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Local man treads the boards in Spain

Wednesday 7th December 2005 at 1pm 0 Comments

Local theatre-practitioner Peter Quigley from Castlereagh was awarded an Arts Council of Northern Ireland International Self-arranged Residency to attend and participate in an intensive six-day residential devised theatre course for directors and actors in Aguilar del Rio Alhama, Spain. Peter takes time out to tell us about how the award benefited him.

“The project was based in the small village of Innestrillas in the Rioja valley of Northeastern Spain. We devised and staged an open air production of Las Ranas (The Frogs) by Aristophanes in a derelict old school building and its wasteland playground. It revealed that with careful consideration and imagination, the most unlikely of sites can be transformed into performance arenas.

I was cast in the central role of Dionysus. I had a week to learn my lines… in Spanish, as our audience consisted mostly of Spanish villagers who had no English. Performing The Frogs has reawakened my interest in Greek theatre, reminding me how entertaining the comedies of Aristophanes can be.”

The participants on the Devising Theatre Course included artists from Europe, South America and Asia. Each day they were given daily workshops and seminars on the devising process, covering topics as diverse as audience research to adaptation and improvisation. Peter benefited greatly from sharing ideas and skills with such an international company.

“Since returning I have been leading a series of devised workshops in Belfast with local professional actors based on the ideas and skills I developed while on the course. Just a week after my return from the project I was contracted to direct a modern day version of The Pied Piper called ‘The Ratz’ in the Creggan Visitor’s Centre, Tyrone. This project involved teenagers from the surrounding area and enabled me to utilise ideas and skills developed while on the course. A success story indeed.”

Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Roisín McDonough commented “Peter has worked in theatre in Northern Ireland for the past 30 years as an actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, and theatre director. The Arts Council is extremely pleased with how he has used his award to develop his craft. We encourage all artists to take advantage of our funding opportunities.”

Peter received the residency award as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Support for the Individual Artists Programme. The programme caters for just about everything that an artist could require, from basic grants of a few hundred pounds made available to buy equipment and materials, to larger travel awards, international residencies and assistance with profiling work on an international platform.

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