Mary Moynihan MA – Professional Biography
- 1999-2000 DIT
MA in Film Production, Honours (2.1)
- 1995-1999 Trinity College, Dublin
BA in Drama and Theatre Studies, Honours (2.1)
- 1990 London College of Music
A.L.C.M. Diploma. Subjects: Speech and Drama
Mary Moynihan is a creative artist and theatre maker working in professional theatre and film. She is a writer, director, actor and lecturer.
Mary lectures in drama and theatre studies for the BA in Drama (Performance) with Honours at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where she directs and teaches the Stanislavski system of actor training, Augusto Boal and Michael Chekhov techniques, movement and drama facilitation and directs final year performances.
Mary is a founding member and current Artistic Director of Smashing Times Theatre Company, which is involved in professional performance, training and participation. The work of the company is underpinned by a rights-based approach and a commitment to artistic excellence and social engagement.
Mary originally trained as an actor and director at Focus Theatre under the direction of Deirdre O’Connell, her friend and mentor and today continues her involvement as an associate director/artist.
Mary has an honours MA in Film Production from the Dublin Institute of Technology and an honours BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Dublin Trinity College.
As an actor Mary has worked in theatre, television and film, including RTE’s Fair City, Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba at the Focus Theatre and End of Term by Maeve Binchy on nationwide tour. For full information on Mary’s work as an actor please see her acting CV.
As a theatre director, professional directing credits include Uprising scripted by Tara McKevitt and devised by Smashing Times Theatre Company at Project Arts Centre Dublin and on national tour; Thou Shalt Not Kill by Paul Kennedy at Project Arts Centre Dublin and Lyric Theatre Belfast; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett Theatre; Macbeth by William Shakespeare, DIT Theatre; Orphans by Dennis Kelly for Smashing Times Theatre and PlayLeft Productions in association with Focus Theatre; The Crucible by Arthur Miller, St. Dymphna’s Oratory, Grangegorman; Shattering Glass and In One Breath (Testimonies) for Smashing Times Theatre; Olga from Picasso’s Women by Brian McAvera for Focus Theatre; Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams, Mill Theatre Dundrum; Two Rooms by Lee Blessing for Focus Theatre; Talk To Me Like The Rain and Let Me Listen… by Tennessee Williams, Focus Theatre; May Our Faces Haunt You (nationwide tour); A Chain of Hands (Royal Hibernian Academy, National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks and the Mansion House, Dublin); Medea (Smashing Times on nationwide tour); and Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca and Riders to the Sea by JM Synge, both at Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin.
As a playwright, Mary’s work includes In One Breath from the highly acclaimed Testimonies (co-written with Paul Kennedy), Daniel, May Our Faces Haunt You, Out of the Outside and Silent Screams.
Mary is the author of ‘Loving the art in yourself’ and ‘Interview with Margaret Toomey’ in Stanislavski in Ireland – Focus at 50 edited by Steve Burch & Brian Mc Avera, published by Carysfort Press, 2013. She wrote a chapter titled ‘Death of a Mother’ for Motherhood In Ireland, edited by Dr Patricia Kennedy, Department of Social Policy, UCD, Mercier Press, 2003. She co-authored a chapter titled ‘Laughing Together: Community-based theatre’s vital sense of humour’ for Comedy in Contemporary Irish Theatre, edited by Dr Eric Weitz, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Carysfort Press, 2004.
Mary co-designed the theatre models with Paul Kennedy for Acting for the Future, a project that uses theatre to promote positive mental health and suicide prevention run by Smashing Times in partnership with the Samaritans and the Irish Association of Suicidology. The models were developed with support from Joan Freeman, Pieta House and Karen Ward, holistic psychotherapist. Mary was involved in curriculum design, tutoring and assessment for Acting for Peace – Creative Training in Drama and Theatre, delivered by Smashing Times in partnership with the Mid-Ulster Women’s Network and accredited by University College Dublin. The training consisted of two new accredited programmes including the Diploma in Drama Facilitation Skills (teacher training).
Mary is the author of four new drama workshop models to promote anti-racism, anti-sectarianism, human rights and gender equality and storytelling to promote reconciliation. The models are published in Acting for Change published by Smashing Times Theatre Company.
Mary’s theatre work takes place in both professional and non-traditional theatre spaces and she is interested in intra-art collaborative practices. Her work is physical-based and focuses on primal, visceral and intuitive responses to vulnerability and conflict and an exploration of self and the other. She focuses on the interconnectedness of the body, voice and imagination and the use of creative physical and spiritual energies, revealing the inner life through physical and intuitive engagements. Mary’s vision is for a theatre process of passion and truth to explore human relationships, to promote social justice and equality and to engage audiences viscerally, imaginatively and emotionally.
Mary is the mother of three boys, Féilim, Naoise and Éanna and a daughter Ella. She dedicates her theatre work to the memory of her mother and father Helen and Eddie Moynihan.
Press Reviews of Directing Work
- ‘Visceral…simmers and boils…unexpected laughs complete this fully-rounded theatrical experience’
The Sunday Tribune
- ‘Mary Moynihan’s direction…propels this production and the actors to such an impressive degree that it makes Orphans essential theatre for our time’
Irish Theatre Magazine
- ‘’Mary Moynihan directs with superb performances. . Two Rooms is a thought provoking play’’
The Sunday Business Post
- ‘’Scenes nicely choreographed by Mary Moynihan. . powerful and moving . . a powerful play’’
Ireland on Sunday
- ‘’Mary Moynihan directs with a true feel for her material. . a magnetic portrayal’’
The Irish Times
- ‘’ a gripping political drama. . . the tension is very subtly built up with a seamless intercutting of scenes . . coupled with the contrasting pairs of characters that make the play consistently effective . . verdict: Make room for this one in your diary. Five Stars’’
Irish Daily Mail
- ‘’Two Rooms is a compelling piece of theatre, performed with conviction and staged with deft simplicity. . a gripping and insightful portrait of personal tragedy and the politics surrounding it’’
- ‘’Time Magazine’s play of the year award and it is easy to see why. . Mary Moynihan directs the piece with considerable skill’’
The Sunday Independent
Press Reviews of Acting Work
Blood and Ice by Liz Lockhead
‘’Mary Moynihan excels as her own namesake’’
The Evening Press
The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca at Focus Theatre
‘’A spectacular representation of Lorca’s spirit and intensity. . the cast is equally accomplished, particularly from Mary Moynihan. . if you want Lorca as he should be played then see this production’’
Emer O’Kelly, Sunday Independent
‘’The performance by Mary Moynihan is earthy and honest’’
End of Term by Maeve Binchy
‘’Good acting by a committed cast . . Mary Moynihan is excellent as the teacher’’
The Irish Times
Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling
‘’It is terrific, beautiful, deeply moving, performed to a high standard. . the cast are perfect from (. . . ) to Mary Moynihan’s gauche Annette . . an exceptional production of a beautiful play’’
‘’Mary Moynihan is impressive as the dippy Christian zealot’’
Red Devils by Debbie Horsfield
Mary Moynihan and (. . . ) play the girls as to the manner and Manchester accent born. They are quite deplorably funny, building to a hilarious climax when their team scores, then trying to cope with the underbelly of catharsis. . . this team puts it in the net.
The Irish Times
The Rape – One Woman Show by Franca Rame
‘’The Rape, a clearly autobiographical work by Ms Rame . . is the bleakest of reconstructions, one that internalises the savagery of the crime in a way that graphic reproduction could never do. Mary Moynihan’s understated performance hits the right note, the feelings of degradation that hurts more than the cigarette burns. The author’s courage comes through this testimony by and to a shining spirit, a reflective piece of real strength and depth’’.
The Irish Times
Time’s Up by Carmel Winters and Patrick Mc Cabe
‘’The most difficult part is that of Eilish, Mary Moynihan makes two great fists of it’’
‘’the talented showcased here are certainly worth a visit’’
The Irish Times
‘’Mary Moynihan and ( . . ) play Eilish and Seamus, drowning in the confusion between loyalty to the cause and loyalty to human love . . and there is great tormented passion in the well-controlled performances of the two principles’’
Press Reviews of Testimonies co-written with Paul Kennedy and co-directed with Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and Ena May.
“Smashing Times Theatre Company has a deserved reputation for exploring social issues with sensitivity and in depth. This new work deals with the difficult aspect of suicide in three monologues based on interviews with people who lost loved ones to self- destruction… let me say first that the plays are true theatre, reaching out and embracing their listeners. . extraordinary. …this work points the way rather than draws maps. Smashing Times must continue with it.”
Gerry Colgan, The Irish Times, 21st November 2005
‘’The three actors have the gift of immediacy and authenticity and pull the audience in…credible and compelling…outstanding performances…crafted, nuanced, seering…raw power… the monologues (are) compelling… moving… this play should find an engaged and passionate audience for its sensitive storytelling.”
“Companies like Smashing Times… consistently produce work that is self-consciously political, work that seeks to provoke and engage debate about the way we organize society and our lives. They take a risk; the risk of being worthy, earnest and didactic; the risk of failing to resolve their chosen issues into a coherent and compelling drama; the risk of wearing their woolly liberal hearts on their sleeves, of being, fatally, uncool. In Testimonies, Smashing Times have courted those risks and survived. The three monologues that make up Testimonies each deal with suicide. What is amazing is they manage to do so without being maudlin, angst-ridden or sentimental…These are the people left behind, not gifted with some knowledge or insight from beyond the grave as to what slowly and then finally drove their loved ones to kill themselves. The struggling to understand and labouring with guilt is the most moving aspect of the piece”.
Colin Murphy, Village Magazine 17-23 November 2005
“a new play about suicide…has turned into an unexpected theatrical hit among young people… the biggest response to the play has been amongst young people… It has really struck a chord’’
Jerome Reilly, Sunday Independent, 13th November 2005