LK Shields AR Programme

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Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts, Minister Josepha Madigan T.D and Emmet Scully, Managing Partner, LK Shields, at the announcement of the business participants in the match-funded AR Programme with Creative Ireland’s National Creativity Fund and Business to Arts, in the RHA Gallery. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography.

The AR Programme is a partnership between Business to Arts and the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund, working with businesses to develop new (or significantly enhance their existing) CSR activity. The AR Programme covers a broad spectrum of activity, with programmes involving community engagement, staff engagement and work-place creative activities by the host companies and artists.

LK Shields are a leading Irish corporate and commercial law firm with offices in Dublin and Galway, who are keen to develop a CSR strategy incorporating workplace culture, skills development and staff engagement, with the aim of assisting young adults to gain access to employment.


SOAR (success overcoming all resistance) is the LK Shields AR Programme, taking place in Galway city. Following an open call process, theatre practitioner James Riordan has been selected to work with Access Students in NUI Galway, and members of LK Shields staff, facilitating performance-based and education-based workshops, helping participants to develop key skills such as leadership, presentation and collaborative skills.

From October 2019 – May 2020, James will facilitate 12 two-hour workshops, using theatre games and movement exercises to help participants develop key skills. The workshops will culminate in a showcase performance in May 2020 featuring NUI Galway Access Students and LK Shields staff.

Artist Profile

Headshot: Julia Dunin Photography

Headshot: Julia Dunin Photography

James Riordan is from Galway and trained at LISPA (London) and the APT (Berlin). He worked as a performer and deviser in England for many years including with The English National Opera and as a core member of The Lipsinkers (U.K.) He returned to Ireland and founded Brú Theatre as Artistic Director with producer Jill Murray in 2018. Since then Brú have produced three shows, toured nationally and in 2020 will premier two new pieces and begin touring internationally. Brú work bilingually, collaborate widely and have made both site specific and theatre based work.

He is currently on Creative Europe’s Make a Move program, a participant on Theatre Forum’s MAKE program 2019 and a performance director with Macnas. He works freelance as a performer and director and is a member of Theatre 57 and Garraí na Ghiorria.

Selvage, written by James, was staged in the Town Hall, Galway in late November, and was nominated for two Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards. Brú have recently been commissioned by Galway 2020 and NUIG’s Aistriú program, creating a site specific, bilingual piece next Spring in collaboration with Dr. Máiréad Ní Chróinín.

Commenting on his selection as the LK Shields Artist-in-Residence, James said:

“I am delighted to be working with Business to Arts and LK Shields to bring creative and educational workshops to LK Shields employees and students in NUIG’s Access centre. Throughout my time on the initiative we will be exploring ideas around leadership, negotiating and team work through the use of theatre games and exercises along with working with video and sound. I’m really looking forward to guiding participants through the next 9 months, culminating in a public presentation of the process next Spring. I’m passionate about what I do and feel lucky to be able to share some of what I’ve learned with participants in a creative and positive environment.”

Michael Kavanagh, Chairman, LK Shields Solicitors commented:

“We are delighted to assist the NUI Galway Access students and hope that the SOAR workshop series will help them achieve their personal and career goals.  Central to our firms’ values are the ideas of access and opportunity and we believe these values firmly align with the ethos of NUI Galway Access.  My colleagues and I look forward to participating in the collaborative workshops that form part of this series of workshops and wish the students every success this academic year.”

Dr. Mary Surlis, Academic Director, NUI Galway Access Programme stated:

“The Access Programme, which LK Shields and Creative Ireland has become involved with, targets students in the community who have the ability to benefit from, and succeed in higher education but who, for a variety of social and economic reasons, are under-represented at third level. SOAR offers a very exciting opportunity to our students to engage in a programme of personal and professional development, and to experience the support and encouragement of a team of dedicated contributors from both the Arts and the Professions. Experientially, this will undoubtedly benefit our students enormously.”

For any queries or more information, please contact Sarah.

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