Aisling (she/her) is a freelance theatre artist and filmmaker based in North Kildare. She has worked extensively in the fields of arts and disability, contemporary theatre & socially engaged theatre practice.
Aisling is the founder and Artistic Director of Run of the Mill Theatre — a community-based theatre collective in North Kildare supporting people with intellectual disabilities to access the arts — and award-winning Dublin based theatre collective, Talking Shop Ensemble, alongside writer and filmmaker Shaun Dunne. Talking Shop Ensemble make form flipping documentary theatre and autobiographical performance. Credits include the award winning Making a Mark (Dublin Fringe Festival, 2019, winner of the Judges Choice Award and nominated for Best Production & recently featured on The Tommy Tiernan Show) Rapids, a piece about living HIV+ in Ireland (National Tour, 2019 & Dublin Theatre Festival, 2017), Displaced Family Project (Mermaid Arts Centre, 2017) Advocacy (2014, winner of Best Ensemble & Best Performer, Dublin Fringe Festival, 2014) and Death of the Tradesmen (winner of the Fishamble New Writing Award, 2012 & 2013).
The incredible but true stories of Mark Smith — The Irish Times (Making A Mark by Shaun Dunne)
People are waking up to the idea that diversity makes for really interesting art. — TheJournal.ie (Culture Night 2020)
Other recent work includes Vulnerable for Dear Ireland 3 (Abbey Theatre, 2020), Quarantine (Culture Night commission, 2020) Singing for Survival (Run of the Mill Theatre, Draiocht 2019) and Split Ends (Dublin Fringe Festival, Fishamble Show in a Bag 2018), Run of the Mill Theatre and Talking Shop Ensemble are supported by both Kildare County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland. Aisling is the recipient of the 2019 Artist in the Community Bursary award from CREATE, the national agency for collaborative arts. In 2020 she received an Arts Participation Bursary award from the Arts Council of Ireland to develop her filmmaking practice. She is currently a resident artist with Arcade Film. In 2021 she was shortlisted from over 700 entries as a finalist in the Virgin Media & Screen Ireland Discovers competition, and received an award to develop her screenplay Headspace.
Aisling holds a B.A. in Drama and Theatre Studies, a Postgraduate Diploma in Drama-in-Education, and a Masters in Education Studies, all from Trinity College Dublin. She has a particular interest in socially engaged theatre, arts in community contexts, and the use of drama for teaching and learning across educational settings. Aisling is Vice Chair of the Association for Drama in Education in Ireland (ADEI) and guest lectures across Trinity College Dublin, Froebel Institute of Education and University College Dublin on the topic of inclusive drama practice.
She is a part-time lecturer at Marino Institute of Education lecturing on drama as a methodology in the primary school curriculum. She is currently working on behalf of the Arts Council’s Creative Schools initiative as a Creative Associate.
1. Mark Smith and Aisling Byrne in Making A Mark by Shaun Dunne. Photo credit: Luca Trufarelli (2019)
2. Lauren Larkin, Ella Jane Moore and members of the Run of the Mill ensemble in Singing for Survival by Aisling Byrne. Photo credit: Fenna von Hirschheydt (2019)
3. Mark Smith in Outside History by Aisling Byrne and Arcade Film, poetry by Eavan Boland. Photo credit: Daniel Keane (2021)