Encore School Of Performing Arts Teachers
Caoimhe O’Neill – Principal / Head of Singing
Caoimhe O’Neill is a qualified Secondary School Music teacher, having taught for many years to Leaving Cert Honours level. During her time at St. Raphaela’s Secondary School, Stillorgan she musically directed and conducted all the school musicals, including Grease, 7 Brides, Godspell, Guys and Dolls and Anything Goes.
The School Senior Choir won 1st prize in Feis Ceoil, Slogadh and the Stillorgan Feis under her direction. Caoimhe was also Musical Director of Stillorgan Youth Musical Company for a number of years, and with SMCO adult group she was musical director for Godspell, bringing the group to the New Ross Choral Festival where they won 1stprize!
On stage she has played many and varied roles, in musicals including Mary in The Witness, Roxie in Chicago, Glinda in The Wiz, Pitti Sing in Hot Mikado, and Svetlana in Chess. In dramatic roles she has performed as Abigail in The Crucible, Lady Macbeth in Dogs Hamlet Cahoots Macbeth and Sophia in Fools among many others.
Caoimhe also has a huge interest in choral singing, having performed with the Park Singers and Cantando for a number of years, she now runs “Choir Club”, a voluntary choral group who sing for fun! She has also been the conductor of the UCD Community Choir since 2016. This 100 strong choir have sung at UCD Festival, Iveagh Gardens, and at “Choirs for Cancer” in O’Reilly Hall, where Caoimhe also conducts the massed choir of over 600 singers from 10 choirs.
Caoimhe is Principal at Encore!, and having founded the school along with Emer in 1998, she has been Head of Singing ever since, and loves every minute of the experience. Having so many of her past students returning as staff members is one of her proudest achievements, and she looks forward to many more joining the team in the years to come!
Emer O’Neill – Principal / Head of Drama
Founded Encore in 1998.
Emer is a Primary School Teacher and holds a Speech and Drama Diploma from The Leinster School of Music and Drama.
Drama and singing has been a part of Emer’s life since she was awarded a scholarship to the Betty Ann Norton school of Drama at the age of seven. She was a regular prizewinner in the feiseanna in drama, singing, mime and improvisation during her youth. She enjoyed singing and performing as a member of The Park Singers for many years and played piano, flute and guitar.
During her college years Emer extended her interest in drama to include script writing. She received a College award for a radio play for five characters “
As a teacher in Scoil Treasa, National School, Firhouse, Emer conducted the school choir, gave guitar lessons and ran the Drama Club. And in addition produced and directed her first stage show, the junior version of “Godspell” . At this time her interest in choral music led her to take on the direction of the Children’s Choir in St Colmcille’s Church, Knocklyon, which she continued for ten years.
Emer set up a Speech and Drama School in Knocklyon and began to share her talents in the direction performance of monologues, duologues and One Act Plays with students receiving awards in Feis Maitiu annually. .
In 1998, Emer, along with Caoimhe set up Encore! School of Performing Arts.
Emer is Principal and Head of Drama at Encore and each year she writes age appropriate plays for each student group allowing them to be stretched dramatically while producing entertaining plays for an audience to enjoy which include old favourites such as “Trouble in Cauldron College”, “Hide and Seek in Birches Wood.”, “ The Rainbow Fairies” , “Eric the Elf” & “Jemima Jane & Harriette Bear’s Garden Adventures” A key element of this approach is that it allows the drama piece to be tailored so that each student in the school has a speaking role every single year!
Emer believes she has the dream job, to be working with such a wonderfully dedicated staff and watching all the wonderful Encore! kids grow in confidence and develop their skills from year to year!
Joined Encore Staff in 2006
Jenny started dancing at the age of 3 years old and never looked back! She studied and performed with stage school, ballet and modern classes. At 3rd level she attended Inchicore College receiving a Diploma in dance. She also attained a Level 4 Diploma in ISTD dance education.
Jenny has also studied Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance, receiving her Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies in 2011, and most recently her Level 4 Diploma in ISTD Dance Education: Imperial Classical Ballet.
Jenny is ISTD, IDTA and RAD qualified. She has 8 years of full time teaching experience with both children and adults, preparing for shows and exams. She has choreographed and judged Strictly Come Dancing events.
Since 2011 Jenny has been the dance tutor for the Transition Year Musical Theatre class in Firhouse Community College choreographing full musical productions Smike, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Grease and Bring It On. Jenny has been teaching at Encore for 8 years and is well known for her boundless energy and enthusiasm!
Megan Doherty – Dance
Joined Encore Staff in 2009!
Megan was an Encore! student from the age of 10, completing her Musical Theatre and Drama exams while attending. She played many roles in Encore! shows over her years there, including Iris in Fame, Motel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Consuela in West Side Story, as well as the 10 Year anniversary production of Annie.
Megan was a Dance Leader at Encore from a very young age, running our “Dance Club” and assisting with the younger students. She also took part in Honk and Oliver with TMS, and has danced professionally for Leinster Rugby events.
She has been dancing since the age of 3 and has studied ballet, ballroom, hiphop, jazz and tap. Megan has worked at Encore! since leaving school and hopes to continue being part of the team for many years to come!
Lorna Pratt – Drama
Joined Encore Staff in 2011!
Lorna started drama at the age of 4 and took an instant shine to it. When Encore! opened its doors back in 1998, Lorna was one of the first students to join.
During her 10 years here she knew that she wanted to turn this passionate hobby into an exciting career. At Encore’s 10 Year Anniversary Production of Annie, she was delighted to play Ms.Hannigan and to this day it is one of the highlights of her performance memories.
From here Lorna went on to obtain a first class honours degree in BA Drama (Performance) at Dublin Institute of Technology. She has performed in theatres such as The Project Arts Centre (The Arabian Nights), The Helix (Oliver!), DIT Rathmines Theatre (Love, Lust and the Lack of It, Macbeth), The Mill Theatre (Annie) and The Civic Theatre (The Wizard of Oz).
She has also trained and completed various workshops including Screen Acting with Vinny Murphy, Stage and Screen Combat with Paul Burke, Le Coz Movement with Michael McCabe and a Master Class in Classical Acting at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon. Upon receiving her Drama degree Lorna was delighted to become a part of the Encore! teaching team. She loves teaching all her students from her “buzzing Blues” right the way through to her “spectacular Seniors”! Lorna thrives on the opportunity to help every student reach their full potential and become a star at Encore!
Edel Gillespie – Drama
Joined Encore Staff in 2001!
Edel has been facilitating Drama workshops since she was 17 years old, when she first started with Tallaght Youth Theatre. She went on to complete a degree in Theatre and Drama Studies with the Conservatory of Music and Drama, DIT.
Edel then worked on the production side of theatre for five years as both a production manager and stage manager. Edel also has a Bachelor of Education Honours degree, and has been working as a primary school teacher for seven years. Edel has been involved with Encore since 2001 and has loved every minute of it!
Madeline Ryan – Drama Encore Tots
Joined Encore Staff in 1999!
Maddy is a fully qualified Montessori teacher with many years of experience teaching in the Montessori classroom. She worked full time in Stillorgan Montessori before moving to The Pleasant Place where she was manager for a number of years. Maddy then opened her own Montessori school in St Patrick’s NS Glencullen which was very successful.
She performed in numerous dramatic productions with SMCO drama groups including The Crucible, Living Quarters, Fools and many more. She was also an active member of many musical groups and choirs, performing on stage with Stillorgan Musical Company, Sinead Variety Group, ESB MADSOC, The Park Singers and many more, taking part in concerts at the NCH and Waterford and Bangor Festivals.
Maddy was also chorus mistress for a number of Stillorgan Youth Musical Company productions. She has been on the staff of Encore for longer than she cares to remember, and is our Centre Supervisor in Knocklyon, Taney, Sandyford and Mill Theatre. Every child loves Maddy, and we love having her as an integral part of the Encore Team!
Ruth Cahill – Singing
Joined Encore Staff in 2001!
A classical, Irish and contemporary singer, Ruth holds a B.Mus (Hons) degree from the Conservatory of Music and Drama and a PGDE from NUI Maynooth,and has been training in singing from an early age. She has won many awards for her singing throughout Ireland and the UK, including Feis Ceoil Vocal Rose Bowl and the Soprano Solo.
She made her professional debut in Carnegie Hall (NYC) in 2009. She has worked regularly at the National Concert Hall, Dublin (Gilbert & Sullivan, A Night at the Musicals, A Night in Vienna) and her classical roles include Barbarinna in Opera Ireland/DIT The Marriage of Figaro at the Gaiety Theatre, Adele (Die Fledermaus) in A Night at the Opera and was a member of Opera Ireland chorus in La Traviata also at the Gaiety Theatre.
A versatile singer, Ruth loves to perform in musical theatre, and she has played many leading roles including Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof and Maria in the professional production of West Side Story at the Gaiety Theatre to name but a few. Ruth has been a teacher at Encore! School of Performing Arts for over 10 years.
Joeann Hussey – Drama
Joined Encore Staff in 2018
Joeann joined Encore as a student in 2013, and played many roles such as Carmen in FAME, Millie in 7 BRIDES FOR 7 BROTHERS and Taylor in Encore’s 20th Anniversary production of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL at The Helix. She also completed her drama exams at Encore, obtaining her Senior Certificate (LSMD). Joeann was an Encore leader for many years, assisting at classes and backstage at shows.
She is currently studying Speech and Language Therapy at Trinity College, where she also organises and teaches drama classes through the Trinity College Voluntary Tuition Programme.
Megan O’Neill – Dancing
Joined Encore Staff in 2018
Megan joined Encore at the age of 3 years old at Tots Ballet, and has never left! While a student at Encore she played roles such as Sandy in GREASE, Blousey Brown in BUGSY MALONE and Gabriella in the 20th Anniversary HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL in The Helix, as well as Lorraine in ALL SHOOK UP in CBC, and WEST SIDE STORY with SGPA at The Helix. Megan also completed her drama exams, achieving Grade 10 LSMD, and her Associate Diploma in Musical Theatre (IBSD).
She joined UCD in 2018, and since then has been a member of the UCD Fusion Dance Team, who compete nationally, and has performed in many venues with the team such as Electric Picnic, Perform at the RDS and The Mansion House, as well as numerous dance shows in UCD Astra Hall.
For 2020-21, Megan is the choreographer for the UCD competition team in Jazz. She has also performed with the UCD Musical Society on many occasions over the last 2 years in shows such as American Idiot, Company, and the AIMS award winning CABARET. Megan was also choreographer of THE ADDAMS FAMILY for UCD in November 2019.
Originally from Berkshire in England, Carl was awarded a full scholarship to train at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London. Since graduating, Carl has played many lead roles including ‘Herb’ in Godspell, ‘Tevye’ in Fiddler on the Roof, ‘Ernst Ludwig’ in Cabaret, ‘Barnum’ in Barnum, ‘Petruchio’ in Kiss Me Kate, ‘Luis’ in Copacabana, ‘Macbeth’ in Macbeth, ‘Principal Male’ in ‘Closer Than Ever’, ‘Diesel’ in West Side Story, ‘Jud Fry’ in ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘The Sergeant’ in Woyzeck at the New York Fringe Festival.
In 2008 Carl made his Westend debut at The Novello Theatre starring in ‘Eurobeat – Winning is Everything’, then, went on to star in ‘Evita’ as Eva Peron’s brother, Amos in the UK tour of ‘Whistle Down the Wind’, Finn in the UK tour of ‘Don’t Stop Believin, a tribute to Glee’.
He premiered ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ starring as ‘Captain Farrell’ in Dublin, ‘Danny’ in Cork Opera House’s production of Grease, a principal dancer in ‘Mrs Browns Boys D’Movie’ with June, danced for Jane Shortall at Croke Park, played The Beast in ‘Jedward and Beauty and the Beast’ at the Olympia Theatre, performed as a soloist in ‘West End in the Gable End’ in Montrose, Scotland, a backing vocalist for The Voice Of Ireland, ‘Grease’ in The Gaiety playing Danny once more, Principal dancer for the June Rodgers show in 2014, the 2014 national tour and 2018, Gaston in the Tivolis ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Panto and Abanazaar in Tivoli’s ‘Aladdin’ panto. Other credits include being a lead vocalist for ‘Children in Need’, co-presenting the Lawrence Olivier Awards with Richard Wilson, performing in a concert for the President of Israel., performing on Ireland AM and on ‘The Late Late Show’ with ‘Grease’ and Red Hurley.
As well as performing, Carl also spends a lot of time teaching and directing Musical Theatre. He has directed ‘New Fish’ for Smock Alleys Scene and Heard festival and assistant director for ‘Flynn’ in The Abbey He is currently co-director of Headline Stage School and on the Board of Directors of the Irish Academy of Musical Theatre (IAMT).