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.
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). Upcoming performances include the return of Cracks in October and a school focused production of Romeo and Juliet in November.
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: ‘Warrior of the Táin’ (An Táin Arts Centre), ‘Dracula’ (An Táin; Droichead Arts Centre); ‘Cracks’ (An Táin; Droichead); ‘Romeo & Juliet’ & ‘Hamlet’ (An Táin), devised piece ‘Vessel’ (An Táin; the New Theatre, Dublin); ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Anaverna); ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (An Táin); ‘Macbeth’ (Upstart); ‘East’ (UCD); ‘Animal Farm’ (Upstart); ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Upstart); ‘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.
Quintessence Theatre is in residence in An Táin Arts Centre for the duration of 2017. Follow their progress on Twitter @QuintessencePro #antainartists