The Rough Magic SEEDS Programme is a structured development initiative for emerging theatre practitioners. Now in its eighteenth year, the SEEDS Programme has introduced a new generation of Irish theatre-makers to the professional theatre world.
An impressive number of graduates of the programme have gone on to make a significant contribution to the professional theatre sector and continue to work with Rough Magic. So far there have been 52 participants on the SEEDS programme, including the 5 current participants.
Of the 47 who have completed the programme 24 have been directly employed by Rough Magic (over 50%) and 40 are working as full time professionals in theatre (85%).
Participants have the opportunity to observe and experience Rough Magic’s work and to gain exposure to the working methods of international artists through mentoring and placements. The SEEDS artists are encouraged to engage with the company’s approach and become part of its process.
The SEEDS artists work together from the outset, participating in separate programmes designed around the individual but integrated within the collaborative spirit of the company.
The five participating SEEDS for 2018/2019 are:
Ciara Elizabeth Smyth – Writer
Olivia Songer – Director
John Gunning – Lighting and A/V Designer
Naomi Faughnan – Set and Costume Designer
Líadan Ní Chearbhaill – Production Manager
The SEEDS programme laid the foundation for artist development in Irish theatre and continues to offer the most comprehensive introduction to professional practice in the country. After 18 years we need to take a short pause, in order to have an independent assessment of the needs of the sector and the company, as we take the programme forwards into the next decade.
Applications for the SEEDS programme will therefore be postponed for a short period while the programme is assessed. The 10th SEEDS showcase will take place in February 2020 and more information will be available then.
Ronan Phelan has been appointed Associate Director of Rough Magic and will direct A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man by Arthur Riordan in Dublin and on a National tour in 2018. Associate Director Sophie Motley is now Artistic Director of Pentabus Theatre in the UK.
Tom Creed was our first Associate Director and for four years curated the SEEDS programme. He recently worked on a new opera project with Donncha Dennehy at BAM in New York was Director of the Midsummer Festival in Cork and later this year will direct for Irish National Opera. Former Associate Producer Cian O’Brien is Artistic Director at Project Arts Centre, where he programmes the work of many leading and emerging artists.
A number of graduates base themselves overseas including former Associate Director Matt Torney who is now Associate Artistic Director at the Studio Theatre, Washington and Marty Moore who has worked as Deputy Production Manager at the National Theatre of Great Britain and now as Production Manager for the Royal Court Theatre, London. Rosemary McKenna is Associate Director for Actors Touring Company UK and has recently worked as Staff Director at the National Theatre of Great Britain.
Our recent production of Melt by Shane Mac an Bhaird was designed by award-winning Set and Lighting Designer Zia Holly. Zia is now an Associate Designer with Pan Pan. This year our productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Portrait of an Artist as A Young Man will feature set and lighting design by award-winning Designer Sarah Jane Shiels.
The company produced Rosemary Jenkinson’s The Bonefire in 2006, Mark Cantan’s Jezebel in 2014 and Shaun Dunne is currently under co-commission with Rough Magic and Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray. Aoife Spillane Hinks, Jose Miguel Jimenez, Matt Torney, Tom Creed and Sophie Motley have all directed professional productions for the company.
Producer SEEDS continue to make work that tours nationally and internationally. Lara Hickey was Associate Producer at the Abbey Theatre and recently produced for Thisispopbaby at The Complex. Matt Smyth is producer for several award-winning companies including ANU, Dead Centre and Collapsing Horse Theatre.
The programme’s alumni also include award-winning designers; Sound Designer/Composer Alma Kelliher, who collaborated on riverrun with Olwen Fouere and Riot for Thisispopbaby. Deirdre Dwyer designed costumes for Jezebel.
Meanwhile, ex-SEEDS continue to make work with the most dynamic companies around, such as Malaprop, The Company, Talking Shop Ensemble, Then.This, White Label Collective and WillFredd (an award-winning company formed out of SEEDS by Sarah Jane Shiels and Sophie Motley).
Stacey Gregg won the 2016 Irish Times Award for Best New Play.
The recent Channel 4 hit series Derry Girls is written by ex-SEED Lisa McGee
"SEEDS was a really transformative process at a crucial stage in my formation as a theatre maker. It gave me the confidence to really call myself a director, opened my eyes to new ways of working, and provided me with vital skills in all areas of my theatre practice."
Tom Creed, Theatre Director, SEEDS 03-04
"For me, the SEEDS Programme opened up a whole new world in terms of how I might contribute to the Irish Theatre Industry. It allowed me the opportunity, supported by the company and my amazing mentors at home and abroad, to explore the role of the theatre producer and to establish myself as a young professional with confidence, skill and experience."
Lara Hickey, Independent Producer, SEEDS 08-09