In our first ever international cultural exchange, we are thrilled to welcome Crockett Ward, to An Táin Arts Centre, all the way from Pikeville, Kentucky, which is twinned with Dundalk. 

The twinning of Pikeville, Kentucky, with Dundalk. Co Louth came about when Dundalk-born Dr Pearse Lyons’ company Alltech made significant investment in the Pike County state city. Recognising the benefits of twinning the two towns, Crockett Ward from The Appalachian Centre for the Arts approached Director of An Táin Arts Centre Paul Hayes about the possibility of a cultural exchange.

Crockett will be very busy with us this week conducting a number of workshops with our Theatre Company in Residence Chalk on the Wall, our Community Company in Residence Encore Productions and our partners M.A.D Youth Theatre in areas such as stage combat, voice and movement.

As part of the cultural exchange An Táin Arts Centre are sending Anna Simpson, Artistic Director of Quintessence Theatre Company our Former Theatre Company in Residence and regular collaborator, to Pikeville later this year to direct the world premiere Sleep in Safety: The Death of Octavia Hatcher. The play tells how Octavia’s brief marriage to prominent Pikeville businessman James Hatcher ended suddenly when she suffered an unknown illness that resulted in her being buried alive.

Director of An Táin Arts Centre, Paul Hayes says, “As the director of An Táin Arts Centre, I am absolutely thrilled to embark on this cultural exchange with the Appalachian Centre for the Arts in Pikeville, Kentucky. It’s a profound opportunity to bridge communities through art, enriching both our local landscapes with diverse perspectives. Having Crockett Ward join us in Dundalk, collaborating closely with three of our key groups, is an extraordinary chance for mutual growth and learning. We look forward to building lasting connections as a result of this experience.”

Crockett Ward from the Appalachian Centre for Arts in Pikesville, Kentucky, is a versatile theatre maker who earned his M.F.A in Theater Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Currently he is Director of Education & Outreach at the Appalachian Centre of the Arts in Pikeville, Kentucky, where he is the House lighting designer and Resident Fight Director. He has taught classes, workshops and masterclasses at a number of universities, community colleges, high schools and for the Mississippi Arts Commission. He holds level 2 certifications in Broadsword, Rapier& Dagger, Single Rapier, Small Sword, Quarter Staff and Unarmed through Dueling Arts International and is an Intimacy Director through Theatrical Intimacy Education. Also Crockett is a certified Lessac Practitioner through Lessac Research Institute. Favourite acting credits include Captain Fitch in the world premiere of Cedar Point’s ADVENTURE ISLAND: FORBIDDEN FRONTIER, Thorvald in A DOLL’S HOUSE at The William Inge Center, Roger in THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME at Red Raven Repertory Theater, Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf in I AM MY OWN WIFE at the Woods Theater. Favourite directing credits include THE OL’ SPRING BOX for National Public Radio (NPR), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)(revised), and SPIRITS OF PIKEVILLE PAST.

He says of the Cultural Exchange “Pikeville, Kentucky, is a long way from Dundalk, but the arts are connecting us in such splendid ways. Sharing my experiences with Encore Productions, M.A.D Youth Theatre and Chalk on the Wall Productions is truly a pleasure. And Pikeville is quite thrilled to partner with An Táin Arts Centre throughout this entire year, with Anna Simpson coming over to direct our local legend piece, ‘Sleep in Safety: The Death of Octavia Hatcher, I feel that we are starting a great relationship with Dundalk, the leaders of An Táin Arts Centre, and The Appalachian Centre for the Arts.”