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Darren Thornton established Calipo Theatre Company in 1995. Since then he has directed many productions on both stage and screen including the original stage-production of ‘Ten dates with Mad Mary’ by Yasmine Akram. He then went on to direct the screen adaptation, produced by Element Pictures and which won the IFTA for best Irish film in 2017. For RTE he directed the IFTA award winning series ‘Love is the drug’ in 2004. His short film ‘Frankie’ won the UIP award at the Berlin film festival in 2008 and the European Academy Award for best short film that same year. Darren also established and ran the Sharp Focus film project from 2003 to 2013, a short film initiative that enabled young people from the border counties to work with established filmmakers on the production of original short films that explored the legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland His most recent theatre work as director was ‘Restoration’ by Shaun Dunne at the Project in January 2020.

“During my residency my primary focus is on looking at how we now define ‘community’ in contemporary Ireland. I intend to work on a project called ‘Short cuts’, a documentary project that focuses on Drogheda hairdresser Geraldine Kelly. Geraldine ran a successful salon in Drogheda for over fifty years. When the business shuttered a few years back Geraldine had many older clients who refused to go to another hairdresser, and so she began doing home appointments for these women. I’ll be taking a camera crew out with Geraldine to listen in on some of the conversations that take place during these appointments, and getting a fresh perspective on everything from hair colour, to politics, to gender.”

I’ll also be exploring the nature of ‘new’ communities through a work-in-progress of my brother Colin’s play ‘The New Radicals’  and finally I’ll be working with over 50 young people from Dundalk, Drogheda & Navan on how to find and develop stories within the community, through a series of workshops with Youth Theatre’s – Droichead, Act Out, and MAD youth Theatre.”

Follow his progress using the hashtag #antainartists.

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