MACHA is a professional theatre company founded in 2015 by Jo Egan and Fionnuala Kennnedy, that makes theatre with voices and communities that are largely absent from the cultural landscape. MACHA presents, promotes and produces professional performance with community collaboration; with marginalised voices and exceptional artists – locally and internationally. MACHA uses ground-breaking theatre to challenge the current structures existing in society which dominate, repress and block development of communities and individuals. Through its work, MACHA aims to democratise cultural expression by smashing barriers to participation.
Current Artistic Director, Jo Egan is a theatre artist with 30 years’ experience of creating work for traditional and non-theatre locations. Since she moved to Belfast 1996 she has created work that examines the place “in-between” – space both temporal and physical where the narratives of “the other” can be found. She created and developed the concept for the Wedding Community Play which took place at a flashpoint interface area in Belfast. As Creative Producer with KABOSH Theatre, she produced work that questioned “what theatre is and where it takes place”. On leaving KABOSH she worked as an oral archivist, creating an archive of 42 interviews with the Belfast Orthodox Jewish community, conducted both in Belfast and England, which informed This is What We Sang, staged in the Belfast Synagogue. Additionally she has dramaturged and produced work for UVF ex prisoner, Bobby Niblock and supported the creation of Etcetera Theatre Co, dedicated to supporting work emanating from the Loyalist/Protestant working-class community. She has a history of creating: large-scale work with community participants, professional playwrights, actors, dancers, choreographers, visual and sound artists, lighting and set designers, reflected in work such as Crimea Square, 2013 (100 years of Shankill history) which won the Belfast International Festival Audience award. Her play Sweeties premiered at Belfast Grand Opera House in 2014 Madame Geneva premiered in 2017. Jo is herself a playwright, director and dramaturg and currently teaches memoir and playwriting. She also works as a consultant with two theatre companies in London, Maya Productions and Intermission Theatre Company. Both of these companies initiate culturally diverse work with marginalised voices.