John O'Donovan

Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) in association with Tyrone Guthrie Centre & Dr. Pat Donlon are delighted to announce that the recipient of the seventh Phelim Donlon Playwright’s Bursary & Residency is John O’Donovan

About this year’s recipient Dr. Pat Donlon said “At the end of another dark COVID year in Irish theatre it is wonderful to again be celebrating the inspiration and craft of the dramatist with the seventh Phelim Donlon Bursary. Thanks to Irish Theatre Institute and Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Bravo and loud applause for John O’Donovan from whom we expect great things.”

Siobhán Bourke, Co-Director of Irish Theatre Institute said “On behalf of ITI I would like to congratulate John on being awarded  the seventh Phelim Donlon Playwright’s Bursary & Residency. John is an immensely talented writer, with hugely successful plays and production behind him and the Award will afford John some time to reflect and develop his practice. We believe the combination of a two-week residency in Annaghmakerrig and a small bursary should enable John to deepen his writing practice and develop new work for the theatre.”

 Dr. Éimear O’Connor, Director, Tyrone Guthrie Centre said “We are absolutely delighted to partner with the Irish Theatre Institute for the Phelim Donlon Award, and we very much look forward to welcoming this year’s recipient, John O’Donovan, for his residency with us in 2022.”

John O’Donovan, Playwright, 2022 Phelim Donlon Playwright’s Bursary &  Residency Award Recipient said: “I’m honoured to have been awarded the Phelim Donlon bursary; it’s no easy thing to take risks on new work – especially now when the pathway to audiences has grown more hindered than ever – so the fact that this bursary is set up specifically to sponsor and foster theatre in its earliest stage is particularly inspiring. I’m hugely grateful.”

About John O’Donovan:

John O’Donovan is a playwright and screenwriter. His plays include If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You (Methuen Drama), Flights and Sink (both Nick Hern Books). He is one of UCD’s inaugural Creative Fellows where he is also an occasional lecturer and is under commission for a number of new theatre and television projects.

About the Award

This award is named in honour of Phelim Donlon, former Drama Officer at the Arts Council and a dedicated member of the first Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) PLAYOGRAPHYIreland Advisory Panel, in acknowledgement of his valued contribution to Irish theatre. The recipient of the 2022 award receives an ITI writer’s bursary of €2,000 and a two week fully resourced residency in Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig.

This Bursary and Residency provides a professional, produced playwright with the time, physical resources and mentoring necessary to support their writing of a new play. Recipients are selected from an annual open call to playwrights.

Playwrights who have previously been awarded this bursary & residency are Stephen Jones (2021) Sonya Kelly (2020), Karen Cogan (2019), Amy Conroy (2018), Dylan Coburn Gray (2017) and Fiona Doyle (2016). Further information on the award and previous recipients is available here

About Phelim Donlon (1936 – 2014)

Phelim began work at the Arts Council in 1983, and served as Film, Drama and Opera Officer, retiring in 2001. He was also Director of the Auditoria review of the built infrastructure for the performing arts throughout Ireland. In retirement, his commitment remained undiminished, and he served on the boards of many performing arts organisations. 


The Phelim Donlon Playwright’s Bursary & Residency is supported through the generosity of a private donor and funded by the Arts Council /An Chomhairle Ealaíon.