Anna Simpson

Anna Simpson

Freelance Theatre Director

  • Location: Dublin; London
  • Career stage: Early
  • Freelancer: Available

Anna trained as a director at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, & is currently the Artistic Director of emerging theatre company Quintessence Theatre. Her work is highly stylised & physically driven: visually striking, visceral & inventive, she employs an unashamed theatricality & playful, ensemble based storytelling in her productions. Anna's process focuses on the actor & utilising their collective bodies as a visual & creative tool, fusing choreography, mime, & text to exploit the shared imagination between actor & audience to create exciting, challenging, expressionistic work that both entertains & provokes. Anna write as well as directs, regularly adapting classic literature to dramatic form, as well as collaborating with actors in devising new work on socially provocative topics. Anna founded Quintessence Theatre, the only professional theatre production company in Louth. Quintessence is currently the Theatre Company in Residence with Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, 2019/2020, with whom she has programmed a season of new work entitled 'Hear Me Roar: Women, Gender & Silence', dedicated to staging women & people of non-traditional gender binary's stories.  Prior to our this new residency with Droichead Quintessence was the inaugural Company in Residence at the Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk, a position they held successfully for four years, & with whom Anna wrote, directed & devised 16 plays, including 'Warrior of the Táin' (writer/director, An Táin, February 2019), Bram Stoker’s 'Dracula (adapter/director, Smock Alley November 2018, An Táin April 2017), 'Cracks' (Arts Council funded National Tour 2018, visiting 18 venues across the Republic and Northern Ireland), 'The Star of Chester’s Lane' (director, May/August 2018, Drogheda Arts Festival Commission Winner 2018, Droichead); a rehearsed reading of 'Belfast Girls' (director, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, August 2018), site-specific family show & Irish reimagining of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' entitled 'The Deadly Wizard of Oz' (writer/director, Anaverna House, Dundalk, July 2018), 'Some of Our Children' (director, An Táin, February 2018); 'Romeo and Juliet' produced for schools in the Louth area (An Táin, November 2017), site-specific family show 'The Wind in the Willows' (adapter/director, August 2017), new comedy & work-in-progress 'Pink Planet' (director, Smock Alley, Scene + Heard Festival, February 2017), Shakespeare in rep productions of 'Romeo & Juliet' & 'Hamlet' for Junior and Leaving Cert students (director, An Táin, April 2016), 'Vessel' (director, An Táin Nov 2015; New Theatre, Dublin, April 2016); a site-specific promenade production of 'Alice in Wonderland' to celebrate 150 years since ts publication (adapter/director, Anaverna, August 2015); & the Quintessence debut of Oscar Wilde’s 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' to celebrated 125 years since its publication (adapter/director, April 2015). Before bringing her directing back to Ireland (having studied there as a Psychology undergraduate 2006-2009 at UCD) Anna lived and worked in London as an Education Practitioner with Shakespeare's Globe, & a Young Creative Associate of the Pleasance Theatre, London & Edinburgh, as the Director of Incognito Theatre (Ex-YP), a new company supported by the Pleasance, with whom credits include a sell-out physical ensemble take on Gogol’s classic political satire 'Government Inspector' (Below, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe 2014; Pleasance Islington, December 2014) & her own 55 minute physical adaptation of Wilde’s 'Dorian Gray' (10 Dome, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Fringe 2015; Pleasance Islington, December 2015). Other UK directing credits include: 'Welcome to Thebes' (South Hill Arts Centre, READ College Acting Graduate Showcase, May 2019), 'The Wasp' (Jermyn St Theatre, Aug 2017); 'Spring Awakening' (South Hill Arts Centre, July 2015), new writing & one-woman show 'Close to You' (Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, November 2013; Southwark Playhouse, March 2014; Brighton Fringe Festival, May 2014), & 'Disco Pigs' (Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol, May 2012, and Tristan Bates Theatre, London, 2012). 'Disco Pigs' received rave reviews and won the Elsa Roberts Award for Best Director. Alongside directing Anna also has extensive experience as a teacher & workshop leader, devising & leading drama workshops in schools & insitutions across the UK, Ireland, & internationally, including: Dulwich College, University College Dublin, Read School of Dance and Drama, St Vincent's Girls' School Dundalk, Louth, Dundalk Youth Theatre, Activ8 in Bristol, Harris Academy, and Stagedoor Manor in New York.



  • Assistant Directing
  • Choreography
  • Directing
  • Mime
  • Physical Theatre
  • Playwriting
  • Teaching
  • Theatre