First Fortnight Announces the Departure of its Chief Operating Officer, Edel Doran

access_time 4 minutes
person by First Fortnight
create 14 October 2021

First Fortnight has today announced the planned departure of its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Edel Doran. Since she came on board in 2014, Edel has been at the forefront of First Fortnight’s flagship arts and mental health festival. During her time with First Fortnight, Edel has been central to the transformation of the event from its early years as a fledgling festival to its current status as an annual arts calendar staple.

Edel’s tenure has taken her from the groundwork – from installing the First Fortnight office phones and internet – to the ground-breaking –  in 2019 she helped Ireland host the European Mental Heath Arts and Culture Festival. Most recently, Edel oversaw the movement of the 2021 festival online as pandemic restrictions ruled out in-person events. Edel departs having put in place plans for a lively and important return of in-person festival events in 2022.


Commenting on Edel’s departure, Jerry O’Connell, chairperson of the First Fortnight Board, said:

“Edel’s leaving marks a real loss of talent for the organisation. For seven years, Edel has steered our flagship annual festival with passion, skill and enthusiasm. Her departure is a loss to all members of the board who I know have always valued Edel’s outstanding professionalism and dedication. It is a loss, too, to the artists and performers – returning and new – who could always depend on Edel to facilitate their involvement with our festival with enormous care and attention.”


Maria Fleming, CEO of First Fortnight said:

“Though my own journey with First Fortnight has only just started, I nonetheless feel Edel’s departure as a real loss. Edel has been unfailingly helpful and kind in helping me settle into my new role. I wish her every success for the future and hope our paths cross again before too long”.


Commenting on her own departure, Edel said:

“I'm so grateful for my seven years with First Fortnight and the chance to meet so many amazing artists, organisations and volunteers. The opportunity to have adventures across Ireland and Europe was incredible, I mean who knew I'd end up in a squad car for First Fortnight or running to catch a flight to Spain with 3 hours’ notice? It was an honour to be a part of seven editions of the festival and the First Fortnight family. I hope in that time I was able to effect positive ripples of change. I'm so excited to see where First Fortnight goes in the future!”


First Fortnight will announce details of the 2022 festival, programmed by Edel and the CEO, in late November.

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