Jody O’Neill appointed to Artist in Residence Programme

Playwright Jody O’Neill with UCC President Professor John O'Halloran; Cork Opera House CEO, Eibhlin Gleeson and Professor Yvon Bonenfant, Head of Department at UCC Theatre, who were in UCC's autism-friendly Calm Zone to announce Ms O'Neill's appointment as the new Cork Opera House/UCC Theatre Artist in Residence. (Picture: Max Bell)

Playwright Jody O’Neill has been announced as the new theatre artist in residence for the Cork Opera House and UCC. The artist, who was raised in Cobh, was appointed following the search for a professional theatre artist who identifies as autistic/person with autism.

The Theatre Artist in Residence Programme is aimed at celebrating and promoting diversity in artists and provides a bursary of €20,000 to a professional theatre artist who identifies as an autistic/person with autism.

Ms O’Neill is a writer and actor with autism and among her works is ‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’, a co-production with The Abbey Theatre, that premiered at the Peacock in Dublin, The Everyman in Cork and Mermaid Arts Centre, Wicklow in February 2020. She was also a recipient of one of the 10 ‘Decade of Centenaries Markievicz Awards’ for artists this week.

Speaking on her appointment, Ms O’Neill said she was delighted with the opportunity.

“Establishing a bursary like this, that specifically aims to support autistic artists is incredibly important – in terms of promoting a better understanding of autism, better access for autistic people, and in terms of offering financial support to autistic people, of whom 80% are underemployed or unemployed. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the coming year, and hope that the residency might become a regular support to autistic artists.”

Ms O’Neill’s appointment comes following an application process that was open to artists working in areas including, but not confined to, creating, writing, production and direction. In her new role as Artist in Residence, Ms O’Neill will liaise directly with the CEO of Cork Opera House and the Professor of Creative Practice and Department of Theatre at UCC throughout her residency.