Born on the west coast of Ireland of Breton parents Yann Fouéré and Marie-Magdeleine Mauger, Olwen Fouéré is an actor, writer and theatre artist.
Her work includes the primary creation of image, text and personae and her extensive practice navigates the performance contexts of mainstream theatre, the visual arts, music, dance theatre and literature.
She has received numerous awards and nominations including Irish Times/ESB Best Actress (2011, 2006, 2000 and 1999), Dublin Theatre Festival Best Actor 2003, and the Dublin Theatre Festival Samuel Beckett Award in 1998.
In 2014 she received the prestigious Herald Archangel award of the Edinburgh Festivals, the Irish Times Special Tribute Award for outstanding achievement and contribution to Irish Theatre, and The Stage Award for Acting Excellence.
In 2010, she established an artistic entity called TheEmergencyRoom for the development of her ongoing projects which have include the creation of RIVERRUN (from Finnegans Wake); a film project CASSANDRA (with script by Anne Enright); her translation and performance of SODOME, MY LOVE by Laurent Gaudé (produced in association with Rough Magic).
Current and recent performances include:
RIVERRUN at Sydney Theatre Company, Australia (March 12th- April 11th 2015);
at Adelaide Festival, (February 26th - March 2nd 2015);
at BAM Next Wave Festival, NY, USA (September 2014);
at Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh(August 2014);
at the Royal National Theatre London(March 2014);
at Dublin Theatre Festival (October 2013);
at Galway International Arts Festival (July 2013).
Kathryn in the feature film THE SURVIVALIST written and directed by Stephen Fingleton (The Fyzz/NI Screen/BFI) which premieres at Tribeca Film Festival 2015.
A TENDER THING by Ben Power at Project Arts Centre, Dublin in January 2014 (Siren Productions)
Other recent appearances include:
The role of Mary's Mother opposite Sean Penn in Paolo Sorrentino's THIS MUST BE THE PLACE (Indigo films, Cannes selection in competition for the Palme D'Or 2011), the role of Maggie for Rebecca Daly's THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP (Fastnet films, Cannes selection for the Director's Fortnight); the Scéalaí in John Carney's THE RAFTERS; YELLOW, THE FILM by Amanda Coogan and Paddy Cahill (JDIFF 2012).
Her translation and performance of the new work SODOME,MA DOUCE by French writer Laurent Gaudé premiered in Dublin as SODOME,MY LOVE in March 2010, produced by Rough Magic in association with TheEmergencyRoom (receiving two Irish Times Theatre awards 2011) and a restaged version performed on the ancient site of St Sophia at the Ohrid Festival, Macedonia on 31st July 2010;
ROIS_UNRAVEL by artist Andrew Duggan created on Inis Oírr ;
THE BROKEN HEART and TAMING OF THE SHREW with Theatre for a New Audience, NYC;
the role of 'A' in the 2011 world tour of the Abbey Theatre production of TERMINUS by Mark O'Rowe;
her four hour durational performance YELLOW REPERFORMED by Amanda Coogan for the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival 2010;
Her role as The Cailleach in Fabulous Beast's production of THE RITE OF SPRING for the ENO at the London Coliseum;
UNDER GLASS with The Clod Ensemble (Village Underground, Shoreditch and British Dance Edition 2010);
Her performances of the French adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s PAULA SPENCER, LA FEMME QUI... which premiered in September 2008 at the Theatre de la Tempete in Vincennes and played several French theatres including the Bouffes du Nord, Paris.
Other recent performances of note include her role as Woman in Marina Carr's WOMAN AND SCARECROW directed by Selina Cartmell at the Abbey Theatre for the 2007 Dublin Theatre Festival;
as Maeve in THE BULL with Fabulous Beast directed by Michael Keegan-Dolan at the Berlin speilzeiteuropa '08 and at BarbicanBITE '07 where it was nominated for two Olivier Awards; as Tamora in Siren productions' multi-award-winning TITUS ANDRONICUS directed by Selina Cartmell (2005).
Olwen Fouéré features in several works by artist James Coleman which continue to be shown internationally. Their first collaboration So Different and Yet... which was created in 1980 was recently shown at IMMA during March and April 2009 as part of the large James Coleman retrospective exhibition.
As a free-lance actor, Fouéré has worked with most major theatre companies in Ireland and in the United Kingdom, playing leading roles in numerous productions at the Abbey Theatre and at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK and in the West End. She created the role of Salomé in Oscar Wilde’s SALOMÉ directed by Steven Berkoff which premiered at the Gate theatre and toured internationally. At the Abbey, she created the title role in THE MAI and the role of Hester Swane in BY THE BOG OF CATS...which were both written for her by Marina Carr and for which she received numerous awards.
She has worked with several international directors including the French director Olivier Py and played the role of Rosaura in LIFE IS A DREAM directed by Catalan director Calixto Bieito which premiered at the Edinburgh International Featival ’98 and transferred to the Barbican Theatre, London, and BAM, New York in '99.
She has contributed to a number of publications on contemporary theatre and performance including:
The Dreaming Body edited by Melissa Sihra and Paul Murphy (Ulster Editions and Monographs series. Colin Smythe);
Women in Irish Drama edited by Melissa Sihra (Palgrave MacMillan);
Actors Voices: the people behind the performances edited by Patrcik O'Kane (Oberon Books);
The Theatre of Marina Carr edited by Cathy Leeney and Anna McMullan (Carysfort Press);
Theatre Talk edited by Lilian Chambers, Ger Fitzgibbon and Eamonn Jordan (Carysfort Press)
Operating Theatre 1980-2008 designed by Alan Davis and Zero-G
A documentary of a year in her life, "Theatre in the Flesh" directed by Dara McCluskey, was produced for RTE`s Arts Lives series in 2005.
Olwen Fouéré was artistic director, with composer Roger Doyle, of Ireland's leading avantgarde company - Operating Theatre - from 1980-2008.
Her live performance work with Operating Theatre has included:
The Diamond Body (1984-87) based on a short story by writer Aidan Mathews.
The Pentagonal Dream (1986) from a script by Sebastian Barry.
Angel/Babel (1999) conceived and scripted by Fouéré and created in collaboration with Roger Doyle, Paul Keogan and Leon Ingulsrud.
Chair (2000) conceived and scripted by Fouéré and created in collaboration with Roger Doyle, Paul Keogan and Johnny Hanrahan.
Passades (2004) based on the music of Roger Doyle's 'passades' and directed by Selina Cartmell.
Here Lies (2005-2007) in which Fouéré appeared as the figure of Artaud in a number of performance installations presented in Galway, Dublin and Paris. Created in collaboration with Selina Cartmell and Paul Keogan.
Here Lies in film... created in collaboration with cinematographer Christopher Doyle, a film installation which premiered at Temple Bar Gallery during the Dublin Theatre Festival 2008.
General chronological list:
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE (Mary's Mother)/Paolo Sorrentino/Indigo Films
THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP (Maggie)/Rebecca Daly/Fastnet Films
YELLOW,THE FILM / Amanda Coogan and Paddy Cahill
THE RAFTERS (Scéalaí)/John Carney/ Rafters Film
SALTWATER (Trish)/Conor McPherson/Treasure Films
SPACETRUCKERS/ Stuart Gordon/ USA
HARD SHOULDER/Mark Kilroy/ Mirror Films
ROOM AT FLYING DRAGON /Calvin Floyd/Sweden/USA
ITS HANDY WHEN PEOPLE DON"T DIE /Tom McArdle
UNDER SUSPICION: THE RED DAHLIA (Mrs Hughes)/Gillies MacKinnon/ ITV/ by Lynda LaPlante
THE AMBASSADOR /Ken Grieve/ Ecosse Film and TV
BALLYKISSANGEL series one /Chris Harrison / BBC
HARD SHOULDER /MirrorFilms/RTE/Channel 4/ by Mark Kilroy
WHEN REASON SLEEPS (Celia)/ R. Wynne Simmons /RTE/ Channel 4
TIME AFTER TIME (Young Nun) /Bill Hays/ BBC
THE IRISH RM (Miss Malone) /Roy Ward-Baker / BBC/RTE
A PAINFUL CASE (Mary Sinico)/ John Lynch /RTE/ Channel 4
THE BABYSITTERS /Pat O’Connor / RTE
ROIS_UNRAVEL by Andrew Duggan.Created on Inis Oírr and performed at Dublin Biennial Pop-up 2012
YELLOW RE-PERFORMED. A four hour durational perfromance of Amanda Coogan's YELLOW at St Marys Abbey during Dublin Theatre Festival 2010
TAMING OF THE SHREW
THE BROKEN HEART and
TERMINUS (A)/Mark O'Rowe/Abbey Theatre World Tour 2011
THE REHEARSAL- PLAYING THE DANE (Gertrude)/Gavin Quinn/Pan Pan theatre
MEDEA (sole Chorus)/Selina Cartmell/Siren productions/trans Robin Robertson
SODOME,MY LOVE (Celle de Sodome)/Lynne Parker/Project Arts Centre, Dublin/by Laurent Gaudé, translated by Olwen Fouéré
THE RITE OF SPRING (the Cailleach)/Michael Keegan-Dolan/Fabulous Beast and ENO/ London Coliseum
UNDER GLASS (the test tube)/Suzy Willson and Paul Clarke/The Clod Ensemble/ text by Alice Oswald
PAULA SPENCER,LA FEMME QUI SE COGNAIT DANS LES PORTES / (solo) / Michel Abécassis/ Théatre de l'Eveil tour including Bouffes du Nord, Paris, and Project Arts Centre, Dublin / by Roddy Doyle, trans. Ian Monk and Isabelle D. Phillippe
WOMAN AND SCARECROW / (Woman) / Selina Cartmell / Abbey Theatre / by Marina Carr
THE BULL / (Maeve) / Michael Keegan-Dolan / Dublin Theatre Festival 2005, Barbicanbite 2007, speilzeiteuropa08 / by Fabulous Beast
CATASTROPHE / (The Assistant) / Selina Cartmell / Gate Theatre Beckett Festival / Barbican / by Samuel Beckett
TITUS ANDRONICUS / (Tamora) / Selina Cartmell /Siren Productions / Project Arts Centre, Dublin / by Shakespeare
HERE LIES / (Antonin Artaud) / Selina Cartmell / Galway Arts Festival 2005, Dublin and Paris 2006/ by Operating Theatre
A CRY FROM HEAVEN / (Ness) / Olivier Py / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Vincent Woods
THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS / (Mrs Gogan) / Ben Barnes / Abbey Theatre, Barbicanbite and Cork Opera House / by Seán O'Casey
THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD / (Widow Quinn) / Ben Barnes / Abbey Theatre / USA Tour /by John Millington Synge
PASSADES / (self and explorer) / Selina Cartmell / Operating Theatre / Lee's Cash 'n Carry, Dublin/ by Operating Theatre
LA MUSICA / (Woman)/ Selina Cartmell / Siren Productions / SS Michael and John, Dublin / by Marguerite Duras
THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA / (Augustine) / Martin Drury / Abbey Theatre, Dublin/ by Frederico Garcia Lorca, trans. Sebastian Barry
MACBETH / (Lady Macbeth) / Michael Barker-Caven / Second Age / Dublin and Irish tour / by Shakespeare
LESSNESS / (solo) / Judy Hegarty-Lovett / Gare StLazare Irl / Kilkenny Arts Festival, Cottesloe Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival / by Samuel Beckett
BAILEGANGAIRE / (Dolly) / Tom Murphy / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Tom Murphy
CHAIR / (solo) / Johnny Hanrahan / Operating Theatre / Peacock Theatre, Dublin / by Operating Theatre
THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD / (Pegeen Mike) / Niall Henry / Abbey Theatre,Dublin / by John Millington Synge
PEER GYNT / (Solveig) / Conal Morrison / Royal National Theatre, London/ by Henrik Ibsen, trans. Frank McGuinness
ROMEO & JULIET / (Lady Capulet) / Tim Supple / Royal National Theatre, London/ by Shakespeare
THE TEMPEST / (Ariel) / Conal Morrison / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Shakespeare
LIFE IS A DREAM / (Rosaura) / Calixto Bieto / Edinburgh Festival '98, Barbican '99, BAM,'99 / by Caldéron de la Barca, trans. John Clifford
THE WAKE / (Mary Jane) / Patrick Mason / Abbey Theatre '98 and Edinburgh Festival '99/ by Tom Murphy. World Premiere.
BY THE BOG OF CATS / (Hester Swane) / Patrick Mason / Abbey Theatre /Dublin Theatre Festival '98 / by Marina Carr. World Premiere.
ANGEL/BABEL / (solo) / Leon Ingulsrud / Operating Theatre / Project@the mint,Dublin'99 / by Operating Theatre
LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN / (Mrs Erlynne) / Alan Stanford / Gate Theatre Dublin'97,Charleston Spoleto Festival '98 / by Oscar Wilde
THE ELECTROCUTION OF CHILDREN / (Margot) / Brian Brady / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Chris Lee
FAIR LADIES AT A GAME OF POEM CARDS / (Empress and Moon) / John Crowley / Royal National Theatre /by Chikamatsu Montsaemon, trans. Peter Oswald
PLAY and COME AND GO / Bairbre Ni Chaoímh / Gate Theatre /Lincoln Centre, New York / by Samuel Beckett/
DOUBLE HELIX / John Crowley / Bickerstaffe / Peacock Theatre, Dublin / written by the company
SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR / (Mme. Pace) / John Crowley / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Luigi Pirandello, trans. Tom Kilroy
SLAUGHTER CITY / (Cod) / Ron Daniels / RSC, The Pit / by Naomi Wallace
THE MAI / (The Mai) / Brian Brady / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Marina Carr. World Premiere
OLD TIMES / (Anna) / Kevin Billington / Gate Theatre Pinter Festival, Dublin / by Harold Pinter
SHEEP’S MILK ON THE BOIL / (The Inspector of Wrack) / Tom Hickey / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Tom Mac Intyre
HAMLET / (Hamlet) / Michael Sheridan / Project Arts Centre, Dublin/ by Shakespeare
THE TEMPEST and MACBETH / (Ariel and Lady Macduff) / Michael Bogdanov / English Shakespeare Co. world tour/ by Shakespeare
THE CHERRY ORCHARD / (Varya) / Michael Bogdanov / Gate Theatre, Dublin / by Anton Chekhov
SALOMÉ / (Salomé) / Steven Berkoff / Gate Theatre '88, Edinburgh Festival '89 & Spoleto '90 /by Oscar Wilde
DANCING AT LUGHNASA / (Agnes) / Patrick Mason / Phoenix and Garrick Theatre, London/by Brian Friel
THE MASTER BUILDER / (Hilde) / Paul Unwin / Bristol Old Vic / by Henrik Ibsen, trans. Michael Meyer
BAJAZET /(Atalide) / Peter Eyre / Almeida Theatre, London / by Racine, trans. Allan Hollinghurst
CATHLEEN NI HOULIHAN & THE CUCHULAINN CYCLE / (Cathleen and Aoife) / Jim Flannery / Abbey Theatre, Dublin/ by William Butler Yeats
PEER GYNT / (Solveig and Anitra) / Patrick Mason / Gate Theatre, Dublin / by Henrik Ibsen, trans. Frank McGuinness
LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES / (La Presidente de Tourvel) / Ben Barnes / Gate Theatre, Dublin/by Christopher Hampton (after Laclos)
UNCLE VANYA / (Sonya) / Paul Unwin / Gate Theatre, Dublin / by Anton Chekhov
FOOL FOR LOVE / (May) / Ray Yeates / Abbey Theatre, Dublin / by Sam Shephard
INNOCENCE / (Caterina) / Patrick Mason / Gate Theatre, Dublin /by Frank McGuinness
THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD / (Pegeen Mike) / Garry Hynes / Druid Theatre New York Tour '86 / by John Millington Synge
THE PENTAGONAL DREAM / (solo) / David Heap / Operating Theatre/Damer Hall Dublin/ by Sebastian Barry
THE DIAMOND BODY / (solo) / Brendan Ellis / Operating Theatre / Dublin, Bush Theatre London '84, Avignon Festival'86, Glasgow Mayfest '87 /by Aidan Mathews
THE ANTIGONE / (Antigone) / Michael Scott / Project Arts Centre, Dublin / by Aidan Mathews
THE OLD WOMAN BROODS / Kazimierz Braun / Project Arts Centre, Dublin / by Tadeusz Rosewicz
EXTREMITIES / (Marjorie) / Julian Plunkett-Dillon / Project Arts Centre, Dublin/ by William Mastrosimone
THE MORNING AFTER OPTIMISM / (Anastasia ) / Michael Scott / Project Arts Centre, Dublin / by Tom Murphy
THREE BUNCHES OF BLOOD AND A LUMP OF FOG / Michael Scott /Project Arts Centre, Dublin/ by Sean MacCarthy
THE THREE SISTERS / (Irina) / Stephen Rea / Field Day 1981/ by Anton Chekhov, trans. Brian Friel
TWELFTH NIGHT / (Viola) / Christopher Fitzsimon / Irish Theatre Company / by Shakespeare
WITHERING HYPES and BUBBLEGUM / Thom MacGinty / Grapevine touring company/by the company
THE GLASS MENAGERIE / (Laura) / Paul Brennan / Gate Theatre, Dublin / by Tennessee Williams
RIDERS TO THE SEA /(Kathleen) / Brendan Ellis / Players Theatre, Dublin/ by John Millington Synge
NOT I / (solo) / Brendan Ellis / Focus Theatre, Dublin / by Samuel Beckett. Irish Premiere
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER / (Madeleine) / Peter Sheridan / Project Arts Centre, Dublin /by Steven Berkoff (from Edgar Allan Poe)
THE HOSTAGE /(Teresa) / Sean Treacy / Project Arts Centre and Eblana Theatre, Dublin/ by Brendan Behan
MARAT SADE /(Charlotte Corday) / Michael Sheridan /Project Arts Centre, Dublin/ by Peter Weiss
FAMINE /(Maeve)/ Tom Murphy/ Project Arts Centre, Dublin / by Tom Murphy
DEV /(Mrs DeValera)/ Peter Sheridan/ Project Arts Centre, Dublin/
THE RISEN PEOPLE / (Annie) / Jim Sheridan / Project Arts Centre, Dublin /by James Plunkett
A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY / (Vera) / Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy / Focus Theatre, Dublin /by Turgenev
ENDGAME /(Nell) / Sean Treacy / APE Theatre company, Dublin/ by Samuel Beckett
Fouéré's first professional performance, in a five minute play, occurred in June 1976. The above list omits only a small number of productions and is largely in chronological order, beginning with the most recent.