Meet our Hatch & Scratch Artists

We are delighted to announce the following participants for the 2021 Hatch & Scratch programme: Conan McIvor; Husk Bennett; Keith Singleton; Kirby Thompson & Orla Graham; Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney; Myles McCormack; Spark Opera; Roisin Gallagher; Theatre without Walls; Conor Cupples; Fleur Mellor; and Cat Barter & Clare Galway.

Hatch & Scratch will provide local artists with the opportunity to scratch, explore and experiment with the most embryonic live performance ideas with the support of the MAC over the next 12 months. Artists will be supported by a bursary, workspace at the MAC, mentoring or coaching from MAC staff and associates, as well as an opportunity to perform at our Scratch Night next year.

Following our open call in February 2021, we were, once again, overwhelmed with the creative and meaningful response to the programme. In light of the continued pressure faced by the artistic community due to the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic, we have again this year, doubled the usual number of bursary recipients as part of our commitment to support new and emerging artists through this time, and beyond.

"It is my great pleasure to welcome the 2021 cohort of Hatch Artists to the MAC. The impact of the pandemic continues to force artists to demonstrate great resilience and, with this in mind, we have doubled the number of bursary places available. This is to ensure we are supporting practice development for artists of varying experience, across a number of artforms. The 2021 cohort includes a collective, individual artists, and artist partnerships, both established and emerging. We look forward to getting to know this group and their work over the next 12 months." - Jen White, Creative Programmes Manager

Meet our Hatch & Scratch artists

Conan McIvor is a filmmaker, theatremaker and video artist who creates experimental and narrative short-films, site-specific installations, immersive environments, and large-scale outdoor video projections, in addition to moving-image design for both theatre and live performance.

Husk Bennett has a preoccupation with celebrities, the role of an artist and the deployment of humour within art. Graduating at home in 2020, mid pandemic, led Husk to explore ideas in new ways, such as performance, video, music as well as maintaining their painting & drawing practice.

Keith Singleton is an actor. An actor with notions of being a writer. At least once. Keith began acting almost twenty years ago, and although he enjoys it every bit as much now as he did then, Keith still talks about packing it in at least twice a year. Growing up Keith thought of being an Electrician but then art showed up. “It has shaped much of my life to date and I hope it continues to”.

Kirby Thompson and Orla Graham are a writing partnership from Belfast. Kirby, a recent QUB graduate was nominated for the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund in association with TikTok in the Directing category. Orla is an actor who trained at the Lir Academy, Dublin from 2017–2018. They’ve been working together since 2019 and are passionate about creating unapologetically honest work, that deals with issues that are neglected, in a way that’s accessible for all through quick and comedic narratives.

Michael Patrick (actor/writer) & Oisín Kearney (writer/director) are a Belfast-based creative partnership. Writing credits include: My Left Nut (Fishamble’s Show in a Bag/BBC Three); The Alternative (Fishamble’s A Play for Ireland, winner of two Irish Times Theatre Awards); The 100-year-old Backstop (Radio Four); Soft Border Patrol (BBC NI). Current members of ITI’s Virtual Attic, Bewley’s Cafe Theatre New Writing Initiative and BBC Writer’s Room Belfast Voices.

Myles McCormack is a multi-instrumentalist from Belfast who writes impactful songs with a delicate touch. Beyond his work with innovative folk outfit, Lonesome George, he also writes careful considered tales under his own name. Exploring themes of climate anxiety as well as disaffectedness towards modern political discourse, there’s an element of earthliness to his nevertheless contemporary music.

Spark Opera is a Northern Irish community opera company founded by Kate Guelke. Producing everything from pop-up opera and flashmobs to full-scale masses and operas, Spark Opera is committed to making opera for all and are passionate about opera as a total art form that has the power to move everyone. Spark Opera regularly premiere work of NI composers and come together with local communities to create memorable performances of opera in NI.

Roisin Gallagher is motivated by exploring the raw, brutally honest and sometimes uncomfortable truth of everyday, universal, daily challenges and hopes to offer audiences a moment to escape, connect and reflect on their own lived experience. As an actress and theatremaker, Roisin believes this support will be invaluable in helping her grow and develop as a creative - challenging herself on a personal and professional level to honour lived experience and tell stories that really matter.

Theatre Without Walls was founded in 2002 by Genevieve Swift and Jason Parkes. Genevieve is an actor, storyteller & arts facilitator and Jason, a writer, director and artist. Their artistic output includes working with mixed media, photography, mask, puppets, music & sound. They both facilitate community and education projects and are qualified with B Ed.(Hons) Drama & Literature from Cambridge University where they met.

Conor Cupples is an actor, poet, and theatremaker from West Belfast. He is an associate artist with the classical based company, Shakespeare Switched. Conor has a passion for new writing, contemporary theatre, and a well-poured Guinness. He is buzzing to be working alongside the MAC in the Hatch and Scratch Programme as a queer artist to create a new piece of theatre celebrating queer joy!

Fleur Mellor trained at the London Studio Centre and her life as a professional dancer working in the commercial, corporate and theatrical sectors has informed her career as a Choreographer and Creative Producer to date. Her emphasis is on live work with a strong dance/theatre focus, taking inspiration from the worlds of film and fashion.

Cat Barter & Clare Galway are freelance arts professionals with over a decade of experience working together. Their mission is to create developmentally appropriate and accessible experiences for young audiences. Between them, they have toured theatre shows for very young children to three continents around the world. They are passionate about making captivating work that sparks connection, curiosity and creativity.