Druid appoints new Executive Director and Head of Development

Introducing our new Executive Director Anneliese Davidsen and new Head of Development Jay Perry

22 January 2024

Druid Theatre today announced the appointment of two new members of staff: Anneliese Davidsen as Executive Director and Jay Perry as Head of Development. Anneliese will take up her position in February while Jay has already joined the company.

These appointments happen at a time of great success for the Galway theatre company, which recently concluded an international tour of its record-breaking, five-star production DruidO’Casey, and is now preparing for an ambitious programme of work in 2024 and its 50th anniversary in 2025.

Anneliese Davidsen has 20 years’ theatre experience in the cultural sector, most recently with ten years as Executive Director of London’s Unicorn Theatre, the UK's leading theatre for young audiences. Previously she held senior roles at the Young Vic, Sadler’s Wells, and touring company Paines Plough. In spring 2020, she became Director of Two Temple Place, a charity-owned historic building, leading its cultural and community programmes.

As Executive Director, working in partnership with Artistic Director Garry Hynes, Anneliese will deliver the commercial, people, financial, operational and fundraising capabilities for Druid to ensure that its artistic vision is supported by an effective operating model.

Jay Perry previously served as Director of Development & Fundraising with the Irish Film Institute. He moved to Dublin in 2021 from St. Louis, Missouri where he worked to raise funds for a variety of US non-profit arts and culture organisations including the Gateway Arch Park Foundation and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

As Head of Development, under the direction of the newly appointed Executive Director Anneliese Davidsen, Jay will lead Druid’s development and fundraising functions, helping the company achieve its artistic ambitions via an extensive network of supporters and strategic partners in Ireland and across the globe.

Tom Joyce, Chair of Druid’s Board of Directors: ‘On behalf of Druid’s Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome Anneliese and Jay to Druid Lane. With international expertise and a passion for theatre and the arts, I am confident that they will both greatly contribute to the ongoing success of our company.’

Garry Hynes, Druid’s Artistic Director: ‘As our 50th anniversary approaches in 2025, I look forward to working with Anneliese and Jay who join our small but dedicated team of theatre professionals. Our mission is to be a touring theatre without peer, anchored in the West of Ireland and looking to the world. Anneliese and Jay will play key roles in achieving this mission.’

Anneliese Davidsen, Druid’s incoming Executive Director: ‘It’s an absolute thrill to be joining Druid this year. As a long-time admirer of the company’s inspiring and visionary work, I can’t wait to start working with Garry and the whole team on the adventure ahead, continuing to deliver brilliant theatre to national and international audiences.’

Jay Perry, Druid’s incoming Head of Development: ‘I’m very excited to have joined Druid and I look forward to working with the company’s worldwide network of friends and supporters whose generosity enables us to deliver first-class theatre productions, artist development initiatives and community and education programmes.’

Photos by Declan Colohan