Talking Shop Ensemble is a theatre-making collective founded in 2008 by Oonagh Murpht existed at the edge of theatre – drawing on influences that ranged from installation and performance art to documentary and political theatre.y, Aisling Byrne, Lisa Walsh and Robbie Sinnott. The group came together through a shared wish to make work tha
In 2009, the collective collaborated with student artists at National College of Art and Design to create their debut production Ann and Barry: What Kind of Time Do You Call This? The result was a highly physical surreal musical which took the audience through a promenade of the campus of NCAD, running as part of ABSOLUT Fringe 2009.
In 2010, TSE collaborated with performers Stephen Quinn, Dan Bergin and Louise Melinn, in devising FAT, an exploration of body fascism, celebrity obsession and dieting culture. With founding member, Robbie Sinnott, moved to London to continue studying design, the collective also worked with designer Grace O’ Hara for the first time. FAT was presented at Players Theatre as part of ABSOLUT Fringe in 2010.
In October 2010, director Oonagh Murphy began a conversation with playwright and performer Shaun Dunne. The idea, to do a piece about emigration, was shown in its early stages at Project Brand New: The Lively Fall. The collective collaborated with Dunne and performer, Ellen Quinn Banville, to develop the ideas into I am a Home Bird (It’s Very Hard) which was shown at The Theatre Machine Turns You On: Volume II.
The collective later worked with dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke towards further developing I am a Homebird (It’s Very Hard) for a two week run at Project Arts Centre in April 2011. In June, the piece was presented at Solstice (The Old FAS Building, Sullivans Quay) as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2011. In September 2011 the company were thrilled to be invited to present Homebird at Electric Picnic Festival in Stradbally as part of the first ever Project Arts Centre Theatre Tent.
In the summer of 2011 Talking Shop Ensemble and writer-in-association Shaun Dunne collaborated once more to present a new form-flipping documentary piece that explored spirituality, belief and the growing culture of psychic mediumship in Ireland.
Do You Read Me was presented to full houses at The Boys School, Smock Alley Theatre as part of the ABSOLUT Fringe 2011 programme.
In 2012 the company began developing a piece looking at the new wave of unemployment in Ireland and the army of men on the live register. The piece became Death of the Tradesmen and premiered at ABSOLUT Fringe in September 2012 at Project Arts Centre. Inspired by Shaun’s father, an unemployed carpet fitter in his 50’s and by Arthur Miller’s iconic work Death of a Salesmen, Tradesmen was developed at the TITLE Residency as part of Cork Midsummer Festival in collaboration with actress Lauren Larkin. The piece was nominated for the Spirit of the Fringe award 2012 and received the inaugural Lir Revival Award (which will see the production revived in February 2012 in collaboration with the Lir) and saw Shaun receive the prestigious Fishamble Award for New Writing.