BOARD OF DIRECTORS

BRENDAN COSTELLO Jr.

President

Brendan Costello Jr. teaches creative writing at The City College of New York, where he earned his MFA. He won the Irwin and Alice Stark Award for short fiction. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Salon.com, The Huffington Post, OpenLettersMonthly.com, smokebox.net, and Epiphany Magazine. Brendan has taught online courses for the National MS Society, and is also the former producer and co-host of The Largest Minority on WBAI radio in New York.

DARRAH CARR

Vice President

Darrah Carr is an Assistant Professor in the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY.  She is the Artistic Director of Darrah Carr Dance –  a Bessie Award nominated Irish dance company that specializes in ModERIN: a unique blend of traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. Performance highlights include: “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The New Victory Theater, Celebrate Brooklyn, the Irish Repertory Theatre, and the company’s annual season at Irish Arts Center.  Carr holds a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University.  She received an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University. Carr has presented her research at the Dance Studies Association, the National Dance Education Organization, and Dance Research Forum Ireland.  She has contributed numerous articles to Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, and Dance Studio Life.  Carr was named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by The Irish Echo and one of the “Most Influential Women of 2010” by The Irish Voice.  She was the 2020 artist honoree for Irish Arts Center’s yearly Show Your Love celebration.  Darrah Carr Dance is represented by Siegel Artist Management.     

LIZA ENGESSER

Secretary

Liza Engesser is the newly elected secretary of IAW&A. She received her BA from Queens College, where she completed a minor in Irish Studies, after she graduated she began collaborating on The Irish in New York Oral History Project. During the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic she conducted an Oral History of the Irish Community and created a podcast from the interviews that was featured on RTE Colm O’Mangan’s Pandemic Podcast. She also began volunteering with IAW&A and collaborating on their Newsletter. In 2022 she was invited to work on IAW&A’s oral history project called “Crossing the Waters.” The documentary premiered as part of Origin Theater’s 1st Irish Festival in the beginning of 2023. “Crossing The Waters” will begin a new filmed chapter this year. She’s a member of the Archivist’s Round Table. Liza is an avid reader, loves literature, history, the theater and film. She lives in Queens, NY.

SHELLEY ANN QUILTY-LAKE

Treasurer

A native of Co. Wexford, Shelley Ann Quilty-Lake is a partner at Meenan & Associates, LLC, a NYC law firm. She represents employees with redressing their workplace issues, including unfair treatment at work or during the application process, and the discriminatory terms and conditions of their employment. Shelley Ann also represents parties in an array of estate matters, including probate, administration and accounting proceedings in the Surrogate’s Courts across New York City. Shelley Ann is a long-time member of the Board of Directors for the Irish American Bar Association of New York (IABANY). She also served for years on the Executive Board of the Irish Business Organization of New York (IBO) as Treasurer and then First Vice President. She was proud to serve as the Chairperson of the IBO’s inaugural Women’s Networking Committee, and continues to serve as a member of this committee, which organizes networking events and opportunities for women by selecting female thought leaders and speakers to educate, inspire, and motivate attendees. In 2019, Shelley Ann was awarded the Irish Echo 40 Under 40 Justice Ambassador Award, the Belfast Ambassador Medal as part of the Belfast International Homecoming and was honored by the Emerald Isle Immigration Center (EIIC). She has been named by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Employment Litigation: Plaintiff for the New York Metro area from 2016 through 2019, and as a Super Lawyer in Employment Litigation: Plaintiff for 2020-2021.

CONOR BAGLEY

Director

Conor Bagley is a New York-based director interested in tragedies, tragicomedies, and seeing the private, sacred moments in the mundane, with a special place in his heart for Irish drama. His directing credits include Two by Friel by Brian Friel at Off Broadway’s Irish Repertory Theatre, The Adult in the Room at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, An Iliad at Atlas Performing Arts Center in DC (a 2018 DC Metro Theatre Arts’ staff favorite for “Outstanding Performance in a Professional Production”), plus Shining City  by Conor McPherson and Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel at Yale University. He has been fortunate to assist and learn from several great directors, including Charlotte Moore and Neil Pepe in New York, and Conall Morrison at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. During Covid-19, he has been directing theatre virtually, including scenes from Jenna and the Whale by Vanessa Garcia & Jake Cline, Borrowed by Jim Kierstead, and Coral Gables by Christopher Demos-Brown (Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Monologues). In addition to directing, he has co-produced two shows on Broadway: The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez and Once on This Island, winner of the 2018 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Bagley is one of Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2019-2020 Directing Fellows.

LORI CASSELS

Director

Lori Cassels is a playwright, writer, songwriter, and poet.

Her CD Tear of the Cloud is a compilation of original songs and poems  that are full of love and family.  The song Tear of the Clouds, which is the source of the Hudson River has been covered by other Hudson Valley musicians. Former coordinator of Alameda Library Writers Group.

Lori is currently a Travis Bogard Day Use Writer fellow at the Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House in Danville, California, working on a series of Eugene O’Neill themed plays.

Her stories and poems have been published in Irish America, Irish of the Welcomes, Alameda Sun, Bay Station Eagle, and Platform Review.

A native New Yorker, Lori now lives in Alameda, California.

ANNALISA CHAMBERLIN

Director

Annalisa Chamberlin is an actor and proud New Yorker. Her background in classical music and performing arts set her on a creative path as a child, one she continues to follow to this day. She graduated from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, where she focused on acting for film and television. For over a decade, she was a resident actor and dramaturg at The Cry Havoc Company, also serving as a mentor in their apprenticeship program for young actors and writers. She has originated various roles in collaboration with Wallis Knot Theatre, often contributing original music to productions. She has had the privilege to appear in multiple theater festivals in New York City, including New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF), New York Theater Festival, Rising Sun Performance Theater Festival, and Origin Theatre’s 1st Irish Festival, where she starred in, directed, sound-designed, and co-produced the world premiere of Boann and the Well of Wisdom. She has appeared in independent films, commercial and print, and most recently made her network television debut on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, playing Kate Wallace in the final episodes of the show’s 24th season. Annalisa was one of the 2023 recipients of the Irish Echo’s Arts & Culture Awards and considers it a great honor to collaborate with Irish-American artists and creatives alike. Please visit Annalisa’s website.

SARAH FEARON

Director

Sarah Fearon is a graduate of the High School of Performing Arts, and New York University. Her film credits include Reversal of Fortune, Liebestraum, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and The Comedian. Her short plays TED talks NYC, Air Rights and 2B have been presented at The Players Theater, Origins 1st Irish Festival, The Electric Picnic in Ireland and The Cell theater. Her work has been seen in Irish America Magazine, at the American Irish Historical Society Irish Press Awards, Funny Pages at the Stone House in Brooklyn, Rockaway Artists Alliance, West Side Comedy Club, Gotham Comedy Club, The Metropolitan Room, The Emerald Inn, Stand Up NY, the Irish Arts Center Sundays at Seven and many benefits in NYC. Her character Snazzy Peabody, a real estate legend in her own mind, can be found on SarahFearon.com. Sarah is a real estate salesperson at The Corcoran Group.

MALACHY McCOURT

Director

Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn, NY and from the age of three was raised in Limerick, Ireland. He returned to the land of his birth at age twenty and began his long-running career as a stage and screen actor, raconteur, radio personality, and writer. He has appeared on and off Broadway in Mass Appeal, Da, The Hostage, Inherit the Wind, and A Couple of Blaguards, which he co-authored and starred in with his brother Frank. His TV credits include appearances on many soap operas and as a guest on The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien and The Late, Late Show. His movie career has also been varied, with roles in The Molly McGuires, She’s the One, Devil’s Own, Green Card, and many others. As a writer, he has published a New York Times best-selling memoir, A Monk Swimming, as well as a history of the song Danny Boy, a history of the Claddagh ring, and Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland. Malachy is a co-host of the radio show Talk Back on Wednesdays from 10am to noon on WBAI 99.5FM.

JOHN McDONAGH

Director

John McDonagh is a playwright, cab driver, comic and political activist. After a three-month run at the Irish Repertory Theatre his play Off The Meter on the Record is currently on a world tour, starting in Long Island City, Queens then on to Donegal, Dublin, and back again. Directed by world-renowned Ciaran O’Reilly, the play is the culmination of a thirty-five-year career of driving a yellow cab while trying to make a difference in the world. John’s plays have been produced in the NYC Fringe Festival and at the cell theatre in NYC.  He is currently producer and host of Radio Free Eireann with Malachy McCourt, a weekly radio show heard on Pacifica station WBAI, New York. He recently appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and in a documentary on French TV. John showed Stephen Fry his New York on the BAFTA award winning film Stephen Fry in America, and taught Richard Hammond to drive a yellow cab in Top Gear in America. John began his career as a NYC Yellow cab driver after serving in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Vietnam War, and was recently honored to be chosen by painter Mary Whyte to represent the state of New York in her series of paintings of veterans called We the People. John was one of the featured veterans in the CBS Sunday Morning piece on the exhibition. John’s parents emigrated from Co. Donegal and Tyrone, Ireland to Queens, New York and, while raised in New York, John spent his summers in Ireland. He is a frequent contributor to the IAWA salons. For more information on John please visit his website.

JOHN MUNNELLY

Director

John Munnelly is an award winning songwriter, author, artist and performer. Born in Cavan, Co. Cavan, Ireland to Mayo ‘Muinteoir’ parents. John was brought up to go to mass on Sundays, study, take piano lessons and drink loads of tea.

In 2017 John had an idea to add value back to music by creating something that had inherent physical artistic value. He recorded an acoustic EP on CD titled “XU” which stands for Expanding Universe. As a visual artist he designed and hand-printed each individual CD and included a fanzine style lyrics insert. Each CD package is a unique, numbered, limited edition and not available in any other channel.

He is also an author with memoir pieces published in the 2018 New York Writers Coalition book “From Page to Page” & Vol 1 of the ‘Voices of Lefferts’ Journal. John teaches technology on a part time basis and also developed his own Songwriting Boot camp at the Irish Arts center in NY.

He is perennially creative and his latest project more entrepreneurial. John is the ‘chef’ cook & bottle-washer at Hattwood Hot Sauce. His sauces have become the go-to condiment on the tables of NY & international foodies with customers in France, Ireland, the Caribbean and Australia. Look out for Hattwood Sauce (and John) this Summer at the Down to Earth Farmers Markets through the city and beyond or online at hattwood.com.

For more on John please visit his website.

 

JAMES ROGERS

Director

Originally from Ireland, James Rogers lives in New York and is a teacher at the United Nations International School. His short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, including The First Line, The Galway Review and Inscape. His debut novel, Flight of the Eternal Emperor, was published at the end of 2023.

Please visit James’s website.

KATHLEEN WALSH D’ARCY

Director

Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy is a native New Yorker with roots in Offaly and Tipperary. She lived and worked in Dublin for several years. She has worked as a writer, editor, teacher and social worker. She compiled and co-edited Territories of the Voice: Short Fiction by Irish Women Writers (Beacon Press), the first American collection of Irish women’s short stories. Her work has been published in Irish America Magazine, and All American Women (Macmillan). She wrote and produced Inside Stories, an oral history of women in NYC nursing homes, which was performed at the 92nd Street Y, and The Project Theatre in Dublin. Kathleen is active in the New York Irish community. She is a Director of  the Irish Institute, and co-chair of the inclusive, multi-cultural St. Pat’s For All Parade. In 2016, she received the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad which recognizes the contributions of members of the Irish diaspora.