Athletes of the Heart was founded by Anna Furse in 2003
Devoted to transgressing artistic, cultural and geographical boundaries, the company collaborates and co-produces internationally. Each project responds to the specific conditions in which it is being produced – seeking opportunities to connect a process to a production over time – evolving a dramaturgy through physical training and research, focusing on the raw presence of the performer and an essential, poetic and vibrant scenography. Athletes of the Heart puts women’s issues and perspectives at the centre of the work. The company, created and directed by Anna Furse has created works for hospitals, science centres, art centres and theatres and has used cyberspace/online tools innovatively for international collaboration.
Following 10 years of work on and in the medical environment (The Art of A.R.T) Athletes of the Heart has worked in a range of productions, including commissions from the Little Angel Theatre, BBC Radio, CREATE Ireland and the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, co-productions in Belgrade with Dah Teatar and Ljubljana with Mladinsko Gledalisce, with Festival premieres at Live Collision Festival and FEeAST, international workshops and performance making projects, including Athens, Palermo, Beijing and Ireland, Residencies in Delhi, Athens, Bogota and Dublin, and a range of talks, special events and mentoring. Her production Anna Furse Performs an Anatomy Act, A Show and Tell is a CAPP EU Commission that has been followed by a further commission to produce I Am Not a Piece of Meat in 2018. I Am Not a Piece of Meat has been devised in collaboration with The Anatomy Act collaborators Dave Darcy (graphics), Kilian Waters (film) and David Coulter (sound score composition and playing).
In 2018 Anna Furse created a new performance work at Craiglockhart, commissioned by the University of Napier, Edinburgh. This project – Shocks was a memoriam to the WW1 poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen who both suffered from shell-shock and wrote many poems whilst incarcerated at Craiglockhart, a mental asylum at the time, being treated by the pioneering experimental psychiatrist and neurologist WHR Rivers. Shocks continues Furse’s long held interest in hysterias and how the body converts mental trauma into physical symptom as a performative act of protest, that she published in her book Performing Nerves (Routledge, 2020).
The company has received funding and awards from The Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England, The Arts and Humanities Research Council, The British Academy, The British Council, The Victoria Halls Foundation, The London Arts and Health Network, and the EU Cultural programme, numerous commissions from international organisations, venues and HE institutions as well as international co-production funds. The company is managed by Live Collision.
Live Collision is regarded as the leading curatorial model of Live Art in Ireland. Established by Lynnette Moran as both an annual international festival and the first year-round independent Creative Producing organisation of its kind; working with artists across disciplines with multiple partners to realise work of varying scale across sites, locations and contexts beyond the conventional model. Live Collision creates extraordinary experiences for audiences and supports the most groundbreaking and challenging artists of our time. Live Collision International Festival (presented annually in Dublin) only presents work by both national and international artists that has never before been presented in Ireland.