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About Us

Mel Ryan - Mel Ryan Drama School

Mel Ryan

Mel studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, The Gaiety School of Acting, The Bil Keating Centre for TV Presentation Skills and Carr Communications.

She has been playing leading roles in The Gaiety Theatre, The National Concert Hall, The Olympia Theatre, The Cork Opera House, The Wexford Opera House among others in Ireland for over 30 years. She has also presented many concerts in the National Concert Hall, The Pavilion Theatre and Jury’s Hotel. TV, Radio and Film Credits include: The Late Late Show, Prime Time, Theatre Nights (all for RTE), the Mum in Turkle (RTE), Mother in Fantabulous! (IADT), Stella in Aisling’s Diary (CR Productions/RTE) and Aine in Graham Jones’s latest feature film, Davin. Commercials for Supervalue, A1 Waste, Meteor, Vodafone, Ebookers and Moypark Chicken, Pinergy and Paddy Power (RTE/ TV3).

Mel founded the school in 2011 with two students and is proud to say that the school now has nearly 500 students in six venues in South County Dublin.  She has three grown up children and has always had a special interest in mentoring young people. She is completely dedicated to helping them believe in themselves and to feel that they are capable of achieving more than they realise. She is also very passionate about supporting teenagers through the challenges and pressure of secondary school years.

Astrid Courtney

Astrid studied Drama & Theatre Studies and followed on to complete her Associate Diploma in Drama Teaching with the Leinster School of Music & Drama. She is also a qualified Montessori teacher and trained in Child Protection and Child Welfare.  She worked in Vancouver for a year where she directed plays and was involved in an out-reach drama programme for teens in disadvantaged areas. She also has worked extensively as a stage manager for many theatres throughout Ireland including The Abbey Theatre.

With over 17 years drama teaching experience, Astrid is specialised in teaching life skills through the medium of drama, music and public speaking and is passionate about building confidence and resilience in young people.

Astrid is a trained iheart Programme Facilitator and teaches our iheart Programme (Innate Health Education & Resilience Training).  This transformative fun and interactive programme, for ages 10-18yrs, focuses on maintaining mental health, uncovering innate resilience and educating young people about our psychological system to cope with the challenges of teenage life.

Niambh Doolan

Niambh passionately believes in providing a secure foundation from which children can explore their world through creativity. It is this belief which has led Niambh on the road to providing specialist education to children with additional educational needs. In Niambh’s classes, children are afforded the opportunity to follow a differentiated curriculum where required; specifically developed to support individual children’s attainment.

Niambh’s classes focus on learning through immersion and play, using multi-sensory modalities to encourage engaged and active students.

In addition to Speech and Drama and Creative Drama teaching, Niambh also works with Mainstream Primary Schools to provide bespoke education programmes developed to target the needs of individual pupils – Drama for EAL, Drama for ASD, Drama for Aistear at Junior and Senior Infant level, as well as transition workshops for 6th classes.

Niambh teachers Dream Believe Achieve Classes at the Mel Ryan School.

Erica Murray


Erica has a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin and an MFA in Playwriting from The Lir Academy. Her first play; The Cat’s Mother, toured to London, Edinburgh and Dublin Fringe in 2018 where it won the Fishamble Award for Best New Writing and was nominated for the Stewart Parker Award. In 2019 she was awarded the prestigious Channel 4 Playwright Bursary and was the writer in residence at The Lyric Theatre where her second play; All Mod Cons, premiered. She is currently writing a new play for Rough Magic Theatre Company and is represented by the literary agency Independent Talent. During her residency at the Lyric, Erica facilitated a number of writing workshops as part of NT Connections and with the Lyric Drama Studio. Erica has been teaching with The Mel Ryan School for a number of years and is passionate about instilling a love of the arts from an early age.

Allanah Scully

Allanah began performing at the age of three and has trained professionally in Drama,
Musical Theatre, Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz and Tap.
She has a Masters in Theatre Practice and Production from NUI Galway and a BA Undergrad
in English and Drama from University College Dublin.
Allanah also obtained a Diploma in dance with The College Of Dance Monkstown and has
received a distinction in all grades of drama including a gold medal for her final LAMDA
Alongside teaching Musical Theatre, Drama and Dance professionally for the last 7 years,
Allanah has also worked as a Creative Associate with the Arts Council of Ireland since 2019,
working with schools across the country to enhance their creativity. She is also Director of a
Youth Theatre Company in Dublin.
Outside of Theatre, Allanah also worked with children’s charity Barretstown as a Music and
Drama Activity Leader and continues to volunteer there on a regular basis, she is dedicated
to the wellbeing of children and believes the arts are the key to a happy childhood.
Credits Include: Olympia Pantomimes from 2007-2013, CITV’s ‘Bels Boys’ in which she
played the lead character of bel and RTÉ’s ‘Five Little Fingers’ in which she played the role of
Other Work Includes: Director (Jekyll and Hyde), Dance Captain (A Chorus Line)

Naomi Wardle

iheart Programme Co-ordinator

Naomi is a Chartered Surveyor with an Honours degree in Property Economics and a Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation & Leadership from the Innovation Academy, UCD.  She is also qualified in Training Delivery & Evaluation and has over 20 years of experience working as a Property Advisor and Project Manager.

Also a trained iheart Facilitator, Naomi will teach and coordinate the delivery of the Programme. She is dedicated to using her training in health education and resilience to support the development of young people, including her own three children.

Aislng Breen


Aisling is a Dublin based performer and teacher. 

Theatre appearances include “Shaz” in ‘Tinder the Comedy’ (Tivoli Theatre/Olympia Theatre/UK tour). “Resident Director/Understudy” ‘Menopause The Musical’ (UK Tour). “Mrs Pugh” in ‘Annie’, “Lina Lamont” in ‘Singin’ In The Rain’, “Ensemble and U/S Miss Lynch/Jan” Grease (at Cork Opera House). “Sunshine Suzy” in ‘The Snow Queen’ and “Slip” in ‘The Little Mermaid’ at The Gaiety Theatre. 


Television and film productions include: Fair City(Marina Delaney), Apres Match.  Commercials for Aldi,  Glohealth, Dunnes Stores and An Post. 


Aisling is also a trained dancer/choreographer and has worked on many tv shows and films in Ireland as part of the dance/movement team. These appearances include Penny Dreadful, Vikings Valhalla, The Last Duel, Tudors, Camelot and Fame The Musical. Aisling was the Movement Director on the play “A Day in May” and assisted the choreographer on the musical “Angel Of Broadway”. 


Aisling strives to help students overcome stage fright and performance anxiety and focuses on confidence building in class, making performance and play accessible to every age group! 

Elaine Gallagher


Elaine trained with Bull Alley Theatre Training Company from 2002-2006 graduating with an ATCL from Trinity Gulidhall ,London.

Credits include playing Mother Courage in Mother Courage at Smock Alley, Bride in  Blood Wedding at The Project Arts Theatre , Various Characters in Hamlet in Tallaght Theatre,  Jane in I Have Five Daughters at The Project Arts Theatre. Elaine has also starred in West Side Story, Chess and City of Angels at the Driocht Theatre and the Dublin premiere of Ragtime The Musical at the O’ Reilly Theatre.

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