Live Collision 2015

LiveCollision15I am always very appreciative of festivals who bring international artists to Dublin, especially smaller, more niche performers who generally don’t tour that often. This year’s Live Collision programme is a great mix of Irish and international artists. Visiting artists are also doing workshops or collaborating with Dublin-based performers, which I think is a great way to keep a festival vibrant and meaningful to local artists and audiences. This blog post is late – Live Collision started on Wednesday, so it’s half over at this stage, but there is still lots to enjoy.

There is an Artist Salon workshop on Friday afternoon with UK artists Curious. You have to bring with you some sort of ‘information’ about your body that is invisible to the naked eye. The workshop will involve writing and movement to create work both solo and collaboratively. Tickets are €15/20 and it’s on in Fringe Lab.

There are also lunch time talks taking place in Project on Friday and Saturday. These are public discussions, with questions from the audience. Friday’s theme is We are in Public, with Nic Green and Massive Owl and it’s about artists who create participatory work. Nic Green is part of this year’s festival and also did Trilogy in the Fringe in 2010, which I participated in. Massive Owl are doing an Artist Exchange with three Dublin-based performers as part of Live Collision. Saturday’s panel, We Are Only Human with Francis Fay, Amanda Coogan, Kris Nelson & Vaari Claffey will explore current trends in live art.

Irish artist Amanda Coogan is performing Smoking in Bolero in Meeting House Square on Friday night at 7pm and it’s one of the many free events happening across the festival. Another one is Nic Green‘s Abhann Liffe on Saturday evening. The meeting point for that performance is outside Project and it will take place at low-tide, which will be around 5.15pm.

There is also a performance in the Science Gallery as part of their new exhibition Home/Sick. It’s a live, interactive installation called 97 Years and will happen on Friday and Saturday at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. Tickets are €8 and available from the Science Gallery website. It’s nice to see the festival spread across the city.

And of course, there’s the main events of the festival – the double bill performances in Project Cube. On Friday night these are Workshy and 27 and on Saturday you can see Stud and Dickie Beau Unplugged. Tickets are €15/13 which means you’re basically getting two shows for the price of one!

And if none of that tickles your fancy, there’s also a strand called We Are Dancing which includes 27 Club drinks in Project Bar on Friday night and Yes Yes Yes at Mother on Saturday.

So go – enjoy some Live Art! You might find it odd or irritating or inspiring but it’s worth giving it a go – it’s not scary.

Friday Five: 10 April 2015

1. Podcasts. I recently started a new non-theatre, non-arts job. For the last couple of years I’ve been mostly working from home and now I have a job that requires me to get dressed and leave the house five days a week. So far I’m finding it’s a nice change, though the commute is taking a bit of getting used to. Instead of setting up at the kitchen table, my trip to work now involves an hour-long bus journey. I’ve been using these hours to listen to podcasts, including This American Life, Start-up, RTE’s Drama on One and Roisin Meets… As a result, I am really enjoying my journeys to and from work.

2. On my way to work on Thursday morning I listened to Joanne McNally and PJ Gallagher talking to Roisin Ingle about their new show Separated at Birth. It was a great conversation about the show and adoption in general. It was informative and a bit sad in places, but mostly very funny. The show sounds like it will be more of the same and will be an absolute cracker. If you enjoyed Singlehood last year, you definitely want to check this out. They are in Vicar Street on May 8th and touring around the country over the summer.

3. The International Literacy Festival Dublin program was launched on Thursday evening. This used to be the Dublin Writers Festival and I’m not a fan of the new name. I don’t know why they changed it. Dublin Writers Fesitval had a wonderful exactly-what-it-does-on-the-tin simplicity to it. It was a festival of writers, whether they were song-writers or poets, writing fiction or non-fiction, for adults or children. It celebrated writers in a very inclusive way. The International Literature Festival Dublin sounds exclusive and elitist. It sounds like a festival for people who get great pleasure from seeking out the obscure and the high-brow. People who say things like “I prefer their early stuff” and let award long-lists dedicate their reading. It also sounds like it was produced by a random festival name generator. Thankfully the programme is not as exclusive as it’s new name and features lots of interesting people. I’ve already got tickets to Jon Ronson and I want to see Johann Hari, partly because he featured briefly in my Collaborations play, but mostly because his book about the war on drugs, Chasing the Scream sounds fascinating. I’d like to see Irvine Welsh and the Alice in Wonderland 150 anniversary event.
They are also looking for bloggers, if that’s something you’d be interested in doing.

4. I haven’t seen a lot of theatre recently and I miss it. I like this article by British theatre-marker Chris Thorpe, it has lots of interesting ideas about the purpose and effects of theatre, but it’s this description that really sums up what I love about theatre. “making theatre is just a way of meeting people. The basic act of saying: ‘Hello, here we all are in this space together, and isn’t it weird we do this in a world where it’s so much easier not to?’”

5. Live Collision Festival. My favourite live art festival is back and I’m not out of the country this time! Details of the ticketed events are now available here and it sounds like there will be other, smaller events happening as well. Bristol-based company Massive Owl are are inviting three Dublin-based artists/companies to join them as Artists In Residence at this year’s Live Collision International Festival.

Other theatre writing from around the web

Here are some bits and pieces that I came across on twitter recently. They are all from the UK, a lot of them are from the and some from other small blogs.

The Irish theatre community is small, and Dublin is smaller again. I mostly like the smallness. Small means it actually feels like a community, you know what other people are up, people support each other, etc. But it can be risky; communities can become inward-looking and isolated. They have to avoid self-absorption and clique-y-ness and thinking that their little bubble is the centre of the universe. It’s important to keep looking outwards, seeing what other people are doing, be open to new influences. Luckily the internet makes that really easy!

  • Can a relationship with theatre change people’s relationship to society?
    Slightly misleading title, I think. This Guardian article is about audience participation, artist engagement, immersive and interactive theatre and is full of links to other writings about all of those topics.

  • Little Acts of Hope
    Written by Action Hero’s James Stenhouse it about how the audience affect a show. The story at the beginning is really lovely.

  • Trust
    This blog post by Mary Halton was written just after Forced Entertainment performed Quizoola live in Sheffield and online for 24 hours. It’s about a different form of audience engagement.

A couple of articles from the Guardian about funding, and what companies and theatres should do to be “deserving” of public funding:

And an article by Lyn Gardner about an experiment in Stockton’s ARC theatre with a pay-as-you-go initiative, as a way of encouraging more people to go to the theatre. This is worth keeping an eye on, I think.

Live Collision 2014

LiveCollision Live Collision, the international live art festival, is on in Dublin until Saturday and there’s lots of fantastic things happening over the next few days.

Things like Dial Ulrike and Eamon Compliant by Blast Theory. My first job after university was with Blast Theory, working as a intern on Day of the Figurines in the Royal Festival Hall in London. It was a game played by text message and myself and the other game operators looked after the model town and keep it up-to-date, showing where everyone was and what was happening. It ran for 24 days – each day was an hour in the life of the game. It was an interesting first job, and they were lovely people to work with.

Dial Ulrike and Eamon Compliant sounds very different to Day of the Figurines. (And to be fair, generally all of Blast Theory’s work is very different to what has gone before.) This time “the game” takes place down the line of your mobile phone and sounds like a live action “Choose Your Own Adventure”. It’s free and running until April 27th.

There’s an interesting double bill tonight – Veronica Dyas’ This Is My Body and When We Were Birds by Anna Furse. The first piece seems to be very much about Dublin and the state the city and country is in right now, while the second is more about our place in the wider world. Tickets for both are €12/15.

I also really like the sound of Inspiration Exchange, presented by Third Angel and happening in the foyer of Project Arts Centre tomorrow (Friday, April 25) at 3-6pm and the Study Room Boxes which you can borrow from The Library Project in Temple Bar. There’s also the closing night Live Art Party which will include a summation from the Inspiration Exchange, along with other performances. All of these events are free, as is a new durational performance piece by Amanda Coogan I’ll sing you a song from around the town which is on in Project Cube on Saturday, 4-8pm.

If none of these tickle your fancy, have a look at the other performances on the Live Collision site or book through Project Arts Centre. I’d love to hear what you saw and what you thought of it!

Volunteers Wanted

I love volunteering – even if I’ve had second thoughts, I’m always glad that I did it. Any organisation worth their salt will make you feel good about donating your time for free, but in my experience you get more than you give by experiencing new things and meeting new people. Once you’ve committed your time as a volunteer, you are more likely to turn up than you would as a regular punter. You see events that you would never have picked out of the festival programme yourself, and you see them for free! You end up being part of the community and part of the event, and it’s fun.

A few organisations currently looking for volunteers are:

Journey to the End of the Night, which is part of the Darklight Festival. I’ve written a post about this city-wide game of tag. They are mostly looking for chasers – people who are enthusiastic about spending a Saturday night running around, chasing after players and scaring them senseless, but they might also be looking for volunteers to help out at the various check-points. This is a more sedate way to get involved and enjoy the general crazyness without too much running around!
To volunteer or for more information, email

Live Collision is also happening this week, 23rd – 26 April. This is a live art festival based in and around Project Arts Centre. The line-up looks incredible, a great mix of international theatre practitioners and Irish artists – and I am gutted that I’m away this week and missing it all! All the details for volunteering are on the Theatre Forum Jobs Board.

Dublin Dance Festival are also looking for volunteers. This festival takes place between the 20th and 31st May and they are looking for volunteers to help out in lots of different areas. It’s the 10th year of the Dublin Dance Festival and they have a very exciting programme to celebrate. There is an application form on their website and the closing date for applications is Wednesday April 23. All the information is here.

Live Collision Festival 2013

The Best of Scottee
The Best of Scottee

I have a complicated relationship with live art. I was exposed to a lot of it when I was studying Modern Drama, both recordings in class and what we were encouraged to go and see. The things we made often had a live art slant to them as well. I don’t always love it, I often really dislike it but I find it an intriguing genre because now and again, something will come along and blow my mind!

My most frequent complaint about live art is that it’s often more interesting for the artist than the audience. This usually involves durational performances or people cutting themselves or putting themselves in danger. I’m always coming at it from a theatre point-of-view so things that show a disregard for the audience really irritate me!

Live art is interesting because it can be so divisive. I’ve come out of a performance feeling irritated and annoyed that these people took my money and then wasted my time with this drivel, while someone else will rave ecstatically about the exact same piece. They will praise it so highly that I’m not sure how they could have possibly seen the same thing I did, even though they were standing next to me at the time.

It can irritate but it also intrigues me and the wonderful, perfect shows are always worth more because of the irritating pieces you sat though before. (And then I will walk out astonished and delighted by what I’ve seen while the person next to me to ready to ask for their money back.) This is all just a long way of saying that I’m looking forward to the <a href=”; target=”_blank”>Live Collusion Festival</a> later this month. It’s been a while since I’ve sat through some truly odd things so I will attending a few shows and trying to work out how I feel about them. And if you’re going to see anything, let me know. It’s always better to go with a pal so you can argue afterwards about what you saw.

Live Collision Festival
It’s a short, blink and you’ll miss it sort of festival from 18-21 April. There are three double bills of work in Project each evening. On the Thursday there’s Dismantelment and Internal Terrains, on Friday it’s Wideawake and The Best of Scottee and on Saturday it’s The Woman Who Walks On Knives and We Used To Wait. Tickets are all €12 / €10. There are also three site specific pieces happening over the few days(Walking:Holding, Dublin’s Fare City and All Limit’s Are Self-Imposed), a free screening on Saturday afternoon called Discussions Without Time Limits and on Sunday night there is a live art party party, with performances at the Workman’s Club. It’s called and starts at 8pm.

Get involved
If you’d like to do more than just go and see shows, you can do a workshop with “live artist, show off, fat drag queen and attention seeker” Scottee which sounds really fun. The Scottee Workshop is on Thursday 18th April, 3-5pm and costs €20.

There is also a call for artists to take part in Walking:Holding. There is no fee but it is chance to work with artist Rosana Cade on this piece. You will need to have availability from April 16th – 20th. For more information or to register your interest, please contact Niamh McCann – mccann.niamh(at)