MacWac Theatre Company


BSL Interpreter to Support 'ARRIVALS'

Special thanks are due to our hosts the Crescent Arts Centre, who have offered funds to support the Saturday February 15th performance of Arrivals at 8pm with a British Sign Language interpreter.  Trisha McMaster, who has regularly signed at both the Opera House and the Lyric Theatre will be joining the Arrivals company to watch the show on Wednesday before signing on Saturday night.

'It was a particularly interesting discussion' says Artistic Director, Andrea Montgomery, 'Trisha and I aim to make the experience for our deaf audiences exactly mirror that of our hearing audience.  So, we had to think about the elements of the Arrivals scripts that are spoken in Romanian or Cantonese.  Some audience members will understand those parts of the script, but the majority will not, so we decided not to translate those parts.  I believe Trisha will simply sign the information that someone is speaking in another language.'

'The Crescent isn't just a beautifully restored venue, it's also a wonderful supportive place to develop new work.' says Montgomery.


'ARRIVALS' Intercultural Theatre Project Hits the Stage

Terra Nova Productions celebrates its first year of core funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland by inviting five of Northern Ireland’s most exciting new playwrights to refresh Northern Irish playwriting.  Arrivals, a new production created by all five of them, is coming to touring Northern Ireland this February.

Artistic Director Andrea Montgomery says: ‘Arrivals was created to address the fact that although the 2011 census confirmed that 220,000 of our residents were born outside Northern Ireland, you seldom see their faces or hear their stories on the stages of Northern Ireland’s mainstream theatres.’

Arrivals offered five playwrights the chance to change that, by working with members of Northern Ireland’s multicultural communities, and then writing up their real stories as a new script to be performed by a local and international cast.  Northern Ireland’s multicultural citizens were gathered from across the province to take part.  Local professional actor James Doran, better known for his work with the Lyric and more recently on Game of Thrones, is joined by Michelle Yim from Hong Kong, Cristina Catalina from Romania, and Bristol-born British Asian actor Raj Bajaj.

MLA Anna Lo who has been Terra Nova’s patron for a number of years, and watched the company grow, says: ‘This is a theatre company with an ambition to do bold, exciting and positive things in Northern Ireland and the World, and I respect that.’

 ‘You can’t write about what you don’t know,’ says Andrea Montgomery, better known for her comedy productions - including work with Caroline Curran and Nuala McKeever, ‘I knew if I brought talented people together we would find a way to get these great stories on stage’. Montgomery is a Canadian who was born in India, grew up in Thailand, Switzerland and Indonesia, has worked in Macau and Iran, and recently went all the way to Greenland to work on a new play.

Well-respected singer-songwriter and composer Anthony Toner, who was recently shortlisted for the Northern Ireland music prize, is creating the score for the productions and will spend the next month working with the writers, and the multicultural team behind the show.

 ‘The Arrivals project is based on a three day workshop that saw our writers locked in a room with 21 people from around the world, living in or visiting Northern Ireland.  What they wrote was then up to them, but we could not have done the work without the support of our colleagues from Northern Ireland’s multicultural communities,’ says Montgomery, ‘They have come from all over the world to live in Northern Ireland and their stories are incredible’.

Gilly Campbell, Drama and Dance Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “This fascinating production draws together a truly multi-cultural team of writers, actors and musicians, for what promises to be a show unlike any other. Northern Ireland’s cultural make-up is changing.  Arrivals will reflect the viewpoints, stories and experiences of the wider community and the journeys which have brought them here.”

The Northern Irish playwrights chosen for the project are: James Meredith, Deirdre Cartmill, John Morrison, Shannon Yee (who has just finished a project with the Royal Court in London) and Paul Mc Mahon (who has been long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize and is a Stewart Parker Fellow).  A partnership with Accidental Theatre Company helped Terra Nova reach out to Belfast’s emerging writers as well as those already established.  Greek American script editor, Emily Dedakis, who worked extensively with the five writers to get their drafts ready for today, is a founder member of Accidental Theatre, and a recent recipient of an award from the BBC.


Working With the National Theatre of Greenland

Artistic Director Andrea Montgomery joined dramaturg and co-director Sarah Davey-Hull working and researching in Nuuk, Greenland for two weeks in June. Montgomery's trip was funded by the British Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  The trip allowed Montgomery and Davey-Hull to workshop with the National Theatre, to meet and work with a range of musicians and film makers, to make recordings and film, to undertake field work and to spend a number of days with curators of the National Museum of Greenland and with scientists at the Gronlands Naturinstitut - Pinngortitaleriffik.  The work was in support of All At Once I Saw A Crowd, a script by Montgomery set in Belfast, Greenland, Hong Kong and Greenland.  Crowd was shortlisted for the Nick Darke Award in 2012.


Collaboration with Gateway Theatre, Vancouver, May 2013

Gateway Theatre, Richmond BC 

Terra Nova Productions will be jointly workshopping a new play by Artistic Director, Andrea Montgomery, with the Gateway Theatre in Richmond BC, during the week of the 6th of May 2013.  New Gateway Artistic Director, Jovanni Sy, will be recruiting professional actors from within the Vancouver theatre community to workshop All At Once I Saw A Crowd, an environmental play set in Greenland, Belfast, London and Hong Kong, that features English and Cantonese.  The workshop will be jointly funded by both partners although, interested actors should contact the Gateway directly. 

All At Once I Saw A Crowd was one of seven scripts shortlisted for the UK's Nick Darke Award 2012 from hundreds of entries across the world and was warmly praised by Jeremy Howe, Head of Drama at BBC Radio 4.

Andrea Montgomery will also be meeting with Vancouver-based festivals and producers during her visit and hopes to forge links with other artists living and working in the city, including those with experience of working in both Cantonese and English.

Montgomery's visit is jointly funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.



Artistic Director in Ottawa & Toronto

Terra Nova Productions' Artistic Director, Andrea Montgomery, will be in Ottawa on Tuesday 23rd April and in Toronto April 23rd to 30th to attend a raft of meetings with local producers and venues about the company's up-coming projects.

The visit is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council as part of the company's plans to tour work and build project with colleagues in Canada.  This funding is in addition to the recent core funding which sees Terra Nova joining the Arts Council's annually funded client list.