Freda O’Byrne


I am a physical theatre director, performer and puppeteer with a first class honours degree in performing arts from Middlesex. I have trained in mask, clown, bouffon, devising, directing and Feldenkrais with John Wright, clown with Pierre Byland, Deaf and Forum theatres with London Bubble, Puppetry with Curious School of Puppetry and with Puppet Animation Scotland. I am Artistic Director and founder of Tragic Carpet Visual Theatre and use an eclectic mix of genres to explore the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. I was formerly co-founder and artistic director of First Bite Theatre in Health Education Company for 12 years.

This CV focuses mainly on my artistic and creative output and touches on some of my social activism initiatives which are hugely influential on my artistic practice. 


Rendition at Hidden Door 2017 and Manipulate 2018/9  and Assembly Roxy 5th to 9th March 2019 (performer creator) A visual theatre/installation examination of data about the extraordinary rendition, detention and torture of CIA prisoners and the infrastructures that supported it.

‘Freda O’Byrne’s remarkable 45-minute show Rendition is a profoundly moving piece of total theatre’Joyce McMillan Scotsman ****

The Big Data Show with Civic Digits 2018 Creative Learning Director

Quest for Oz with Vision Mechanics 2018 Interactive theatre performer

The Keeper / The Seven Ravens Hidden Door 2018

A performance/installation with puppetry, live image capture, processing and display; projection, needle felting, and specially composed music and song.

Curious School of Puppetry at Summerhall Jan to March 2018 – Production Manager

Tragic Carpet 1985 to present (Artistic Director) Rendition Hidden Door Festival 2017, manipulate 2018/9 Roxy Edinburgh 2019 writer, performer. Currently in development into full length play with Sylvia Dow (writer), Emma King (puppeteer); Fish-or-Man – Edinburgh Fringe Festival August ‘95 and Highlands tour director; Fish-or-Man – Tobermory Arts Centre, Isle of Mull  and Coastal Argyll community (June ’95) director and workshop leader; The  Heart of Dog 1 & 2 (Edinburgh, Liverpool   and  London ‘93  &  ‘94) director; Island on the Edge of the World (Edinburgh Fringe ‘92) dramaturg, director; Nosferatu (based on 1920 Murnau Film) (Edinburgh Fringe ‘91); Babi Yar (based on the novel by Anatoli Kuznetsov –(Edinburgh Fringe ‘88) dramaturg, director

Simple Times for Luminate 2016 and the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival A creative ageing reminiscence piece about growing up in Glasgow in the fifties, director and dramaturg.

Court Theatre Training Company and N1 Theatre 1992 to 2016 Diaboliad based on the short story by Mikhail Bulgakov – April/May  2016; Animal Farm adapted for stage by Ian Woolridge Feb / March 2006; The Insect Play Brothers Capek (’96); Lily’s Last Sin (’95); Nosferatu – based on Murnau’s original film (’94); The Blue Angel – based on von Sternberg’s film (’94); ‘M’ – Your Murderer is Watching You – based on Fritz Lang’s 1920 film (’93); The Bedbug by Vladimir Mayakovsky (’92).

East Renfrewshire Council (Artistic Director) 1999 – 2000: ‘The Play in the Park’ – Rouken Glen Park, (circus tent) and The Dome, London.

First Bite Theatre in Health Education Co. Scotland and England ’89 to 2000 (Artistic Director) 19 research based Education, Performance and Workshop Programmes from 1989 to 2000 for primary, secondary and special needs children.

Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet Orchestra and The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Edinburgh International Festival (assistant director)  Master Peter’s Puppet Show by Manuel De Falla (’90)


Liceo Francesca Cappecce, Italy, British Council and RAI TV The King Lear Project Residency and workshop programme.

Act 3 International  Singapore and British Council (94). Singapore Arts Festival ‘Chope’ a play for primary school aged children on themes of ‘pressure’. 


Scatterbox Films Young Persons Film Group 2008 to present. Group leader and co-founder, directing, editing, camerawork, screenwriting. Dramas, documentaries, music video, animation, we did it all! Youtube:

Relevant Education and Training

Middlesex Polytechnic 1985 to 1988 BaPA First Class Honours Performing Arts Degree

Internship: John Wright (Trestle, Told by an Idiot, author of ‘Why is That So Funny? and Playing the Mask’) 1988: 3 month internship: co-teaching, co-devising, co-directing (Bouffant) and also directing  ‘The Voices of the Archetypes’ a training resource for actors with John Wright, Frankie Armstrong and Stuart Hall. 

Workshops and Courses

Curious School of Puppetry January to March 2016; Puppet Animation Scotland Masterclasses Edinburgh 2015 to 2017; Full Cirqle Circus Space, Portobello  – aerial skills (trapeze and silks) 2015; Screen Education Edinburgh Screen Writing for film shorts (Pilton) ; Clowning – with John Wright and at Dancebase Edinburgh with Tim Licata; Mask workshops ’86 – ’89 (full, half, commedia, basle, archetype, neutral, clown) plus Feldenkrais training and voice workshops  with John Wright at Drill Hall Arts Centre  London Archetypal Voice – John Wright and Frankie Armstrong (several projects) Directed ‘Voices of the Archetypes’ a training resource created by John Wright and Frankie Armstrong; Natural Voice – Frankie Armstrong with Tragic Carpet, London; Acrobalance with Tragic Carpet, London; Pierre Byland The Actor Clown – at Centre for Performance Research, Cardiff; Forum Theatre Adrian Jackson of London Bubble with First Bite, Liverpool; Theatre for the Deaf – London Bubble with John Wilson, Annie Griffin

Relevant Skills

Directing, writing / devising / choreography, dramaturgy. Performer, puppeteer, film maker. Mime, physical / visual theatre, mask, clown and ensemble skills. Puppet fabrication. Workshop leading /facilitation, working with diverse communities, performance training at graduate and post graduate level, drama for children and young people, work with older people.

Technical skills: Computing skills, graphic design, website development, digital image manipulation, coding skills, film editing, documentary photography. Competent with platforms such as Eventbrite, Slack, Google Drive, Google docs/sheets etc, WordPress, Vimeo, youtube etc.