Artistic Director – Patrick J O’Reilly
My name is Patrick J O’Reilly and I am a theatre maker/performer based in Belfast Northern Ireland. Since 2016, I have been appointed as Artistic Director for Tinderbox Theatre Company based in Belfast where I have implemented a vision of liberation and playfulness for the development and celebration of artistic collaboration in Ireland. My greatest passion lies in the roots of shamanism, ritual and the mask; to connect with the sacred nature of theatre to engage our communities to the power of performance in theatre.
My training initially followed a vocational path receiving a BA Hons in Brighton back in 2003. I subsequently worked as an actor and writer for 7 years before finishing my studies at the Le Coq school in Paris.
There, I was given the invaluable space to explore and discover the incredible potential of the Imagination through play and all of my work to date aspires to ignite, connect and re-imagine a new world of making art.
I work in true collaboration with artists, participants and audiences. I believe creativity is a shared experience where we all are equally responsible in creating space and sharing stories as an interdependent ecology.
Producer – Meg Magill
Prior to producing, I worked extensively as a stage manager, regularly working with the Lyric Theatre, The MAC, NI Opera and Kabosh Theatre Company to name a few. In 2020, I obtained a Masters Degree in Event Management from Ulster University.
I’m passionate about developing new performance work, creating theatre in unconventional spaces and increasing arts engagement with new audiences. I’m incredibly committed to championing Northern Ireland’s artistic talent and creating art that is environmentally conscious, both in content and working practice.
If you would like to reach out to Patrick or Meg, you can contact us here.
Tinderbox’s Board of Directors
Stephen Beggs (Chair)
Stephen is a freelance actor, director, facilitator, writer and producer. He has a Theatre Studies Degree from the University of Ulster. He was the Manager of Bruiser Theatre Company for 12 years, leaving to go freelance at the end of 2013. Since then he has been creating his own work in theatre; working with most of Northern Ireland’s fantastic theatre companies and festivals; and facilitating arts projects in the education and healthcare sector. He premiered his solo show ‘The King Of East Belfast’ at the 2020 EastSide Arts Festival.
Stephen has been a Board member since December 2018.
Neil Bull trained as an actor at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, working throughout the UK and internationally in regional theatre, the West End and also in television, film and radio. He retrained as a Director with the Young Vic Directors Program and Living Pictures with whom he is an associate artist, and has worked at Nottingham Playhouse, The Watermill Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the Royal & Derngate, Theatre503 and the Arcola.
He has also worked in an administrative capacity for Really Useful Theatres, The Ambassador Theatre Group and Delfont Mackintosh. Neil was a script reader for Tinderbox from 2014 – 2016 before joining the board in 2016, and is based in London. He is currently studying Counselling and Psychotherapy at Regent’s University.
Neil has been a Board member since September 2016.
Dr Stefanie Lehner
Stefanie is Lecturer in Irish Literature at Queen’s University, Belfast, and Fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. Her research interests are in contemporary Irish and Scottish writing as well as post-conflict literature and culture, specifically Northern Irish fiction and drama. She has been working on two PaCCS-funded projects with local theatre companies, including Tinderbox.
She is author of Subaltern Ethics in Contemporary Scottish and Irish Literature: Tracing Counter-Histories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and is currently editing a collection on The Promise of Peace in Northern Ireland (Manchester University Press). Her work on Tinderbox productions has been published in Contemporary Theatre Review and The Irish Review.
Stefanie has been a Board member since October 2016.
Lisa is Head of Operations of the MAC, a vibrant arts centre in the heart of Belfast that has welcomed over 2 million visitors since opening in 2012. Lisa has been with the MAC for 8 years and has over 20 years senior management experience with large customer facing organisations including Belfast International Airport and My Kinda Town, an international chain of restaurants and bars. Most recently she has managed the redevelopment of the MAC Café Bar in December 2018.
She is on the Strategic Development and Advocacy Task Group of the Cathedral Quarter Trust which supports the development and protection of the built heritage of The Cathedral Quarter. Lisa has studied at Trinity College Dublin, is a Business and Management Graduate from Queen’s University Belfast and is currently completing a MA in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University.
Lisa has been a Board member since October 2019.
Janine Walker is an actress, dramatist and drama facilitator. She is co-founder of Spanner in the Works Theatre Company and was a participant in Tinderbox Theatre’s Play Machine Actor Training Programme 2018/19. From 2007 until 2014, Janine was appointed as Board Member of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
She has worked in the arts sector in Northern Ireland for over 20 years – as Arts Manager at Arts & Business NI and General Manager at Arts Care. She is a law graduate from Queen’s University Belfast and has a Masters with Commendation in Drama & Performance Studies, also from Queen’s University Belfast. Janine is currently the Arts Officer (Programming) for Newry Mourne & Down District Council and is based at Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick.
Janine has been a Board member since Oct 2019.
Lee Robb (Secretary)
Lee is the founder of Positive Carrickfergus CIC which is focused building community and a sense of belonging in Carrickfergus. She is also co-founder of Repair Cafe Belfast and loves helping out at their pop up community repair events and working with her co-founder to help new repair cafes get up and running outside Belfast.
Lee has also worked with a range of arts organisations as an employee and as a freelancer, including Culture Night, Wheelworks and Belfast Community Circus School. She has more than 20 years experience in the voluntary and community sector with significant experience designing funding programmes and processes for the National Lottery Community Fund. Lee is obsessed with how to create positive change and trained as a coach when working with NLCF. As part of that work she acquired a qualification in Systems Thinking in Practice from the OU in 2017.
Lee has been a Board member since December 2020.
Sally Rees is a creative and enthusiastic teacher with 25 years experience teaching Drama and Performing Arts. She is Leader of Learner for Creative and Expressive Arts at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School. Sally co-wrote the CCEA A level Performing Arts specification and is the serving Principal Moderator.
Sally also works as a freelance events and project manager, currently as project support for Wilde ISLAND TOWN, and Festival Manager: Enniskillen for Arts Over Borders – Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival and Wilde Weekend. An avid advocate for the Arts in Fermanagh, Sally is an active Chair of Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, and Co-chair of FODC Arts and Culture Forum.
Rachel has been the Marketing Manager at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast – Northern Ireland’s only full time producing theatre since January 2019. Leading on strategy for the theatre’s marketing with a focus on PR, Lyric produced shows and supporting visiting companies, Rachel has a passion for new writing and work.
Rachel has worked for various organisations in the Not-for-profit/charity sector in the past 10 years, primarily in the arts but also for grant-maker, the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. She is involved with the change-makers group hoping to encourage and ignite change in the arts, new ways of working and collaboration.
Rachel has been a Board member since December 2020.
Chris is Head of Marketing at Tate galleries. He was previously Head of Engagement and Sales at the Federation of British Artists and the Mall Galleries. Prior to this he worked in Australia for 6 years holding CMO positions at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Australian Centre of Moving Image.
He has a 25-year career in communications management spanning broadcasting, sport, arts, music, health, events and human rights. Previous UK roles include Director of Marketing Communications and Audiences at the British Film Institute; Head of Consumer Marketing for BBC Global News; Head of Marketing at Welsh National Opera and the Barbican Centre; and Director of Strategy and Communications at The Royal Parks during the run up to the 2012 Olympics.
Chris worked in Burma on HIV prevention, Ireland on BBC Music Live festival and was Chair of Diversions Dance Company in Wales.
Chris has been a Board member since February 2021.
Matthew trained at the Lyric Theatre’s Drama Studio programme whilst studying Drama at Queen’s University Belfast. He is a classically trained singer and has experience performing with the likes of St. George’s Choir, Belfast, Northern Ireland Opera, Voices of Ireland, Concentio Chamber Choir and various other musical ensembles.
Upon graduating from Queen’s University Belfast in 2015, Matthew joined Belfast-based corporate communications agency Lanyon Group where he is now a Senior Associate. He has worked across all aspects of Lanyon’s corporate communications activity, with a particular focus on PR & media engagement, branding, design & creative outputs; and events management & production.
Matthew has been a Board member since February 2021 and is also a member of the CBI NI Future Leaders Forum.