Mission, Vision, & History


Corrib Theatre’s mission is to bring Irish playwrights’ unique perspective on oppression and empowerment, and conflict and resolution, to Portland in order to change our world for the better.


Corrib Theatre engages, inspires, entertains, and challenges audiences with theatrical productions dealing with universal issues filtered through the Irish experience, with a focus on women, and lesser-known voices.

We celebrate Ireland’s dramatic transformation in the recent decades of the 21st century and its emergence as a world leader in social and progressive arenas.

We foster a diverse theatre community in our artists and patrons, including the LGBTQ, Deaf, disability, immigrant, incarcerated, and formerly incarcerated communities, and celebrate the essential power of the theatre to illuminate our common humanity.

We draw on Ireland’s history of colonialism, genocide, famine, and immigration and its post-independence systems of oppression, inequality, and misogyny, and through dramatic presentations spark recognition, raise awareness, and create discussion which can lead to action and change.


Corrib Theatre began in 2012 with a reading of A Night in November by Marie Jones, and now produces a full three-play season. Founding artistic director Gemma Whelan is Irish born and raised, and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area as a freelance director and educator for over 25 years before moving to Portland.

In 2016, Corrib added the annual Irish Theatre Tour, which brings a group of theatre-goers to experience contemporary and cutting-edge theatre in Ireland. This yearly trip to Ireland has also helped Corrib to foster relationships with numerous Irish playwrights and theatre practitioners and to bring their work to the Portland stage.

Corrib Theatre is the only professional Irish theatre company in the western United States.

What Does Corrib Mean?

Corrib is a river and a lake on the west coast of Ireland. According to place name lore, Corrib was a god of the sea.