Ailís Ní Ríain was born in Cork in 1974. Although her formal artistic training and career has been in classical music as a composer and pianist, she is also a playwright.
Her plays include Beaten (published as Tilt -Cork, Granary Theatre, Glasgow, Citizens Theatre, Liverpool, Unity Theatre, 2007); Cell (Manchester, Library Theatre, 2010); Desolate Heaven (London, Theatre503/Cork, Everyman Palace Theatre, 2012); The Tallest Man in the World (Cork, Corcadorca,2013); and Ostrav (a short play, London, Theatre 503, 2014).
Her plays have been published as Tilt (London, Nick Hern Books, 2007); and Desolate Heaven (London, Bloomsbury, 2013). Desolate Heaven is included in Irish Contemporary Plays ed. Patrick Lonergan, (London, Methuen Drama, 2015). Tilt is also known as Beaten.
Ní Ríain’s music-theatre or music with texts include The Falling (Manchester, 24:7 Theatre Festival, 2005); Brief Blue Electric Bloom (Manchester, AND Festival, 2009); Treasured (Liverpool, Cut to the Chase Productions, 2012); Eyeless Poems (Dublin, Béal Festival, 2012); and Intone (Liverpool, METALCulture, 2013).
Her awards include a BBC North Writers Bursary (2008); The North West Playwrights Mentorship Award (2009); the Tom Erdhart Bursary from the Peggy Ramsay Trust; and a Peggy Ramsay Foundation Bursary. She was shortlisted for the 2014 James Tait Black Prize for Drama for Desolate Heaven, and she was a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Conference.