As ‘Stringer’ in Joe O’Byrne’s ‘Departed’ 1988

I entered the theatre professionally in 1985, when I played the lead role in Iwan Goll’s German Expressionist drama ‘Methusalem’, in a version adapted by director, Joe O’Byrne.  Joe and I jointly formed Co-Motion Theatre Company at a time of remarkable ferment among a new generation of artists, musicians and theatre-makers in Ireland, and the company – along with Rough Magic, Red Kettle, Passion Machine and others – blazed the trail for the independent sector in Ireland.

After five years of producing and performing with Co-Motion, I left to branch out into areas of community-engaged theatre and arts, joining City Arts Centre as the Theatre Programme Director.  This socially-engaged dimension has remained an important (although not exclusive) part of my practice ever since.  So too has my early immersion in the expressionism, cabaret and physical theatre practised by Co-Motion in the early years.

In 1997 I established Upstate Theatre Project, Drogheda with a number of community and theatre activists. Extracts from some of my plays from this period can be seen on this website.

Below is an at-a-glance archive of some highlights from my time as a writer/director with Upstate.

Hades (2007 revival): L to R: Ciaran Kenny, the late Gerry McCann and John Finnegan
two boxers
Ciaran Kenny and John Finnegan in Hades (2007 revival)
epic trav
Sinead Douglas in Epic, Traverse Theatre Edinburgh (2002)
Conversing with the Dead
At Peace (2007): Andreis Polozkovs as Martens: Shane Cowley Photography
Green Fool 14
Padraig McIntrye and Nick Lee in The Green Fool (2004)
Green Fool 4
The Cobbler: Brendan Laird as Kavanagh’s father, James, in The Green Fool
Community workshop: Louth International Theatre Project 2008
Zoo Workshop
Community playwriting workshop in John and Lorraine’s rural kitchen, Termonfeckin 1998

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