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How we work
Quarantine
1B, Basil Chambers
65 High Street
Manchester
England
M4 1FS

Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. Over the last 20 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...

How do we work?

We start with the people in the room.  Where they come from varies, but material is found in their personal histories, beliefs and possibilities.  We are as curious about who people are as about what they can do, as interested in collaborating with experienced performers and artists as we are with people who haven’t done anything like this before.  People in Quarantine’s work are not interpreters, but individuals, each with their own story.  We’re drawn to working with those whose voice is rarely heard.   Our process is lengthy and discursive, a mix of rigorous practice, seemingly aimless conversation and moments that somehow stick, apparently discovered by accident. 

What are we making?

….something for the people who enter the room later – the audience.  We question the mundane and familiar in the context of a theatrical event, interrogating the social/cultural/political/aesthetic act of being in a theatre, to provoke questions about what is happening in that space, and then perhaps/hopefully beyond the walls of the room.

We’re interested in that which is invisible to us….  What happens beyond that point where an audience connects with a performance?  What happens inside the venue – and what happens afterwards?  We’re not the first to say it, but the important thing is: what remains?

Quarantine has made 30 original pieces of work of varying scale and form.  There have been family parties, shared meals, radio broadcasts and journeys in the dark for one person at a time – as well as performances on stage for audiences in seats.  

Although the form varies, Quarantine’s work has an identifiable set of contradictory qualities that somehow coalesce – fragile, clumsy, intimate, knowingly-subjectively-beautiful, banal.  Our approach embraces ambiguity, serious intentions and doubt – and is driven by asking questions for which we have no answers.  Writing this down can appear to deal in absolutes.  The concern is that what we think we might be saying might not be what you’re hearing.  Dialogue is always what makes work interesting.

This introduction to how we work is an edited version of the opening of our chapter in the publication No More Drama.

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