McCafferty
2008AbsolutionAssembly Rooms, Edinburgh FestivalOwen O'NeillWon the Best Director award in the First Irish Theatre Festival Awards in New York. [20]
2007Much ado about nothingLyric, BelfastWilliam Shakespeare
2006Ms JulieTheatre Royal, BathCo-direction with Sir Peter Hall
2006Everything is IlluminatedHampstead TheatreOwen McCafferty
2005The Glass MenagerieLyric, BelfastTennessee Williams
2005Animal FarmTheatre Royal, BathGeorge OrwellAdapted by Sir Peter Hall
2004HurricaneSoho Theatre/BroadwayRichard Dormer

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  2. "Lyric Team". Lyric Theatre Website. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  3. 1 2 "Stage is set for change". The Herald (Glasgow) (4 April 2012). Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  4. Richard Dormer speaking to Hannah Kennedy (29 March 2004). 20 Questions With...Richard Dormer Archived 30 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine . WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  5. "Rachel O'Riordan A". pressreader.com.
  6. Shakespeare's Physical Text British Library. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  7. David Finkle (21 June 2004). Hurricane review. TheaterMania. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  8. Allison Vale (2007).Animal Farm review. British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  9. Tammy Moore (12 October 2010). "My Cultural Life: Rachel O'Riordan". Culture Northern Ireland. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  10. Joe Nawaz (12 October 2012). THEATRE REVIEW: Write on the Edge Archived 16 June 2013 at Archive.today . Culture Northern Ireland. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  11. "Perthshire – Latest news updates, pictures, video, reaction – Daily Record". perthshireadvertiser.co.uk. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  12. "Sherman Cymru Announces New Artistic Director" Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine . Sherman Cymru (15 October 2013). Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  13. "The Stage 100 2016 (top 5) – Features – The Stage". The Stage. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  14. "Rachel O'Riordan will take over from Sean Holmes at Lyric Hammersmith". London Evening Standard. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  15. "Olivier Award win for Cardiff play". BBC News. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  16. "What's On". birmingham-rep.co.uk. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  17. "The Seafarer nominated for three awards". Lyric Theatre, News. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  18. Alan Cumming and Blythe Duff win best actor awards. BBC News (9 June 2013). Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  19. Thom Dibin (9 June 2013). "Alan Cumming and Perth’s The Seafarer win at Scottish theatre awards". The Stage. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  20. Owen O'neill. Retrieved 26 November 2014.