Local artist, creator and member of Freshly Ground Theatre, Martha Knight is a well known face around these parts. Recently appointed to the Abbey’s Young Curators Project, we had a quick chat fo find out more!
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and where you grew up?
I was born and bred in Tallaght and have lived here all my life. I graduated from Firhouse Community College in 2016, and started studying Drama Studies and Music in Trinity. I had a huge interest in the arts at school, and had amazing teachers who inspired this interest. I also studied as a part time student in the DIT Conservatory, taking lessons in music theory and classical flute. I’m really lucky to have had a well-rounded experience of the arts when I was young.
What sparked your interest in the arts?
I went to see Carousel Theatre School’s production of ‘Mugged’ when I was maybe 12 years old and became absolutely fixated with joining a theatre group. I joined Carousel in 2010 and had lots of experiences that really solidified my interest in theatre. I performed in pieces and showcases every year, made short films and even went on an international theatre exchange to New York. Carousel puts a huge focus on contemporary devising methods and group work, and I just realised from this that I’m so energised by working with other people that I wanted to continue to do theatre for as long as I could. I owe a lot to Carousel for introducing me to the idea of doing what I love.
What have you been involved in over the years?
The biggest chunk of my theatre experience has come from my involvement in Freshly Ground Theatre Company. My first show outside of Carousel was the very first Freshly Ground piece, ‘The Highs and Lows of the Class of 2014’, in Rua Red. From here, we went on to stage a production of Enda Walsh’s ‘Sucking Dublin’ in the Civic (2016), in which I played Little Lamb. I also played Alva in our first original piece, ‘FRICTION’ (2017). I most recently production managed/lighting designed ‘CURVE’, an immersive piece about the Irish education system that was funded by Creative Ireland South Dublin. Outside of Freshly Ground, I have also been involved in local projects such as ‘Aeridheacht’, a site-specific piece in the Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham, ‘Unwrapped’, and Sarah Pierce’s ‘It’s Very New School’ exhibition in the Rua Red Gallery Space. I stage managed Act Up Theatre Festival, an amazing one-act theatre festival for local schools, in 2017, and was a guest speaker at the festival in 2018. I am also involved in Trinity College’s drama society, DU Players, as well as the drama department. I performed in DU Players’ ‘pool (no water)’ (Samuel Beckett Theatre), winner of the 2018 ISDA awards for best production and best ensemble, and I also performed in advanced devising debut ‘DROWN’ (Samuel Beckett Theatre). I’m really interested in sound design of late, and designed the sound for the headliner of DU Players’ Summer Festival, ‘Eden’ in May.
What are you up to now?
Right now I’m sunbathing in my back garden and making plans to go to the beach! I’m preparing to do an ABRSM performance diploma in classical flute in early July, and we’re also in the early planning stages of a really exciting new Freshly Ground project that’ll be announced very soon. I’m trying to see as much theatre as possible for the Young Curators programme; I recently spent a weekend in Cork at the midsummer festival and I’ll be heading to Galway mid-July for the Galway Fringe.
Can you tell us a little bit about your appointment to the Abbey Theatre’s Young Curators Scheme?
The Young Curators Scheme is a new project where a board of curators aged between 18 and 25 programme a two-week festival on the Peacock Stage in the Abbey Theatre. I applied for the programme in April and was selected along with 4 other young people to be on the board. The festival itself will take place in the summer of 2019, so we’re currently seeing lots of theatre and discussing what we’d like to see included in the festival. After this stage we’ll be contacting artists and actually programming the festival. I’m really excited and so honoured to be part of the project, it’s so incredible to be able to do what I love on a bigger scale than I’m used to, and it’s so encouraging that the Abbey are taking the voices of young people into consideration on such a practical and genuine level.
Ideally what does the future hold?
I’ve always said that the end goal is to be the artistic director of something cool (don’t ask me what), but as long as I’m working creatively in the industry I really don’t have a specific answer for where I want to be in 10 years. I’d love for Freshly Ground to continue to develop, as I really believe that we have a lot more to give. I’m really interested in production, programming and curation, but I’m also keen to keep exploring devised theatre, design, and performance.
Tell us a random fact about yourself?
When I was a child I had this rare infection where I had no other symptoms except the fact that my cheeks swelled up to 4 times their normal size. I was in no pain whatsoever but I looked like a human-hamster hybrid. I’m not lying.#
Well done Martha, from your pals at the Civic!
Find out more about The Abbeys Young Curators Project here