Ruth McGowan named new festival director of Dublin Fringe Festival

McGowan replaces Kris Nelson, who is leaving after four years in the job

Dublin Fringe Festival has announced that its new director is Ruth McGowan.

McGowan will take up the role at the end of November. She replaces Kris Nelson, who is leaving the job to take up a new role as artistic director of the Lift biennial festival of international theatre in London.

McGowan has been programme manager with Dublin Fringe Festival since 2015, and co-curated the past two editions of the festival. She has previously worked as a dramaturg, producer and director in the Abbey Theatre, Atlantic Theatre Company and the Public Theater in New York.

In a statement, McGowan said: “I couldn’t be more excited to lead a new chapter for this agenda-setting festival, working with the brilliant team to stay true to Fringe’s unparalleled commitment to new work.


“ Fringe is not just a festival, it’s an ethos. It’s an essential platform for emerging talent, radical ideas and voices from outside the mainstream. Dublin Fringe Festival has a remarkable legacy, cultivated by extraordinary artists and leaders. I can’t wait to take risks, make mischief and provide a space for artists where anything is possible.”

Chair of the Fringe board Mary Moloney said: "We're excited to see how Ruth shapes an organisation that is a vital force within the Irish and international cultural landscapes. We know that the extraordinary plans Ruth is about to set in motion for Fringe in 2018 and beyond will invigorate, astonish and delight."

Outgoing festival director Kris Nelson added: “Ruth McGowan has distinguished herself within the Irish arts sector as a talented leader. She takes on the big questions with great verve and skill. She challenges artists with the right provocations and always strives for Fringe to bring its best as a presenter of daring new work.”

This year’s festival was the Fringe’s 23rd. It featured 81 shows in 34 venues across Dublin.