Encore take up new residence
Dundalk's Encore Productions have been named as the new theatre company in residence at An Táin Arts Centre for 2019.
The company, based at the Rehab Care Resource Centre in Dundalk which supports adults with intellectual disabilities so they can live as independently as possible, are taking over the residency from Quintessence Theatre Company who were the An Táin's first theatre company in residence.
Encore are led by Sandy Sneddon who has been working with the group since 2003. Together, they have produced fourteen stage shows ranging from original musicals to Shakespearean drama, as well as a feature film. They group have performed in An Táin Arts Centre and DkIT and brought last year's production of 'The Tempest' on tour around the country, thanks to funding from Creative Ireland.
They have also developed a close working relationship with DKIT over the past four years which allows participants to attend the college and team up with social care students and work on a variety of projects from a fashion show to creating books.
Reacting to the news that the company have been selected for the An Táin residency, Sandy said: '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. We are all thrilled by the opportunity and aim to create a show that will be both entertaining and thought provoking for the community of Dundalk.
' Earlier this year we took 'The Tempest' out on tour. We hope to take next year's production on the road as well and to use it as a way to build links with actors with intellectual disabilities all over the country - sharing skills and experiences with each other. Who knows - with the credibility of a residency we may even succeed in taking Mother Courage out onto the international stage.'
Director of An Táin Arts Centre Paul Hayes said he was delighted to announce Encore Productions as their 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, who were the inaugural recipients of the award which ran from 2015-2018, ae now embarking on a nationwide tour with their original drama 'Cracks', which looks at mental health issues from a youth perspective.