First Fortnight Announces New CEO

access_time 4 minutes
person by Edel
create 26 May 2021

First Fortnight is delighted to announce the appointment of Maria Fleming as chief executive officer (CEO).


Maria has more than 20 years of experience working in the arts with Ireland’s leading companies and theatre artists, including Dublin Theatre Festival, The Ark and Druid Theatre Company. She is a passionate social justice campaigner and is a volunteer advocacy champion with the Irish Cancer Society. She joins First Fortnight from Dublin Theatre Festival where she was general manager.

On taking up her new role with First Fortnight, Maria says: “I am delighted to be joining the team at First Fortnight as CEO. I look forward to bringing my knowledge and skills from my work with leading cultural organisations to the role. The work of First Fortnight in challenging mental health stigma through arts and cultural activity combines my two passions in life, social justice, and the arts.

“Society has a renewed appreciation for cultural activities following a period of time where our access to the arts was restricted. At the same time, we have all experienced enormous challenges to our mental and physical wellbeing. I believe First Fortnight is perfectly poised to bring an understanding and healing to all we have been through as we once again embrace live performance and strengthen our human connections.”


Maria will begin her role as CEO with First Fortnight in August 2021. Her long career in the arts has seen her work in roles as general manager, producer, programmer and arts consultant with Dublin Theatre Festival, The Ark, Barabbas, Druid Theatre Company, Hot For Theatre, Donal O’Kelly Productions and Irish Modern Dance Theatre.


She was involved in Waking The Feminists, the Irish theatre movement in 2015, and has twice travelled to the island of Chios in Greece to volunteer with refugee support group CESRT (Chios Eastern Shore Response Team). Maria also works as a volunteer with the Irish Cancer Society as Advocacy Champion for the Dublin Central Constituency.  

On behalf of the board of trustees, First Fortnight Chairperson Jerry O’Connell said: “The board of First Fortnight is delighted that Maria has agreed to join First Fortnight as CEO and bring her considerable experience in arts and social justice to our activities through 2021 and beyond. We are struck by her drive and passion, and have no doubt that she will contribute hugely to First Fortnight’s aim of challenging mental health stigma and furthering the success of our mental health arts festival, Centre for Creative Therapies, and our newly-launched Child & Adolescent Creative Therapy Service.”


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