Kaite O’Reilly has won various awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (Bush Theatre, London), Manchester Evening News Best Play of 2004 for Perfect (Contact Theatre) and was one of the winners of the 2009 International Susan Smith Blackburn Award for The Almond and the Seahorse (Sherman Cymru). Her new version of Aeschylus’s Persians was directed in August 2010 by Mike Pearson site-specifically on Ministry of defence land in Wales, part of the inaugural year of National Theatre Wales, and won the 2011 Ted Hughes Award for New Works in Poetry. She works extensively within disability arts and culture, and wrote the ground breaking peeling for Graeae Theatre in 2002 (two national and European tours, British Council Best of British showcase at Edinburgh Fringe 2003). She has recently received an Unlimited Commission, part of the Cultural Olympiad for the London Olympics, to create The ‘D’ Monologues, which will be produced in 2012 by National Theatre Wales as In Water I’m Weightless, before transferring to London as part of the official celebrations for the Olympic Games. Other productions in 2012 include The Echo Chamber with The Llanarth Group (Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff) and Leaner, Faster, Stronger, a Cultural Olympiad Commission with Chol/Sheffield Theatres (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, then on tour). She is a Fellow of International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures”, Freie Universitat, Berlin.
Kaite worked with me as dramaturg on projects that writernet ran with Graeae to develop new disabled voices for the stage, she was also part of the core creative team that helped establish the fence. She came with me to Belgrade to the IETM to speak on the Opening Plenary Panel I was Chairing as I wanted to interject her work from a deaf and disability perspective into the problematics of nationalism and NATO’s recent bombing of Serbia, to open up thinking. It was Kaite who as a Devon resident, invited Sarah Dickenson and myself to come to the South West and set up the Theatre Writing Network there. Kaite combines passionate enthusiasm and political commitment with a deep professional rigour. She moves deftly between different areas of her practice, is an indefatigable advocate and activist for disability arts and disabled artists, and works extensively internationally.