Lelia Doolan

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Lelia Doolan, is an Irish producer.

Doolan was born in Cork in 1934. She studied French and German at University College Dublin, where she won a scholarship to study at the Brecht Theatre in Germany.

She presented and acted in shows on the newly established RTÉ in 1961 but soon moved into a role as producer/director, after training in the United States. She was responsible for the establishment of The Riordans rural soap opera.

She became concerned at the one sided nature of the material being received from USA only and broadcast by RTÉ on the Vietnam War and attempted to send a 7 Days film crew there from Ireland but they were prevented from traveling at Dublin Airport by direct Irish government action.

She was once described by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid as "mad, bad, and dangerous".[1]

Shortly after being made head of light entertainment, Doolan resigned in protest at the political and commercial policies of RTÉ.

Doolan became artistic director of the Abbey Theatre for two years before studying for her PhD in Anthropology at Queen's University. While she was there, she also worked in community video and adult education in Belfast. Her unpublished Ph.D. thesis at Belfast Queen's University in 1977 was "Elements of the Sacred and Dramatic in Some Belfast Urban Enclaves".

She taught at the College of Commerce, Rathmines (now part of the DIT) between 1979 and 1988, where she established and was head of the first Irish course in Media Communications, teaching Bryan Dobson (news anchor), Fergus Tighe (film director), Anne Cassin (newsreader), and Ned O'Hanlon (U2 and Rolling Stones video director) amongst others.

In 1987 she produced Reefer and the Model,[2] with director Joe Comerford. In April 1993 she was appointed chairperson of the Irish Film Board, a role she filled for three years before retiring.[3] She was also a founder and director of the Galway Film Fleadh.[4]

She has been a prominent defender of LGBT rights.

She was involved in opposing both the Burren Interpretative Centre and the Corrib Gas pipeline. She lives in Kilcolgan near Galway where she tends a herb and vegetable garden. Lelia Doolan's documentary in 2011 Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey about Bernadette Devlin screened at the 2011 BFI London Film Festival.


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