Producer in Residence Biographies

In 2022, Dance Ireland Producer in Residence Gwen Van Spÿk with programmer Julie Kelliher, producer Michelle Cahill and creative producer Hillary Dziminski delivered 3 online Producing Toolkit workshops: Creating a Production Pack, Contracts & Contracting, and Marketing and Communication. 

Gwen Van Spÿk

Gwen has a 30-year career of working as a Producer, Consultant, Trainer and Mentor across the full breadth of the live performance sector. Long based in the UK Gwen relocated her home and her practice to Ireland in 2018. From her UK base Gwen produced shows that toured across the globe with artists including, Russell Maliphant, Carol Brown, Rosemary Butcher, Nigel Charnock, New Art Club, Hetain Patel and Lone Twin - with whom she produced The Boat Project, a highlight of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in London.

Since moving to Ireland Gwen has been producing the work of a portfolio of artists and companies that includes Pan Pan, Junk Ensemble and Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects. Gwen has also produced one-off large-scale projects, including a dance programme for the Rugby League World Cup 2013 centered around a performance by a cast of 500 for the Opening Ceremony at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff; and The Alchemy Project - a pioneering Dance and Mental Health intervention. Gwen is currently fulfilling a third year as Producer in Residence of Dance Ireland, leading a programme of professional development for independent artists and younger producers.

Michelle Cahill

Michelle Cahill is a producer, performer, and coach. Her performance work over the past 20 years spans theatre, dance, film, street-performance, puppetry, and community dance practice. Her solo show Thirteen Steps to the Attic premiered in 2018 and has toured widely. Her work and practice has been funded and supported by The Arts Council of Ireland, Dance Ireland, Carlow Arts Festival, Kildare Arts Office, Dublin City Council, Irish Theatre Institute, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Shawbrook, Firkin Crane, The Laban Guild, and Tipperary Dance.

Since 2017 she has been working with independent artists to develop and produce ambitious new works both live and on screen. Artists and companies include Róisín Whelan Dance / R.W.D., Junk Ensemble, Headonbody, Cathy Coughlan, and Rowan Tolley Company (UK). She was assistant producer, then producer with Tipperary Dance (2019-2021), Participant Producer for Dance Ireland’s Cruinniú na nÓg programme (2021) and Programme Co-ordinator at Shawbrook (2014-2021). Michelle provides flexible supports for emerging dance and theatre artists to realise their artistic goals.
She is secretary to the board of Galway Dance Project and served on the board of Dance Ireland from 2013-2017.

Julie Kelleher
Artistic Director/CEO at Mermaid Arts Centre

Julie is Artistic Director/CEO at Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre. Her background is in performance, directing and producing. She holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies and English, and an MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from UCC. She is currently the Jerome Hynes Fellow on the 2022 Clore Fellowship, a programme of tailored leadership development for a cohort of exceptional leaders in the cultural sector.
Julie joined the board of Graffiti Theatre Company in September 2017 and is the current chair. She sits on the Irish Playography Panel at Irish Theatre Institute and served on the board of Theatre Forum Ireland from 2016 to 2022, taking on the role of Chair in the final three years of her term.

She was Artistic Director of The Everyman, Cork from 2014 to 2020. She has worked as an actor, director & producer with numerous Irish arts organisations and companies, including Painted Bird, Conflicted, BrokenCrow, Kinsale Arts Week, Cork Midsummer Festival, Hammergrin, Corcadorca, Meridian, Dublin Theatre Festival, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, The Performance Corporation, Gare St. Lazare, Once Off Productions, Landmark Productions, and Siren Productions.

Recent directing credits include: The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh (2018), Bluetooth by Rachel Thornton (2018), Autumn Royal by Kevin Barry (2018 remount, associate director), Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel (2017), The Factory Girls by Frank McGuinness (2016), The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by David Greig (2015), Lovers by Brian Friel (2015), all for The Everyman.

Recent producing credits include the world premiere of Mick Flannery’s Evening Train musical (2019), the Landmark/Everyman co-produced world premiere of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (2018), the world premiere of Autumn Royal by Kevin Barry (2017) and the Irish premiere of Futureproof by Lynda Radley (2017), all for The Everyman.

Hillary Dziminski

Hillary is a creative producer and marketing manager working across theatre, film, and live events. She holds an MA in Drama & Performance Studies from University College Dublin and an MFA in Playwriting from The Lir Academy at Trinity College Dublin.

Recent projects include No Magic Pill (Marketing Manager), MESPIL IN THE DARK LIVE (Marketing), International Literature Festival Dublin (Marketing & Communications), and Cleaner [film] (1st AD). She is currently based between Dublin and Florence.