Winner 2011

Cathal Cleary, Theatre Director

Photo by Alastair Muir

Cathal Cleary's winning production of Disco Pigs, by Enda Walsh, had a sell-out run at the Young Vic from 2nd - 28th September 2011.

Cathal graduated from National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Drama & Theatre Studies in 2005. He assisted JMK Award alumni Joe Hill-Gibbins on The Beauty Queen of Leenane at The Young Vic (under the Jerwood Assistant Directors’ Program) and Polly Findlay on Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales at the Lyric Hammersmith.

He was the founder of touring company Zelig, based in Galway, overseeing five productions between 2006 - 2009 and was the Trainee Artistic Director for the Donmar Warehouse from 2014 to 2016. He won the house theatre Re-Comission Award in 2015.

Cathal has directed for The Abbey (Ireland's National Theatre), Young Vic, Druid Theatre, Print Room and Papatango amongst others. Productions he has directed have toured to theatres across Ireland and the UK including Sheffield Crucible, Birmingham Rep, Glasgow Tron, Lyric Belfast and Cork Everyman.

He is also the Artistic Director of MOMMO Theatre which creates work in both Dublin and London. MOMMO's first production, Karen Cogan's The Half of It, won the First Fortnight Award at the Dublin Fringe Festival.


Winning the JMK Award has allowed me to work on a play that I feel very passionately about, with an incredibly talented group of people and in one of the most exciting and  progessive theatres in London. This simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of the trust. For this rare and unique opportunity I feel hugely privileged and thankful.” - Cathal Cleary

"There is no doubt that Cathal Cleary is a very talented and imaginative young director. Repeatedly, he shows flashes of brilliance that herald a bright future." - British Theatre Guide

"Funny and terrifying at the same time, Disco Pigs is superb." - The Independent

"Cathal Cleary, the director, won this year’s JMK Award. You can see — from his mastery of stagecraft, from the way he siphons the energy from his talented cast of Charlie Murphy and Rory Fleck-Byrne — that he has every chance of following such JMK winners as Thea Sharrock and Bijan Sheibani  to the top table." - The Times

Charlie Murphy and Rory Fleck-Byrne Charlie Murphy in Disco Pigs. Production image: Elliott Franks.

The runners up this year are Prasanna Puwanarajah, Abigail Graham and Tom Attenborough, who each receive a £1,000 award, funded by the Ian Ritchie Foundation.