The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, often known as Annaghmakerrig, is a residential facility for creative artists. Located at Annaghmakerrig, Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland, it was founded in 1981. The house was the family home of theatrical director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, and he bequeathed it to the Irish nation in 1971, to be used as an artistic retreat. The centre is a residential workplace open to professional practitioners in all art forms. Creative residencies (or artistic retreats) are for periods of from two weeks to three to six months.
Tyrone Guthrie left, in his will:
- ...my said dwelling-house, furniture, pictures and chattels and the income of my residuary estate to be used for the purpose of providing a retreat for artists and other like persons ... so as to enable them to do or facilitate them in doing creative work.
The gift of the house, in 1971, was accepted by the Irish government, and it opened to guests in 1981.
The retreat centre is sited within a gated 500-acre (2.0 km2) wooded estate.
In the main residence, the "Big House," guests are catered for, with good partly supplied from the estate's organic gardens. Each bedroom includes a writing or work desk and chair, and has its own selection of books and paintings, and a view. Ten of the rooms have en-suite bathrooms and most have fireplaces. Linen and towels are provided.
Up to seven guests can stay in the five self-catering cottages, each with a small stove.
Eight well-lit and heated studio spaces are also available, along with a performance/dance space opened in 2006.
Residencies at the centre are by application only, and are selective. Applicants must have some track record in their field. Once granted, residences are for up to three months for those seeking and accepted for the "Big House" and up to six months for those in the self-catering "Farmyard Cottages." Accommodation fees are modest, and there are some bursaries available to at least partly defray them for qualified candidates.
Once resident, guests are welcome to work as the wish. The only stipulation, as set out in the donor's will, is that all guests must gather nightly for a communal dinner at 7 p.m. in the kitchen of the Big House.
The centre has since hosted more than 5,000 retreats, with the list of Irish writers, composers and artists including such as Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright, John Banville, Colm Tóibín and Colum McCann as well as Michael Harding, Oonagh Kearney, Derval Symes, Page Allen, Maurice Craig, Rory Pierce, Roisin Meaney, Anne Rigney, Nell McCafferty, Gemma Browne, Sam McAughtry, Colette Bryce, Phil Coulter, Brian Kennedy, Mary Dorcey, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Peter McCann.
International authors have also completed residencies at the centre, assisting them to complete or polish existing writing projects. These have included Australian authors Luke Davies and Linda Jaivin and British author Bella Pollen, and Canadian musician Loreena Mckennitt.
The first Director of the centre was Bernard Loughlin (1981-1999), who managed it with his wife, and oversaw its initial setup and the reintegration of the estate. Loughlin was succeeded by Regina Doyle in an acting capacity (1999-2001), then by Sheila Pratschke (2001-2007), Pat Donlon (2007-2010) and Robbie McDonald (since 2010).
Among the many bursaries covering the cost of accommodation at the centre are:
- Noelle Vial bursary for young poets - Donegal County Council Arts Office
- The Arts Office of Clare County Council
- Francis Ledwidge bursary
- Roe Valley Arts and Heritage Committee
- The Next Generation programme from the Arts Council of Ireland
- Joe Dowling Annaghmakerrig Fellowship Award
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the retreat centre in 2016, a book with a selection of materials from projects connected to the facility (imagined, advanced or finished there) was published. Entitled simply "Annaghmakerrig," it was edited by the centre's then director, Sheila Pratschke, working with two selectors, Evelyn Conlon for writing and Ruairi O Cuiv for visual art, and contains work exclusively by guests of the centre, including Colm Toibin, Joseph O'Connor, Alice Maher, Patrick Scott, Rosita Boland, John Banville, Claire Keegan, Gerald Barry, and a remembrance of Guthrie as theare director by Eugene McCabe, and a childhood memoir by Joseph Hone.
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You'd need to have a reasonable track record (quoting the Tyrone Guthrie Centre)
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