Mark O’Brien and Caitríona McLaughlin interview: ‘Theatre is not a fixed thing. It is not set in stone. It is active, always moving’

The two new co-directors of the Abbey lay out their future vision for the national theatre, which they say they want to become ‘more interactive and less transactional’

Mark O’Brien and Caitríona McLaughlin, co-directors of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin: ‘Values before vision was something we talked about early on.’ Picture: Marc O’Sullivan

In June 2020, with live performances on indefinite pause, the then chief executive of Ballymun’s Axis arts centre, Mark O’Brien, invited his fellow theatre director Caitríona McLaughlin to join him for a video chat which was then disseminated via Facebook. He had started this digital venture as a way to stay connected with artists and audiences during Covid-19.

Among other things, they discussed McLaughlin’s short-lived career as a biomedical engineer, her experience of using theatre ...