Belltable:Connect is delighted to announce participants of three week-long sessions for emerging/ midcareer/ established theatre/ performance artists. Translating Live to Online is funded by Creative Ireland and Limerick City and County Council through Creative Ireland Made in Limerick Grant 2020.


Andrew McCarthy – Andrew is 22 years old and hails from Cork. He went to Presentation Brothers College Cork and is currently completing his final year in The American College Dublin. Andrew has a variety of performing credits including: “A Grand Night For Singing” in the World Performing Arts Centre Florida, USA in 2017. Member of the winning dance company of the Barbra Sharples International Choreographers Awards in Manchester in 2014. Greg Gardner in “A Chorus Line” in the Smock Alley Theatre 2019. Featured actor/dance in “Tightrope” produced and sung by Alex Douglas in 2019. Bogdan Vladu in ACDs production of “Mad Forest” in the Smock Alley Theatre in January 2020. Andrew also has had experience in Directing and Assistant Directing. He directed “The Hold Up” in the Short and Sweet Festival in the Sean O Casey Theatre 2019 where his play was nominated for awards in the festival.


Martin McCormack – Martin Is a graduate from Mary Immaculates College Contemporary and Applied Theatre studies course. His love of the stage began when he was 13 and joined the county limerick youth theatre. From his very first performance he knew he would pursue a career in Theatre. Performing in dozens of Contemporary and Classic pieces over the years, Martin’s most recent performances include prominent roles in shows such as The Importance of Being Earnest and On the Outside/On the Inside. Recently Martin has focused on writing and directing his own works. Martin’s main other interests include music production and film making.


Justyna Cwojdzinska – Justyna graduated from a College of Theatrical Animation in Wrocław, Poland and holds M.A in English Language and Literature from the University of Wrocław. Her master thesis was written on “In Search of Theatre – Theatrical Investigations of Peter Brook.” Justyna has been involved in theatre productions since 2000 in Poland and when moved to Ireland she continued her work in the cultural sector. She is a founder of Polish Arts Festival (2007) which celebrates 13 years in 2020. Justyna received an “Outstanding Pole Award” in the Culture Category for the work on the Festival from the Polish Government (Polish Promotional Emblem Foundation TERAZ POLSKA) under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland. She has recently produced two plays, which she also takes part in: Nameless and Julia.  She is skilled at singing and physical theatre and her background and experience are based on the work of Jerzy Grotowski, Song of the Goat Theatre and Theatre Gardzienice.


Johanna O’Brien – Johanna is  an  actor from Limerick. She completed Bow Street’s full time programme in 2016. She has performed in Dublin Fringe Festival, Dublin’s First Fortnight Festival, several Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Toronto Fringe Festival and Limerick Fringe Festival.  Some of her screen credits include Paddy Brethnach’s ROSIE, American TV series KRYPTON and Sinéad O’Loughlin’s multi-award winning short HOMECOMING. She is currently working on Apple TV’s new sci-fi series FOUNDATION with David S. Goyer.


Pius McGrath – Pius is an Actor & Writer from Limerick, he is one half of Honest Arts Production Company, having written and toured original work Internationally since 2013. He performed his first one-man show ‘The Mid-knight Cowboy’ at The United Solo Theatre Festival on Broadway in New York in 2013. His company Honest Arts won the ‘Cutting Edge Artist Award’ in 2015 at The Toronto International Fringe Festival with the Irish Times Theatre Award nominated show ‘Waiting in Line’. His most recent original work is the play ‘PUNT’ a story of gambling culture in Ireland, which was developed with support from Fishamble’s New Play Clinic. He has performed at numerous Edinburgh Fringe Festivals alongside with work at Limerick Fringe and Dublin Fringe. Recently, he was a recipient of the Belltable:Connect 10 Research Bursary for Local Theatre Makers. He is currently filming the fan fiction action short ‘STORMTROOPERS III’ with Cork Racing Productions.



Simon ThompsonSimon is the Artistic Director at Clown Noir, freelance artist and director since 1987, also a PhD Candidate, University Limerick “Creative Pedagogy through Mask and Clown”. He is a Lecturer Below the Bar, University Limerick “M.A. Festive Arts”: (Festival Management, Curating, Culture and Performance, and Research & Discovery Modules). Simon is the Director of Education for Clowns International, Founder and Chair of Limerick Fringe Festival, Board Member of Spleodar Arts Festival, Panellist for the Arts Council of Ireland (Circus and Street Arts). He produced “The Autonomy Project” in 2018. He is a former Director Irish Street Arts and Circus Spectacle Network and a former Board Member of Elemental Arts Festival. Simon studied Physical Theatre at Ecole LeCoq, Clown and Bouffon at Ecole Gaulier and Clown through Mask with Sue Morrison.

Simon’s current research lies in Development of a Creative Pedagogy through Mask and Clown for the use in multidisciplinary training. Using a progression of masks, the students explore their own physicality and practice new methods for enhancing embodiment and committing gesture or movement to cognition. All the exercises and improvisations are rooted in play and the students explore and become confident in failure as part of their creative approach, failure is essential as it opens up new lines of questioning. The work is silent and relies purely on the body to tell a narrative and impart emotion. In using masks, Simon removes the easy option of face acting. In order to bring the mask to life, the student must show every nuance through movement. The work concludes with the mask being replaced with the simple red nose, now the student must engage with the audience and create empathy and complicite.

 Simon regularly contributes to Academic Conferences and Papers: KeyNote Speaker, Narrative 4 “From the Tabenacle to the Theatre, The Bouffon” June 2017. Delivered Paper, Mask and Arts Pedagogy Symposium, University Limerick “Designing and Testing a Creative Pedagogy with Mask, Through Experiential Learning” Feb 2018. Panelist, Creative and Cultural Industries, Challenges and Opportunities. University Limerick Feb 2018. KeyNoteSpeaker, Narrative 4 “A Narrative for Limerick, New Beginnings” May 2018. Delivered Paper, ISTR Conference 2019 @ MIC, “The neutral mask and the development of its application in a creative pedagogy”. Delivered Paper, LPRC Conference 2019 @ U.L, “The neutral mask and the development of its application in a creative pedagogy”.

Simon has won numerous Awards: Limerick Arts Office Funded 2012,13,14, 15, and 17. Residency in Dance Limerick 2015. Residency in Circus Factory 2015. Clown Award at Holbaek International Clown Festival 2015. Residency in Irish World Academy 2016. Residency at A Little Room, Waterford 2016 and 2017. Awarded U.S.A. Bursary from World Clown Association 2016. Winner of “Best Whiteface Award” Clowns International 2016. Winner of “Most Innovative Show Award for “Nose Business” Clowns International 2016. Winner of “Most Innovative Show Award for “The Millers Story” Clowns International 2019. Artist in Residency at Nenagh Arts Centre 2019

His further Professional Training includes: Deprogramming the Actor, David Scott. Stage Combat, Paul Burke. Characterisation and Voice, Helen Norton. Getting more from Shakespearian Text, Royal Shakespeare Company. Playing Shakespeare, Royal Shakespeare Company. Un-locking a script and developing characters, Ann Russell. Methods of Michael Chekhov, Michael Chekhov Studio. Mime and Commedia Del Arte, David Scott. Mime Master-class, Vincent O Neill. Acting for realism, Patrick Sutton. Physical Theatre and Mime, Marcus Bale. Mime advanced performance, Desmond Jones. Clowning for Adults, Marcus Bale. Clowning Master class, Actors Studio Barcelona. Drama for rehabilitation of criminal and violent offenders, Strangeways Manchester. Physical Theatre in Practice, Bruiser Theatre Company Belfast. Clown, Simon Edwards. Clowning with Jonathan Taylor. Playing with your audience, Louis Lovett. Commedia Del Arte, Olly Crick. Devising for Clown, Colin Gee. Physical Theatre for Comedy, John Towsen. 4 Masks of the Temperaments, Mike Chase @ Hawkwood College, Stroud. U.K. Clown Thinking, Jon Davison. Object Theatre Masterclass, Belltable Connect with Le Pire Espece. Site Specific Theatre Masterclass, Belltable Connect with Dante or Die.


Nathan Campion (video workshops) – Nathan is a Tipperary Based Filmmaker. Initially beginning film for fun with friends, film has turned into a life passion. He holds a BSc Hons Degree in Creative Broadcast and Film Production from Limerick Institute of Technology. Nathan was awarded the LIT Award of Excellence in Creative Broadcast & Film Production. He has written/directed/shot and edited four short films. The most recent, ‘Psychlical’ winning the Best Original Script Award at Limerick Institute of Technology’s Frame by Frame Showcase. He has shot/ directed/ edited numerous Music Videos, the most recent for Cork Alt-Pop Trio Happyalone. Nathan has also produced corporate videos for local and international businesses.  He is currently working on the set of a new TG4 Production entitled ‘Fanacht’.


What is Translating Live to Online?

The workshop is designed to develop audience engagement and shared experience. Not solely in the live context, the workshop explores how “live” translates to “online”. Can the lived and shared experiences of an actor and audience exist when presented through online platforms? How can theatre artists become effective storytellers while not becoming filmmakers?

The purpose of the workshops is to:

  • develop audience engagement and shared experience skills,
  • explore how “live” translates to “online”, asking can the lived and shared experiences of an actor and audience exist when presented through online platforms,
  • enable Artists to develop a new knowledge base and skillset, enhancing the way they communicate to an audience,
  • crosspollinate ideas between emerging, midcareer and established Artists.

There is no denying that coronavirus has been detrimental to the performing arts. If strangers cannot safely share a live experience with each other and performers, the sector has lost its raison d’être. Many artists are moving activities online, hoping to find an audience for a new, ‘not-quite-live/ not-quite-video-or-film’ artform. Practitioners must therefore examine what this new discipline might be and how it connects with audiences as active participants in the performance, as opposed to casual observers.

Simon Thompson facilitates three independent week-long sessions for five emerging/ midcareer/ established Artists, in Belltable Hub. Artists will explore Complicité and Kinetic Empathy through play and failure, improvisations and physical interventions. Particular focus will be on the corporeal architecture of the body. Through embodiment of sensation and emotion, the Artists learn about their own body, become aware of how it moves through space and how much non-verbal information it imparts to the observer. Closing each week will be an online Saturday session with a videographer or cameraman to help with creating online content.

Upon completion of their week, each group will be given a task to create a short online work. All Artists come together for a final session to share and feedback.

Belltable:Connect is supported by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Limerick Culture and Arts Office, Limerick City and County Council and Mary Immaculate College.