An Táin Arts Centre’s theatre residency programme supports emerging companies with the resources to make new work. As part of the residency, companies are provided with rehearsal space, technical and marketing support, dramaturgical advice and a production stipend. Quintessence Theatre is the inaugural recipient of the award, and has been in residence since early 2015.
Encore Productions (2019 – present)
Encore is a theatre company based in RehabCare Resource Centre in Dundalk – a centre which supports adults with intellectual disabilities in living the life of their choice as independently as possible. Under the leadership of Sandy Sneddon, Encore has to date produced 14 shows and a feature film. Of the residency at An Táin Arts Centre Sandy says ‘this residency is the culmination of many years of hard work by all the service users and staff at RehabCare in Dundalk. For the actors to have their skills recognised in this way is a validation of their talents and efforts.’ Director of An Táin Arts Centre Paul Hayes says ‘I am delighted to announce Encore Productions as our next company in residence. They have been working in the Arts Centre for the past number of years and I have been hugely impressed with the standard of their productions. Their seemingly endless enthusiasm for theatre, coupled with Sandy’s artistic vision ensures this should be a very successful collaboration.’ An Táin Arts Centre’s theatre residency programme supports companies with the resources to make new work. As part of the residency, companies are provided with rehearsal space, technical and marketing support, dramaturgical advice and a production stipend. Quintessence Theatre was the inaugural recipient of the award, in residence from 2015 to early 2019.
Follow their progress on Facebook @EncoreDundalkRC #antainartists
Quintessence Theatre (2015 – early 2019)
Formerly known as Upstart Theatre the company was founded in 2008 by Dundalk actor Conor Honan and award-winning director Anna Simpson. Specialising in outdoor, site-specific adaptations of classic plays and novels using stylised, physical ensemble approaches productions included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Animal Farm, Macbeth and Alice in Wonderland. In 2010 Upstart disbanded to pursue professional training in the UK. Now in 2015 the company returns with renewed focus, skill, and a new name: Quintessence Theatre. As a company Quintessence seeks to explore the human condition through the most theatrical means available: the actor themselves, and their shared imagination with an audience. They harness the full potential of the actor’s body through heightened physical approaches, mime and a playful ensemble. Quintessence seek to surprise, move and provoke audiences, entertaining them and creating dynamic, innovative, visceral and compassionate story telling that touches on issues at the heart of Irish society here and now.
Productions in residence include The Picture of Dorian Gray (2015), Alice in Wonderland (2015), Vessel (2015), Hamlet (2016), Romeo and Juliet (2016), Grimm Tales for Young and Old (2016), Cracks (2016), Dracula (2017), The Warrior of the Táin (2017) and The Wind in the Willows (2017), Some of Our Children (2018), The Deadly Wizard of Oz (2018) and Warrior of the Táin (revised) (2019)
Anna Simpson ǀ Co-founder, Artistic Director/Director Anna started directing as a student in University College Dublin before training as a director at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Irish credits include: ‘Dracula’ (Smock Alley, Dublin), ‘Cracks’ (National Tour), ’The Deadly Wizard of Oz’ (Ananverna House), ‘Some of Our Children’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (An Táin Arts Centre), ‘The Wind in the Willows’ (Anaverna House); ‘Hamlet’ (An Táin), ‘Vessel’ (An Táin; the New Theatre, Dublin); ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Anaverna); ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (An Táin); ‘Messiah’ (Project Cube, Dublin). Previous acting roles include: The March Hare in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Quintessence), Lady Capulet in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and Ophelia/Guildenstern in ‘Hamlet’ (Quintessence), the Fool in ‘King Lear’ (Samuel Beckett Theatre) and Duckling in ‘Our Country’s Good’ (UCD). Anna is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Quintessence Theatre, an Education Practitioner with Shakespeare’s Globe, and Creative Associate of the Pleasance.