Ireland at PQ 2023The Next Four Years: speculative retrospective

The Irish Society of Performance Designers (ISPD) is delighted to announce the appointment of Tom Creed as Curator and Maura O’Keeffe with Once Off Productions as Creative Producer for the Irish presentation at PQ 2023 and the subsequent National Tour, with their proposal entitled The Next Four Years.

The Next Four Years will be a speculative retrospective of Irish performance design and scenography in the years 2023-2027, which challenges the designers of today to imagine the theatre of tomorrow. Rather than presenting the past, it will deploy new approaches to design to speak to the PQ 2023 theme of RARE, which asks “what the world and theatre could look like in the post-pandemic future” and calls on designers “to imagine, visualize, and even create rare visions of the future”.

If performance design and scenography could offer a vision for Irish theatre after the pandemic, what might a retrospective of the next four years look like? What new shapes, spaces, aesthetics, materials, formats, structures, hierarchies might we look back on? How might an exhibition of design change the system rather than just revisiting it?

ISSSD and the Once Off Productions team now invite performance designers from all disciplines, including set, costume, lighting, sound, video, hair, make-up, puppetry, special effects etc to respond to the question: what could the next four years of performance design look like? Submissions should be in the form of a short biography of up to 200 words as well as any of the following: a short text of up to 200 words, a short audio or video clip of up to two minutes, and/or 1-3 still images in any medium. Irish and Irish-based designers, as well as designers with a demonstrable track record of working in Ireland, are all eligible to apply.

Please send your submissions to by 5pm on September 30th 2022.

Following the open call, a number of designers will be invited to contribute directly to creating the presentation at PQ 2023, with a wider selection of submissions incorporated into the exhibition presentation and publication. A series of workshops and discussions will also take place over the coming months to create a space for the Irish performance design community to explore the topic and inform the final presentation.

An online briefing will take place via Zoom on 19th September at 6pm, register here. Curator Tom Creed will also attend COFFEE SPILLS at the Irish Theatre Institute on 21st September and will be available to discuss the project and process.

The Irish presentation at PQ 2023 and the subsequent National Tour are funded by the Arts Council Ireland Arts Grant Funding Award.

ISPD would like to thank the team behind the PQ 2023 Curator Open Call: field:arts for managing the selection process, and the independent panel constituted by Niamh O’Donnell (Irish Theatre Institute Director), Cian O’Brien (Project Arts Centre Artistic Director & CEO), Caoileann Curry-Thompson (Arts Council Northern Ireland Development Officer for Theatre and Dance), Helen Carey (Independent Visual Arts Curator at Mockingbird Arts & Member of Expert Advisory Committee, Culture Ireland) and Deirdre Dwyer (ISPD PQ Subcommittee Chair).

Meet the Team


Tom Creed is one of Ireland’s leading opera and theatre directors, with a particular focus on new plays and operas by emerging and established writers and composers. His productions have been seen at all the major Irish theatres and festivals, and internationally in over 30 cities on three continents, including the Opéra National de Paris, the Edinburgh, Melbourne and Perth International Festivals, the Barbican Centre in London, and BAM, the Public Theater, the Irish Arts Center and PS122 in New York.

Recent work includes Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda with Irish National Opera, the world premiere of Mark O’Halloran’s play Conversations After Sex with Thisispopbaby at the Dublin Theatre Festival, for which he was nominated for Best Director at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for 2021, and the world premiere of Michael Gallen’s opera Elsewhere at the Abbey Theatre.

Tom was previously Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival, Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival and Associate Director of Rough Magic Theatre Company. He is a member of the Expert Advisory Committee of Culture Ireland and the steering committee of the National Campaign for the Arts, and a board member of Theatre Forum and GAZE Film Festival. He has recently completed an MFA in Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD.

Creative Producer

Once Off Productions is the trading name of leading Irish independent producer Maura O’Keeffe.

Established in 2004, Once Off provides a structured, supportive and creative producing platform for independent performing artists making ambitious, innovative and collaborative work. Working nationally and internationally at all scales, we are committed to bringing performance to audiences in traditional and nontraditional locations.

Once Off Productions is currently funded by the Arts Council under a new ‘Creative Production Supports’ pilot initiative allowing O’Keeffe to partner with producer Sara Cregan, Marketing Consultant Annette Nugentand Production Managers Rob Furey & Peter Jordan to extend the remit of the organisation to a wider range of artists and to provide consolidated and resourced creative production supports to the independent performing arts sector.

Once Off Productions supports and collaborates with a wide range of artists and organisations across theatre, dance, opera and music including: Janet Moran,

Michael Gallen/Straymaker, Dylan Coburn Gray, Laura Murphy, Eoghan Carrick, Colin Dunne, Rory Nolan, Kwaku Fortune, Christian O’Reilly, Medb Lambert & Donal Gallagher/Asylum Productions, Peter Power, Manchán Magan,

Company Philip Connaughton, Tom Lane, Gill Buckle, Conor Hanratty, Tom Creed, Mel Mercier and others.

Line Producers

Lisa Nally is a producer and arts marketing associate with Once Off Productions. She has recently worked across theatre and dance with companies such as thisispopbaby, United Fall, Ulysses 2.2 and the Gate Theatre. She is the associate producer for this year’s Pan Pan Platform at Dublin Fringe and is the resident producer with LemonSoap Productions.

Grace Morgan is a Dublin based theatre maker, director and creative producer. She is co-artistic director of her company, tasteinyourmouth who have presented productions in both Dublin and London. Grace has also collaborated with companies such as Pan Pan and Dead Centre working as an assistant director. She has been the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from Dunlaoghaire Rathdown, a Creative Ireland Mentorship award and An Arts Council Theatre Bursary. Grace holds a BA in English and Drama from Trinity College.