Lisa Dwan

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Lisa Dwan
Born (1977-11-22) 22 November 1977 (age 40)
Coosan, Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland
Nationality  Ireland
Occupation Actor, Director, Writer, and Dancer
Years active 1997 – present

Lisa Dwan (born 1977) is an Irish stage, film and television actress, director, and writer. She is best known for her performances and adaptations of the work of Samuel Beckett and other theater,[1] and as Zoe Burke in the Irish soap opera Fair City.

Early life[edit]

Dwan was born in Coosan, Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland, and originally trained as a ballet dancer. She was chosen to dance with Rudolf Nureyev in the Ballet San Jose's production of "Coppélia" in Dublin when she was 12 years old. She left school at 14 after winning a scholarship to attend the Dorothy Stevens School of Ballet in Leeds, and also danced with the London Lewis Ballet Company.[2][3][4] Dwan began acting professionally as a teenager.


Dwan's first movie was playing the role of Agnes in an adaptation of Oliver Twist, co-starring Elijah Wood and Richard Dreyfuss.

Dwan's first regular series role was as Princess Deirdre, the Mystic Knight of Air, on Saban's Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog. She played the role of Orla in eight episodes of RTÉ's "The Big Bow Wow" in 2004, the role of Zoe Burke in 28 episodes of the Irish soap opera Fair City from 2006 to 2007, and the role of Angel Islington on Rock Rivals.[5]

In January 2009 she starred opposite Martin Sheen as "Marika" in Bhopal: Prayer for Rain.

Dwan is most well known internationally for her performances and adaptations of Samuel Beckett's works; The Guardian calls her an "Irish actor and Beckett interpreter of the first rank."[6] She performed in Samuel Beckett's Not I in London's Battersea Arts Centre in 2005, and was interviewed with Billie Whitelaw as part of the Beckett celebrations on BBC Radio 3.[7] Dwan performed the piece again in July 2009 at the Southbank Centre in London in a time of nine minutes and fifty seconds, alongside two of Beckett's other short plays, Footfalls and Rockaby.[7] The event was repeated at Reading University in May 2013. [8] Dwan toured with "The Beckett Trilogy" at the Royal Court Theatre, West End, The Barbican Centre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and various international locations.[9]

In October 2016, Dwan adapted and starred in No's Knife, a one-woman production adapted from Beckett's Stories and Texts for Nothing at London's Old Vic and Abbey Theatre Dublin.[10] Dwan is the first woman to perform Beckett's Stories and Texts for Nothing.

In 2017, Dwan starred in Harold Pinter’s “The Lover” and “The Collection” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.[11] In 2016, Dwan starred in Marina Carr’s stage adaptation of Anna Karenina for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.[12] Other recent theater appearances include Shining City off-Broadway and at the Irish Repertory Theatre in 2016, Beside the Sea at the Southbank Centre in London in 2012, Margot, Diary of an Unhappy Queen in at the Barbican Centre in London in 2012, The Journey Between Us at Southbank Theatre in London in 2016, Illusions by Ivan Viripaev at the Bush Theatre in London, The Soldier’s Tale at the Hay Festival in 2013, The Importance of Being Earnest on tour in Ireland in 1999, and The History of the World at 3am at Andrews Lane Theatre in Dublin in 1996, among others.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Dwan regularly writes, lectures, and teaches on theatre, gender, and Beckett. Recent speaking engagements include appearances on BBC radio and television and WNYC.[21][22] She has lectured at the École Normale Supérieure, Trinity College Dublin, University of Reading, and the University of Oxford , and recently completed a residency at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, where she taught a class on adapting Beckett’s prose work.[23] Dwan was also a 2017-2018 artist in residence at Columbia University, where she worked with Irish writer Colm Toibin on Pale Sister, a play derived from the class they taught called “The Antigone Project.”[24][25]

Dwan is currently a resident fellow at the School of Art and Ballet at New York University.[26]



Year Title Role Notes
2017 Ovid: The Poet ad the Emperor Expert BBC documentary
2016 An Afterthought Arlene Gomez Short film
2014 Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain Marika
2014 The Engagement Vicky Short film
2006 Pop Shot Kate Short film
2001 Sparrowhawk Unknown Short film
2001 The Tailor of Panama Stewardess
2000 Moving Target Kate Credited as Lisa Duane
1998 Bloodlines: Legacy of a Lord Aspinall's Maid


Year Title Role Episode(s)
2018 Trust June 1 episode, "Lone Star"
2015 Artsnight Contributor and writer 1 episode, Richard Wilson on Samuel Beckett
2008 Rock Rivals Angel Islington 8 episodes
2006-07 Fair City Zoe Burke 28 episodes
2004 The Big Bow Wow Orla 5 episodes
1998-99 Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog Princess Deirdre 48 episodes
1997 The Wonderful World of Disney Agnes 1 episode, Oliver Twist (1997 Television film)


  1. ^ McKeon, Belinda (17 September 2016). "Lisa Dwan: Beckett made these wounds universal". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2018 – via 
  2. ^ The Stage Archived 1 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Dwan, Lisa (12 March 2018). "Lisa Dwan: Festival of Writing and Ideas". Retrieved 12 March 2018 – via 
  4. ^ "Lisa Dwan". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  5. ^ Cooper, Lorna. "Rock Rivals – Angel Islington". Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  6. ^ Kellaway, Kate (2016-10-09). "No's Knife review – a marathon and a triumph". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  7. ^ a b Lezard, Nicholas (8 July 2009). "Play Samuel Beckett's Mouth? Not I". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  8. ^ getreading (12 May 2013). "Rarely performed Beckett monologue at University of Reading". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Samuel Beckett Trilogy, Starring Lisa Dwan, to Transfer to London's West End". Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  10. ^ Masters, Tim (3 October 2016). "No's Knife role will leave me shattered, says Lisa Dwan". Retrieved 4 October 2016 – via 
  11. ^ "Review | Sex games in the afternoon, anyone? Harold Pinter knows how to write the rules". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  12. ^ Meany, Helen (2016-12-19). "Anna Karenina review – Lisa Dwan gives uncertain dazzle to Tolstoy". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  13. ^ "Review: 'Shining City' Is Brighter With Matthew Broderick". Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  14. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Lisa Dwan Leads BESIDE THE SEA at the Southbank Centre March 7-8". Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  15. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Lisa Dwan Leads BESIDE THE SEA at the Southbank Centre March 7-8". Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  16. ^ "INTRODUCING LISA DWAN". The London Sinfonietta Blog. 2016-02-06. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  17. ^ "Lisa Dwan". Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  18. ^ "The Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra - Hay Festival". Hay Festival. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  19. ^ "More sex,The Importance of Being Earnest - Town Hall Theatre, Galway lies and cucumber sandwiches". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  20. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-08-27.  External link in |title= (help)
  21. ^ "Lisa Dwan on Samuel Beckett, Series 1, My Muse - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  22. ^ FM, Player, John Guare and Lisa Dwan Talk Theater with Alec Baldwin, retrieved 2018-08-27 
  23. ^ "Lisa Dwan". Lewis Center for the Arts. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  24. ^ "People | Lisa Dwan | The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University". Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  25. ^ "Lisa Dwan and Colm Tóibín - Hay Festival". Hay Festival. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  26. ^ "Lisa Dwan - The Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU". The Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 

External links[edit]