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Liam formed Quare Hawks in 2000. The company grew out of a need to create touring theatre with an emphasis on challenging conventions, prejudices and perceptions.
The kernel of the company’s intentions is contained in the word quare which has a range of meaning from odd, eccentric and suspect to a more positive term of affection and familiarity with a totally Irish flavour.
' Leaving' Conan Sweeny Photo: Ken Wardrop
In the first four years the company created 5 original pieces of theatre. QH gained an excellent reputation with audiences and critics while touring throughout Ireland.
The company was project funded by:-
The Arts Council
The British Council
Department of Health & Children
Dublin City Council
Garage Theatre Monaghan
The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Midland Health Board
Mullingar Arts Centre
Peace & Reconciliation Fund
Westmeath County Council
Liam joined Storytellers Theatre Company from 2004 to 2008.
'Winter Came Down' Deirdre Monaghan 'Speaking in Tongues' Seamus Moraa Una Kavanagh Photos: Kieran McBride
Quare Hawks now exists to present Liam's independent work and once-off productions.
The company is currently planning a new verbatim piece in 2010 with Helena Enright and the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick.
Quare Hawks initial 5 touring productions were:-
The Undertaking by the award winning English playwright Philip Osment. Original music by Rossa O’Snodaigh with set & lighting by Marcus Costello.
Myles Breen in 'The Undertaking'
The production toured to 11 venues in Ireland, with a 3 week run in Dublin at Andrew’s LaneTheatre ending with a 2 week run in the Bovenzaal at the Stadschouwberg Theatre, Amsterdam.
Michael O’Sullivan and Hope Brown took over from Seamus Power and Chris Kelly when the production went to Amsterdam.
Chris Kelly, Seamus Moran in 'The Understaking'
‘Osment’s exploration of tradition and ritual, and how we face up to death, contains some unpleasant truths. It’s explicit and tough talking. Not much rock ‘n’ roll, but a fair bit of everything else.’Belfast Telegraph. March 2000
‘A moving and worthwhile production. The play is a rare and welcome look at issues of homosexuality in an Irish context.’Sunday Tribune. May 2000
‘A skillful company... this affecting play, a bittersweet meditation on love and life with a spiritual dimension, recalls Chekhov.’Western European Stages, Amsterdam
Chris Kelly Stella Madden Seamus Moran. Photo: Liam
Cracked is a devised piece of theatre, a combination of live music, text and imagery. It is based on the independently-minded spirits who experienced the mental health care system in Ireland of the 1950’s.
Dawn Fleming, Liz Keller, Diane O'Keeffe in 'Cracked'. Photo Hannah Smolenska
Hanna Greally’s book Bird’s Nest Soup was used as a starting point. The book is an account of Hanna’s days in St. Loman’s Hospital Mullingar.
The piece featured new compositions for flute, violin and cello by Denis Clohessy. Set and lighting was designed by Marcus Costello. Cast: Dawn Fleming, Liz Keller, Diane O’Keeffe.
Dawn Fleming Photo: Ken Wardrop
Cracked toured to twenty-six venues in 2000/2001.
‘Must see! A remarkable play intelligently and creatively theatrical. Liam Halligan’s direction is enormously effective throughout. The images linger.The creators deserve a badge of high merit.’The Irish Times. Nov 2000
‘Gripping from start to finish. The performances are vibrant, approaching the metaphorical power of modern dance. Exemplary and innovative stuff.’
Sunday Times. May 2001
‘The performers superbly delivered everything from a vocal, operatic, orgasmic symphonic to great physicality and flexibility. The skill of the director, Liam Halligan, to bring together a series of unrelated scenes and to mix a number of different theatrical styles and visual requirements speaks volumes for his talent and augurs well for the future development of this theatre company.’
Eamonn Jordan, Irish Theatre Magazine. Dec 2000
Cracked. Dawn Fleming Liz Keller Diane O'Keeffe. Photos: Hannah Smolenska
Diane O'Keeffe Photos: Ken Wardrop.
Leavingis a new play commissioned from the award-winning English playwright Philip Osment. The play was produced with the support of The British Council, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and The Arts Council’s Project scheme. It is based on research and workshops carried out in the Border Region in October 2001.
Conan Sweeny, Colin O'Donoghue 'Leaving'
Photo Ken Wardrop
The play explores a contemporary family from Co.Monaghan attempting to come to terms with the death of their son.
Leaving toured to 26 venues throughout Ireland between May 02 and April 03.
Set and lighting designed by Marcus Costello, music by Denis Clohessy and costumes by Paul McDermid.
Cast: Brendan Laird, Laura Jane Loughin, Deirdre Monaghan, Colin O’Donoghue, Conan Sweeny.
‘If I see a more powerful play all year then I shall count myself lucky indeed.’The Daily Mail. May 02
‘Leaving is complex, adult and dramatically viable… extraordinary refreshing. Liam Halligan directs with excellent understanding of theme and text.’
Sunday Independent. May 02
‘Leaving is a thought-provoking, insightful and emotional piece of theatre. The acting is first rate. Quare Hawks is a polished and assured theatrical machine ploughing through both rural and urban consciousness. Director, Liam Halligan, has a timely production on his hands.’The Examiner. May 02
‘This production certainly enhances Quare Hawks standing as one of the leading companies in the country.’ Waterford News and Star. March 03
Leaving. Deirdre Monaghan Photo: Ken Wardrop.
Winter Came Down was commissioned from Michael McCudden and based on a number of community workshops in the Border Region. The director and writer met with various groups i.e. political ex-prisoners, a minority Protestant group, an elderly women’s group. The production was mainly funded by the Peace and Reconciliation Fund.
Brendan Laird, Sinead Douglas in 'Winter Came Down'.
Photo Kieran McBride
The set and lighting was designed by Marcus Costello and music by Denis Clohessy.
The producion featured DVD imagery by Kieran McBride. Cast: Sinead Douglas, Brendan Laird, Padraic McIntyre, Deirdre Monaghan, Karl O’Neill.
The production toured to 7 venues in the border region.
Deirdre Monaghan, Karl O'Neill in 'Winter Came Down'
‘This is a typically absorbing production by this innovative company, asking questions and taking chances. The sensitive direction ensures that the play’s values are fully realised. It’s an excellent snapshot of lives on the edge.’
The Irish Times. Sept 2003
Speaking In Tongues by Andrew Bovell
A co-production with the Civic Theatre.
The play introduced the work of the award winning Australian playwright to Ireland. It is about the mistakes we make, the consequences we have to bear and the attempts we make to patch things up. Four actors play nine characters.
Design: Marcus CostelloMusic: Denis Clohessy. Cast: Noelle Brown, Una Kavanagh, Seamus Moran, Karl O’Neill
The production played in the Civic Theatre for 3 weeks and toured for 5 weeks to 5 major venues around the country and won a nomination from the Irish Times Theatre Awards for Best Director.
‘There can be no doubt about the strength of Bovell’s creative imagination. The four actors bring clarity and depth. Liam Halligan’s direction is fluent and sharply etched, against Marcus Costello flexible design.’The Irish Times03/09/04
‘This is an interesting, intelligent and extremely well made play. Halligan gives it a fine production with excellent performances.’Sunday Independent05/09/04
‘Bovell creates a literal chorus of bravado and candor, of attraction and repulsion. It is a deliciously complex play. Halligan ensures that not a single moment goes astray.’ What’s On Where 06/09/04
Speaking in Tongues. Una Kavanagh Noelle Brown Karl O'Neill