‘Participating in Tinderbox’s Play Machine helped me to embrace my identity as an artist, put me back in touch with my body’s innate creativity, and gave me the confidence to go out there and make authentic work. It was a complete game-changer.’

We offer artists the opportunity to discover the art of playfulness, to nurture and ignite their creative potential through our training programmes.

Playground 2021-2024

We are delighted to introduce our new programme Playground, which will fundamentally combine our artistic concepts of Play, Creativity in Motion and Off the Grid for the performer, process and space.

  • Play: We engage in play to explore who we are as human beings and artists. Play opens up the space to create new ideas through to performance.
  • Creativity in Motion: Creativity in Motion celebrates the artistic process of play by inviting the artist to continually question and explore their unique process. The idea, the process and the performance are continually changing.
  • Off the Grid: Off the Grid transforms the creative space whilst also placing responsibility on the artists to discover creativity in site-specific locations and  different environment rather than an intellectual process.

Through these three approaches, we are constantly in a creative flux, evolving ideas and forms, changing perspectives and creating new narrative.

Artists will be invited to discover creative play/practice in various locations in Northern Ireland. We will facilitate workshops in outdoor locations such as forests, mountains, the coast and urban locations such as cities, industrial sites, factories and warehouses to study the architecture and theatricality in each space. This method will provide artists the opportunity to focus on creativity by the space and movement rather than intellectual process.  In each location we will facilitate a creative workshop and propose new narratives for performance.

Playground 2021 will encompass 3 week intensives in 3 different locations:

  • 1st Intensive – Urban Landscape  – 6 days creating performance in Urban Environments. Artists will visit industrialised spaces to explore the movement and architecture of the urban environment. [23rd to 28th August 2021, The Drying Room at Conway Mill, Belfast]
  • 2nd Intensive – Natural Landscape – 6 days creating performance in the Natural Environment using the elements and story-telling [Date and Location TBC].
  • 3rd Intensive – For stage 3, artists will be invited to attend a week long residency to create a performance for the Playground showcase in early 2022 [Date and Location TBC].

Playground will be delivered by Tinderbox’s Artistic Director Patrick J O’Reilly whose extensive training at the International school of Jacque Le Coq in Paris and career as a performer, director and writer will nurture and inspire the future generation of Northern Ireland’s performers, writers and theatre makers.

Playground includes:

  • Movement and dynamics in space
  • Physical theatre practice (outdoor performance)
  • Devising technique/Creating theatre performance
  • Elements/ Object Manipulation
  • New writing
  • Mask exploration

Artists will also receive:

  • Mentorship with Tinderbox Theatre Company.
  • Open invitation to attend Tinderbox projects.
  • Opportunities for employment with the Creativity in Motion programme.
  • Opportunities for employment in facilitation work with Tinderbox.

Tariff for Playground programme

The tariff for Playground is on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Everyone is required to wear suitable clothing for movement for every workshop (preferably without logos/images). Outdoor clothing is also advised as we will be making theatre performance in unpredictable weather conditions!

We are currenting accepting applications for PLAYGROUND Intensive 1 [Urban Environments, 23rd-28th August 2021]. 

If you are interested, please email your expression of interest to patrickj.oreilly@tinderbox.org.uk

Deadline for expressions of interest is 23rd July 2021.

Applicants will be invited to attend an interview late July.

Play Machine

As artists we seek to create theatre that is playful, dynamic and truthful. We seek to share stories of who we are and the world we live in. We seek to play the game and (hopefully) break the rules. The Play Machine Intensive Course is an immersion of stories, movement and dynamics through the methodology of Play. The training aims towards the creation of a new dynamic theatre in which the performer plays with freedom and authenticity within a creative space. This intensive and liberating engagement with the dynamics of Play is appropriate for all actors, dancers, directors, writers and designers with all levels of theatrical experience.

Ignition 2020
In June 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tinderbox reimagined the annual Ignition project as an online adventure, a “live showing of a pre-recorded thing” – the surreal and innovative LUCID film, created in lockdown by 11 Play Machine participants.


Vicky Allen, Aoife Brown, Jonny Cameron, Conor Cupples, Rory Gillan, Conor Gillespie, Orla Graham, Kate Guelke, Tim Hughes, Fergus Kelly, Keeley Lane, Joe Loane, Mary Frances Loughran, Friederika Machala, Niall McAleer, Faith McCune, Calum McElwee, Joshua McGee, Oonagh O’Flaherty, Seon Simpson, James Watson
Curtis-Lee Ashqar, Alice McCullough, Richard Paine, Amanda Doherty, Lisa Duffy, Janine Walker, Sinead Ward, Simon Sweeney, Rob Crawford, Elliot Lloyd, Brian Diamond, Shannen Lofthouse, Lauren Wedgeworth, Tara Greene, Lucy Mackern, Nathan Corrigan, Mercedes Jane Sharma, Aimee McGoldrick, Sarah Louise Conaghan, Sarah Reid, Louise Parker, Rachel Galloway
Patrick Quinn, Noel Harron, Ciaran Haggerty, Anna Leckey, Michael Bingham, Fintan Woods, Aimee Montgomery, Joanne Conere, Muire McCallion, Sean Michael Mullan, Stephen Todd, Jane Talbot, Lucy Mackern, Katy Flanagan, Julie Lamberton, Roger Dane

Play Machine Intensive workshops will be available throughout the year.