Artistic Director

Anna Friend

Anna Friend is a Director, Designer and Actor based in Wiltshire. She founded Quirky Bird Theatre in 2015 and is the Resident Director at The Alma Tavern & Theatre in Bristol.

Her work has gained a reputation for powerful, naturalistic theatre alongside reworking classic texts to inspire new audiences. She has worked extensively with Shakespeare, in particular making these contemporary and accessible for young actors. Her adaptation of A Midsummer Nights Dream in 2015 earned seven awards at the All England Theatre Festival and was hailed as 'theatre full of imagination and creativity'.

As an actor she has just completed a hugely succesful run of Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell and will appear later this year as Gertrude in a new version of Hamlet. She will be taking her first one woman show 'My Mothers Vibrator and Other Stories' to Edinburgh Fringe in August 2020.

Her schools tour of DNA by Dennis Kelly has been running for three years and continues to provide essential resources for scholls and opportunities for young actors.

Her work at The Alma Tavern & Theatre and seen new fresh interpretations of iconic texts. Including;


Ibsen's A Dolls House by Simon Stephens;

"Resident Director Anna Friend does a fine job of teasing every drop of emotion from her talented cast, each of whom              perform with passion and add a touch of humour to the serious undertones of the play, something that has not been              obvious when I have seen this work performed previously”


 ***** 365 BRISTOL

Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh

“Anna Friend’s gloriously intimate and flawlessly cast production for the in-house company, Schoolhouse, is one of the finest renderings of the play I have ever seen, alive to the rich sense of uncomfortable humour but also the vicious power struggles and forced geniality of the guests. A beautifully detailed set – complete with cheese plant, pineapple ice bucket, and lava lamp – perfectly evokes the era and while the staging remains natural and fluid, this is a production unafraid of stillness and silence. There are moments where one is weeping with laughter, only to be undercut by an icy retort or shift in control which unsettles the mood but is never once overplayed.” 



Anna has designed sets for Gatecrash Theatre, in particular their epic production of The Crucible staged at Swindon Arts Centre in 2016 and A Midsummer Nights Dream in 2017. She also is an actor, taking on the role of Beverly in Abigail's Party for Schoolhouse Productions and is currently touring as Martha in That Face by Polly Stenham.

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