Olwen Fouéré

Olwen Fouéré is an actress and writer/director in theatre, film and visual arts. She was born on the west coast of Ireland of Breton parents Yann Fouéré and Marie-Magdeleine Mauger.[1] In 2020, she was listed at number 22 on The Irish Times list of Ireland's greatest film actors.[2]

Olwen Fouéré



As a freelance actress, Fouéré works internationally in English and French with numerous appearances at the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre in Ireland, the Royal National Theatre in England, the Bouffes du Nord in Paris, at Brooklyn Academy of Music New York, Sydney Theatre Company Australia and Shakespeare Theatre Company, DC. In 1980 she formed Operating Theatre, an avant-garde theatre company with composer Roger Doyle. She later established an artistic entity called TheEmergencyRoom for the development of her ongoing projects which have included the creation of her internationally acclaimed RIVERRUN (her adaptation of the voice of the river in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake); her staging of Lessness by Samuel Beckett (Barbican, Galway International Arts Festival and Project Arts Centre, Dublin); her translation and production of Danse, Morob, written for her by the French writer Laurent Gaudé and her translation and performances of Sodome, My Love (in association with Rough Magic) also by Laurent Gaudé; a film project co-directed by Kevin Abosch from a script by Anne Enright titled Cassandra:fragments of a playscript.

Play Role Director Author Venue Company Year
UNWOMAN III Unwoman (solo) The Rabble - Dublin Fringe Festival and Melbourne - -
Ballyturk 3 Enda Walsh Enda Walsh Abbey Theatre 2017 and St Ann's Warehouse New York 2018 Landmark Theatre Productions & Galway International Festival 2017, 2018
WHAT IF WOMEN RULED THE WORLD The President - Yael Bartana Manchester International Festival at Aarhus and Volksbuhne Berlin - -
SALOME Nameless Woman - Yaël Farber - Shakespeare Theatre Company Washington DC and National Theatre, London -
LEFT BEHIND: SONGS OF 1916 WIDOWS Narrator - Simon O’Connor and Michelle O’Rourke - National Concert Hall, Dublin -
THE FEVER - - Fintan O’Toole - Belfast Festival -
DEATH AT INTERVALS Death Kellie Hughes - - Galway International Festival / Dublin Theatre Festival -
EMBODIED Performer Megan & Jessica Kennedy - Junk Ensemble Production - -
RIVERRUN Solo performance Olwen Fouéré (with co-director Kellie Hughes) Olwen Fouéré TheEmergencyRoom/ Galway International Arts Festival/ International tour - -
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Dr. Chausuble Antony McDonald Composer: Gerald Barry NI Opera - -
A TENDER THING Juliet Selina Cartmell - Siren Productions - -
MARIA DE BUENOS ARIES El Duende Conor Hanratty - - Cork Opera House -
THE RITE OF SPRING / PETRUSHKA the Cailleach Michael Keegan - Dolan - English National Opera & Sadler's Wells - -
The Taming of the Shrew
The Broken Heart Mark O'Rowe Various Abbey Theatre World Tour 2011
Terminus A Mark O'Rowe Mark O'Rowe Various Abbey Theatre World Tour 2011
The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane Gertrude Gavin Quinn William Shakespeare Pan Pan theatre
Medea sole Chorus Selina Cartmell translated by Robin Robertson Siren productions
Sodome, My Love Celle de Sodome Laurent Gaudé Lynne Parker (translated by Olwen Fouéré) Project Arts Centre, Dublin
The Rite of Spring the Cailleach Michael Keegan-Dolan London Coliseum Fabulous Beast and ENO
Under Glass (The Test Tube) Suzy Willson and Paul Clarke Alice Oswald The Clod Ensemble
Paula Spencer, La Femme Qui Se Cognait Dans Les Portes solo Michel Abécassis Roddy Doyle (trans. Ian Monk and Isabelle D. Phillippe) Théatre de l'Eveil tour including Bouffes du Nord, Paris, and Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Woman and Scarecrow Woman Selina Cartmell Marina Carr Abbey Theatre
The Bull Maeve Michael Keegan-Dolan Dublin Theatre Festival 2005, Barbicanbite 2007, speilzeiteuropa08 Fabulous Beast
Catastrophe The Assistant Selina Cartmell Samuel Beckett Barbican Gate Theatre Beckett Festival
Titus Andronicus Tamora Selina Cartmell Shakespeare Project Arts Centre, Dublin Siren Productions
Here Lies Antonin Artaud Selina Cartmell Galway Arts Festival 2005, Dublin and Paris 2006 Operating Theatre
A Cry from Heaven Ness Olivier Py Vincent Woods Abbey Theatre, Dublin
The Plough and the Stars Mrs Gogan Ben Barnes Seán O'Casey Abbey Theatre, Barbicanbite and Cork Opera House
The Playboy of the Western World Widow Quinn Ben Barnes John Millington Synge Abbey Theatre (USA Tour)
Passades self and explorer Selina Cartmell Lee's Cash 'n Carry, Dublin Operating Theatre
La Musica Woman Selina Cartmell Marguerite Duras SS Michael and John, Dublin Siren Productions
The House of Bernarda Alba Augustine Martin Drury Frederico Garcia Lorca, trans. Sebastian Barry Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Macbeth Lady Macbeth Michael Barker-Caven Shakespeare Dublin and Irish tour Second Age
Lessness solo Judy Hegarty-Lovett Samuel Beckett Gare StLazare Irl Kilkenny Arts Festival, Cottesloe Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival
Bailegangaire Dolly Tom Murphy Tom Murphy Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Chair solo Johnny Hanrahan Operating Theatre Peacock Theatre, Dublin Operating Theatre
The Playboy of the Western World Pegeen Mike Niall Henry John Millington Synge Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Peer Gynt Solveig Conal Morrison Henrik Ibsen (trans. Frank McGuinness) Royal National Theatre, London
Romeo and Juliet Lady Capulet Tim Supple Shakespeare Royal National Theatre, London
The Tempest Ariel Conal Morrison Shakespeare Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Life Is a Dream Rosaura Calixto Bieto Caldéron de la Barca (trans. John Clifford) Edinburgh Festival '98, Barbican '99, BAM,'99
The Wake Mary Jane Patrick Mason Tom Murphy Abbey Theatre and Edinburgh Festival 1988–1999
By the Bog of Cats (World Premiere) Hester Swane Patrick Mason Marina Carr Abbey Theatre (Dublin Theatre Festival '98) 1988
Angel/Babel solo Leon Ingulsrud Operating Theatre Project@the mint, Dublin Operating Theatre 1999
Lady Windermere's Fan Mrs Erlynne Alan Stanford Oscar Wilde Gate Theatre Dublin & Charleston Spoleto Festival Company 1997–1998
The Electrocution of Children Margot Brian Brady Chris Lee Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards Empress and Moon John Crowley Chikamatsu Montsaemon, trans. Peter Oswald Royal National Theatre
Play and Come and Go Bairbre Ni Chaoímh Samuel Beckett Gate Theatre & Lincoln Center, New York
Double Helix Bickerstaffe John Crowley Peacock Theatre, Dublin
Six Characters in Search of an Author Mme. Pace John Crowley Luigi Pirandello, trans. Tom Kilroy Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Slaughter City Cod Ron Daniels Naomi Wallace Royal Shakespeare Company, The Pit
The Mai (World Premiere ) The Mai Brian Brady Marina Carr Abbey Theatre, Dublin Company Year
Old Times Anna Kevin Billington Harold Pinter Gate Theatre, Dublin Gate Theatre Pinter Festival
Sheep's Milk on the Boil The Inspector of Wrack Tom Hickey Tom Mac Intyre Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Hamlet Hamlet Michael Sheridan Shakespeare Project Arts Centre, Dublin
The Tempest and Macbeth Ariel and Lady Macduff Michael Bogdanov Shakespeare World tour English Shakespeare Company
The Cherry Orchard Varya Michael Bogdanov Anton Chekhov Gate Theatre, Dublin Company Year
Salome Salomé Steven Berkoff Oscar Wilde Gate Theatre '88, Edinburgh Festival '89 & Spoleto '90 Company 1988, 1989, 1990
The Master Builder Hilde Wangel Paul Unwin Henrik Ibsen Bristol Old Vic, Bristol 1989
Dancing at Lughnasa Agnes Patrick Mason Brian Friel Phoenix and Garrick Theatre, London
The Master Builder Hilde Paul Unwin Henrik Ibsen, trans. Michael Meyer Bristol Old Vic - -
Bajazet Atalide Peter Eyre Racine, trans. Allan Hollinghurst Almeida Theatre, London - -
Cathleen Ni Houlihan & The Cuchulainn Cycle Cathleen and Aoife Jim Flannery William Butler Yeats Abbey Theatre, Dublin - -
Peer Gynt Solveig and Anitra Patrick Mason Henrik Ibsen, trans. Frank McGuinness Gate Theatre, Dublin - -
Les Liaisons Dangereuses La Presidente de Tourvel Ben Barnes Christopher Hampton (after Laclos) Gate Theatre, Dublin -
Uncle Vanya Sonya Paul Unwin Anton Chekhov Gate Theatre, Dublin - -
Fool for Love May Ray Yeates Sam Shephard Abbey Theatre, Dublin - -
Innocence Caterina Patrick Mason Frank McGuinness Gate Theatre, Dublin - -
The Playboy of the Western World Pegeen Mike Garry Hynes John Millington Synge Druid Theatre New York Tour ‘86 - -
The Pantagonal Dream solo David Heap Sebastian Barry Damer Theatre, Dublin Operating Theatre -
The Diamond Body solo Brendan Ellis Aidan Mathews Dublin, Bush Theatre London ‘84, Avignon Festival’86, Glasgow Mayfest ‘87 Operating Theatre -
The Antigone Antigone Michael Scott Aidan Mathews Project Arts Centre, Dublin -
The Old Woman Broods Kazimierz Braun - Tadeusz Rosewicz Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
Extremities Marjorie Julian Plunkett-Dillon William Mastrosimone Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
The Morning After Optimism Anastasia Michael Scott Tom Murphy Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
Three Bunches of Blood and a Lump of Fog - Michael Scott Sean MacCarthy Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
Three Sisters Irina Stephen Rea Anton Chekhov, trans. Brian Friel Field Day 1981 - -
Twelfth Night Viola Christopher Fitzsimon Shakespeare Irish Theatre Company - -
Withering Hypes and Bubblegum - Thom MacGinty - - Grapevine touring company -
The Glass Menagerie Laura Paul Brennan Tennessee Williams Gate Theatre, Dublin - -
Riders to the Sea Kathleen Brendan Ellis John Millington Synge Players Theatre, Dublin - -
Not I solo Brendan Ellis Samuel Beckett. Focus Theatre, Dublin - -
The Fall of the House of Usher Madeleine Peter Sheridan Steven Berkoff (from Edgar Allan Poe) Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
The Hostage Teresa Sean Treacy Brendan Behan Project Arts Centre and Eblana Theatre, Dublin - -
Marat/Sade Charlotte Corday Michael Sheridan Peter Weiss Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
Famine Maeve Tom Murphy Tom Murphy Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
Dev Mrs DeValera Peter Sheridan - Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
The Risen People Annie Jim Sheridan James Plunkett Project Arts Centre, Dublin - -
A Month in the Country Vera Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy Turgenev Focus Theatre, Dublin - -
Endgame Nell Sean Treacy Samuel Beckett APE Theatre company, Dublin - -



  • Above Suspicion (Mrs Hughes) /Gillies MacKinnon/ ITV/ by Lynda LaPlante
  • The Ambassador /Ken Grieve/ Ecosse Film and TV
  • Ballykissangel series one /Chris Harrison / BBC
  • Hard Shoulder /MirrorFilms/RTÉ/Channel 4/ by Mark Kilroy
  • When Reason Sleeps (Celia)/ R. Wynne Simmons /RTÉ/ Channel 4
  • Time After Time (Young Nun) /Bill Hays/ BBC
  • The Irish R.M. (Miss Malone) /Roy Ward-Baker / BBC/RTÉ
  • A Painful Case (Mary Sinico) / John Lynch /RTÉ/ Channel 4
  • The Babysitters /Pat O'Connor / RTÉ
  • Nightflyers /Connie / SYFY
  • Cursed /Yeva / Netflix

Visual Arts

Olwen Fouéré features in several works by artist James Coleman which continue to be shown internationally. Their first collaboration So Different and Yet... was created in 1980. She worked with artist Andrew Duggan on "unravel_róis" on Inis Oirr, Dublin Biennial and University of Lyon. She collaborated with artist Jesse Presley Jones representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale 2017 on a film installation 'Tremble Tremble'


Olwen Fouéré was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy - Honoris Causa) from Dublin City University in April 2016


  • The Irish Times Theatre Awards Special Tribute 2013 for outstanding achievement and contribution to theatre in Ireland.
  • The Herald Archangel Award 2014 for "riverrun" and her outstanding contribution to the Edinburgh Festivals.
  • 'Best Actress' in the Irish Times/ESB theatre awards 2011 for "Sodome, My Love" by Laurent Gaudé produced by Rough Magic in association with TheEmergencyRoom
  • 'Samuel Beckett Award' at the Dublin Theatre Festival for her role as Hester Swane in the world premiere of "By the Bog of Cats" by Marina Carr at the Abbey Theatre 1998.
  • 'Best Actress' at the Dublin Theatre Festival 1982


  • IFTA nomination for 'Best Supporting Actress' in 'The Survivalist' by Stephen Fingleton
  • 'Best Actress' in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2013 for 'riverrun' by TheEmergencyRoom
  • 'Best Actress' in the Harvey Awards 1985 for 'The Diamond Body' by Operating Theatre.
  • 'Best Actress' in the Irish Times/ESB Theatre awards 1999 for 'By the Bog of Cats' by Marina Carr
  • 'Best Actress' in the Irish Times/ESB Theatre awards 2000 for 'Angel/Babel' by Operating Theatre
  • 'Best Actress' in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2006 for 'Titus Andronicus' directed by Selina Cartmell.


She has contributed to a number of publications on contemporary theatre and performance including:

  • The Dreaming Body, edited by Melissa Sihra and Paul Murphy;[6]
  • Women in Irish Drama, edited by Melissa Sihra [7]
  • Actors Voices: the people behind the performances, edited by Patrcik O'Kane [8]
  • The Theatre of Marina Carr, edited by Cathy Leeney and Anna McMullan [9]
  • Theatre Talk, edited by Lilian Chambers, Ger Fitzgibbon and Eamonn Jordan [10]
  • Operating Theatre 1980–2008 [11]


A documentary of a year in her life, "Theatre in the Flesh" directed by Dara McCluskey, was produced for RTÉ's Arts Lives series in 2005.

External links


  1. ^ "Archived copy" . Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "The 50 greatest Irish film actors of all time – in order" .
  3. ^ 2011, Indigo films, Cannes selection in competition for the Palme D'Or 2011
  4. ^ 2012, Fastnet films, Cannes selection for the Director's Fortnight
  5. ^ Animals at IMDb
  6. ^ Ulster Editions and Monographs series, Oxford University Press, September 2009, ISBN 0861404653, ISBN 978-0861404650
  7. ^ Palgrave Macmillan (17 March 2009). ISBN 0230577911 ISBN 978-0230577916
  8. ^ Oberon Books, February 2012. ISBN 9781840029567
  9. ^ Carysfort Press, December 2003. ISBN 0953425770 ISBN 978-0953425778
  10. ^ Carysfort Press, 2001. ISBN 0-9534-2576-2
  11. ^ Zero-G, October 2008. ISBN 0956043909 ISBN 978-0956043900


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