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The Hawkseed Team

Our Story

Hello! We're Anna Berentzen and Hannah Donelon and we are the Co-Founders and Artistic Directors of Hawkseed Theatre Ltd. We both grew up in Greater Manchester and worked (and continue to work) individually as theatre makers. Hawkseed was created in response to what we felt was missing in our theatre community. We wanted to create a support system for high quality new writing that raised the voice of those often under or mis-represented on stage. We want to create space and opportunity for artists to connect, develop ideas, and create exceptional theatre in a supportive setting. This means working collaboratively and innovatively with artists, access consultants, communities, and audiences. We believe theatre can transform lives and our understanding of the world and should be accessible to everyone. As such, a fundamental aspect of our work is finding creative ways to embed access into theatre and our practice as theatre makers. This is a huge aim and starts first with collaborating with those who find theatre inaccessible whether that be due to care responsibilities, physical barriers, financial barriers, or something else. We are aware this is a process that will require a lot of learning and it won't happen over night, but we know it is absolutely essential to the future of theatre.

Meet The Team

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Hannah Donelon (She/Her)

Co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Hawkseed Theatre Ltd.

Hannah is an actor, writer, and folk singer from Manchester. She studied at UCL and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. 

 

Acting credits include: Bridgerton (Netflix), Gentleman Jack (HBO/BBC), In Camera (BBC). For more, see: www.spotlight.com/2375-0195-7661

 

As a writer, she trained with the Royal Exchange Young Company under Becky Prestwich. Hannah’s first play ‘A Very Odd Birthday Party’ was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting (Paines Plough, EKP, 42North in association with Sonia Friedman Productions). In 2022, Hawkseed toured the play in partnership with The Met, Bury and Arts Council England. We developed the play alongside access consultant Chloë Clarke to creatively integrate audio description into the script, as well as connect with relevant communities (working-class Irish communities; Irish artists; Indian diasporic theatre-makers; those living with dementia; healthcare professionals) to inform and shape the script’s authenticity. Her short story ‘little’, which explores alienation and disillusionment, was a finalist in the 2020 Manchester Fiction Prize. Hannah has most recently worked with Jess Thanki and The Lowry to adapt Funnybones into a non-verbal stage production that is accessible to d/Deaf audiences and non-native English speakers.

 

As a singer, Hannah is a trained and award-winning Sean-nós singer. She has supported the likes of Mike McGoldrick and Eleanor McEvoy, and has performed at venues such as Band on the Wall, The Green Note, and The Royal Exchange. In partnership with The British Council, she was selected to become a fellow with FolkConnect: this sees her musically collaborate with Phad artists in India. Through her music, Hannah strives to interrogate the complexities of identity, home, and memory. For more, see: www.instagram.com/hannahmariedonelon.music

Hannah’s other work includes: designing and facilitating Shakespeare classes for groups aged 12-18, managing a careers mentoring programme for college students in Greater Manchester, and working as an artist with Made by Mortals - a theatre company for the over 55s.

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Anna Berentzen (She/Her)

Co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Hawkseed Theatre Ltd.

Anna is a director, actor, and theatre maker from Manchester. She studied at LIPA as an actor before training at the Royal Exchange Theatre on their Young Directors program. 

 

Directing credits include: Astronauts (Royal Exchange), A Very Odd Birthday Party (Hawkseed Theatre Ltd), ROOT (Hawkseed Theatre Ltd / The Met). For more, see her personal website.

 

Anna is currently working with Buxton Opera House to develop and deliver an exceptional and wide reaching program which aims to engage new artists, audiences, and participants across the High Peak area. In 2022, Anna was selected to join the Headlong Origins cohort. Between 2020 and 2023 she led the Young Company Performers at the Royal Exchange Theatre, working with young people across Greater Manchester to deliver high quality training and performance opportunities. In 2020, Anna directed 7 R&Ds of new writing as part of our ACE funded project ROOT. This saw her develop new scripts for the stage, collaborating with actors, writers, and access consultants with whom she explored embedding access into new writing in innovative and creative ways. Anna is particularly passionate about: developing sustainable approaches to creating theatre (and living life); new writing that raises the voice of under and mis-represented communities; theatre that actively engages with audiences who often face barriers when accessing the theatre. Anna is partially deaf and has first hand experience of the barriers that deaf people face in theatre and the wider community. She is currently learning British Sign Language and is working towards her Level 3 qualification.

As a an actor, Anna has appeared on stage and screen. Her credits include: Parade (Hope Mill Theatre), Real Gods Require Blood (Cannes Film Festival 2017 Sèmaine de la Critique and London Film Festival Best Short Film Nominee), Fearless (ITV), The Little Prince (European Tour with Vienna's English Theatre). She is also an award winning singer. She initially trained in classical music and musical theatre before working more recently as a jazz and folk singer. As well as performing, Anna uses her love and knowledge of music to create rich soundscapes in theatre and inspire projects with local communities including developing choral workshops for the Royal Exchange Young Collective.

 

Anna's other work includes: developing and facilitating outdoor forest workshops for children and grown ups to support communication development and provide theatrical experiences in the community; training as a Forest School Leader to develop skills in managing and working in outdoor spaces in a creative and sustainable way.

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