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Maggie Breathnach


Maggie Breathnach

Maggie Breathnach is an IFTA and RTS Ireland award-winning Director/Producer with over two decades industry experience. During that time, she has created content for broadcasters, both nationally and internationally including RTÉ, Sky Arts, TG4, BBC ALBA, and Oireachtas TV. 

Having started my career with Forefront Productions, I went on to co-found Red Shoe Productions in 2007, now based in the Gaeltacht in An Rinn, Waterford. At Red Shoe, I worked with Ireland's national Irish/Gaelic language broadcaster, TG4 to create their flagship arts show “Imeall”, showcasing over 100 artists in short films. 

Following the success of “Imeall”, I have directed and produced a number of highly successful programmes including “Gradam Ceoil” - the traditional Irish music equivalent of the Grammys - which I transformed from a pre-recorded awards show to a 2-hour live extravaganza of Irish singing, music and dance, whilst also generating partnerships with various organisations in Belfast and establishing a solid programme of fringe events as well as the live broadcast of the main show. I have also produced and directed “Fleadh Cheoil” for RTÉ; “Between Worlds” - a feature documentary on the composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin for RTÉ; and most recently “Voices of Ireland” for Sky Arts which won the Best Specialist Factual award at the RTS Ireland Awards 2022. 

Being a fluent Irish speaker, I relocated my entire business from Dublin back to the Gaeltacht over six years ago, to contribute to the cultural landscape in the regions and to create employment. I have a strong passion for women in the arts, and my most recent production celebrates the work and lives of Lily and Lolly Yeats. Mirroring their work ethic, I employed women as our core team behind the camera, as well as on screen. 

In an increasingly challenging climate, my commitment for support and renumeration for artists remains. In terms of supporting artists financially, I have lobbied and ensured that artists get proper renumeration for their work on screen in all our productions. I also made a rule for my company that we hire musicians to create our musical scores and not use library music. Financial challenges persist for artists with living and working conditions, but I remain hopeful that we can continue to encourage and engage activity and participation among artists and spectators alike. 

Increased engagement with the arts through digital technology is hugely exciting in terms of reaching younger audiences, but it can be an unstable and unpredictable career path for them. From my two decades in the industry, I have an innate understanding of artists and a deep appreciation of their determination. I understand that each artist sees their job as a vocation, and I deeply respect their approach. With broadcasters and stakeholders, I take pride in my ability to persuade them of the value and reach of a particular event, gaining their trust and support for that project, and in effect reaching a wider audience. 

In recent years, I have gained invaluable board experience, enhancing my skills in effective governance, strategic planning, and collaborative leadership. In 2016 I was elected to the Board of Screen Producers Ireland (SPI), within which I am also a member of the Coiste Gaeilge and Diversity, Inclusion & Equality committees. Collaborating with fellow board members, I play a key role in shaping policies and navigating industry challenges with mindful deliberations and a commitment to transparency. In 2019, I joined the Irish Language Advisory Committee whose aim is to develop and promote initiatives that will help increase the levels of Irish available to audiences on both radio and television. 

My mission and purpose is to help shape the cultural landscape of the future, ensuring that all children on this great island of ours continue to be nourished and enriched by our great creativity. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

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