LCGA Events

Open O

Open O

13th, 20th April & 18th May 2017 @ 6pm
Limerick City Gallery of Art

Open O

Performing Silence is a performance without an audience or performers.


A meeting place between performance and reflection with Mary Noona

and Monica Spencer.


LCGA     Thursday's, 13th & 20th April and 18th May 2017  @ 6pm


Mary Nunan Artist in Residence 2017

For first time ever, BEALTAINE 2017 is engaging a dance artist in residence, namely Mary Nunan.  She is a seminal figure in contemporary dance in Ireland, founding Daghdha in Limerick in the late 1980s and subsequently, leading the way in academia, in Limerick in her role as a lecturer and inspiration to countless contemporary dancers who came through the various programmes at the University of Limerick

She has, recently, embarked on projects such as Open O at the Limerick City Gallery of Art and has collaborated with a number of local organisations in Limerick to conceive and develop exceptionally compelling work - strong conceptually and engaging for all involved.

As our national dancer in residence with BEALTAINE, she will work with three groups of older dancers who are interested in exploring contemporary dance as an expressive form - dance is often promoted as a keep fit exercise for older people - this interaction would focus on the artform and on dance as a form of expression.

The groups will work with Mary - alongside will be a practitioner workshop at each location.  

  • in Limerick at The Island Community Centre working with St Mary’s community with associate artist Monica Spencer and The Gaff
  • Dates of workshops: 8th March, 15th and 22nd March, 5th 12th and 19th April and May 10th and 17th with informal ‘sharing’ event on 17th May
  • in Clare at Raheen Day Hospital with arts facilitator, Nicola Henley and at glor, in association with Clare Arts Office at the Artist’s Resource Room
    • Dates of workshops: Tuesday 25th April, Tuesday 2nd May and Friday 5th May (practitioner workshop) 
  • in Roscommon, working with the Elderberries and dance artist Catherine Donnelly , in association with Roscommon Arts Centre and Roscommon County Council
    • Dates of workshops: May 3rd,  6th (practitioner workshop) 10th and 20th


The Movement

Mary has been commissioned to create an independent work called The Movement which will be performed on 11th May and 25th May as part of national BEALTAINE events in Limerick and Dublin.  Mary will explore our theme for BEALTAINE 2017 and will respond, expressing in site specific works at Limerick City Gallery of Art and Poetry Ireland, her reflections on the theme of activism.  

Writer Claire Louise Bennett will work alongside Mary, reflecting on both The Movement and Mary’s processes as she interacts with community groups in Limerick, Clare and Roscommon.  Claire Louise Bennett’s 2016 collection 'Pond', was widely critically acclaimed for its unique take on solitude but also for her ability to track her character’s physical sensations.   She threads the images and emotions that arise from them back and forth through the narrative and fragments of narratives.  In that way, her writing/imagination seems strongly body-based - wonderfully and powerfully so.    We have commissioned Claire Louise to work with Mary, to create a reflective piece on Mary’s work and process. 


OPEN O at Limerick City Gallery of Art, May 18th at 6.00pm

Time sits still - breath moves - someone changes - another angle

a gentle adventure - words follow – later -

a dance you could say - as it is.

Open O is a participatory event. It is a performance without an audience or performers.  A meeting place between performance and reflection, open for everyone. It is an invitation to share space and time in simplicity, silence and reflection, followed by a chance to exchange any thoughts and reflections in words.

Devised and facilitated by Mary Nunan and Monica Spencer. Duration: 1hr maximum

Seed funded by Milford Care Centre’s Compassionate Communities initiative and supported by Dance Limerick, UL Arts Office, Ralahine Utopian Centre UL and Limerick City Gallery of Art.


Interaction with professional practitioners and artists as part of the BEALTAINE 2017 Artist in Residence Programme

With: The Artist’s Resource Room, in association with Clare County Arts Office and GLÓR,  

With Roscommon Arts Centre in association with Roscommon County Council

Commissioned by BEALTAINE (National Programme) 2017



Sensation, Surface, Space:  It could be said that dance and choreography unavoidably require an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to performance. This will be one of the recurring themes running through my talk. I will reflect on it as I discuss my own work with reference to some of the wider circumstances that have informed its development to date. Then focusing on more recent works I will give an account of the conceptual/body-mind principles and practices driving it. I will also discuss my current interest in exploring how a heightened awareness of space serves to awaken sensation in the moving body and how this, in turn, might create a fertile ground for interdisciplinary and collaborative exchanges with other artists.



Sensation, Surface, Space: The workshop will introduce practices and methods for attuning to Space as a support for movement: to sense Space as a surface – a dancing partner. It will begin with simple warm-up activities and build progressively to more expansive improvised movements. The main point, that we will return to again and again, throughout the workshop, will be to release (as much as possible) those tensions that limit range of movement: to simplify, and at the same time, to clarify movement through an enhanced awareness of Space: to enjoy the sensation of dancing: to feel our own ground within it. The workshop activities will be based on principles and practices drawn from post-modern release-based contemporary dance techniques and improvisation.



Mary Nunan is a contemporary dance artist – choreographer, performer, teacher and mentor. She is Bealtaine dance artist-in-residence for 2017. Her professional career began when she joined Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre (1981-86). As founder Artistic Director of Daghdha Dance Company (1988-1999) Mary created a substantial body of solo and ensemble choreographies that toured extensively to national and international dance festivals. From 2002-2014 she was involved as a collaborative artist and performer in Maya Lila Collective, under the direction of Joan Davis. Artists with whom she has collaborated on a number of performance projects include: Mary Wycherley, Jurgen Simpson Yoshiko Chuma, Nigel Rolfe, Oscar Mascarenas, Katherine O’Malley, Lin Snelling and Guy Cools. Mary was Course Director of the MA Contemporary Dance Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (1999-2016). She is currently a visiting guest tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. She was awarded a PhD from Middlesex University, UK, in 2013.


Claire Louise Bennett

Claire-Louise Bennett's fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications including Harpers, The New York Times, The Guardian, The White Review, gorse, Winter Pages and The Irish Times. She has also produced art writing for Temple Bar Gallery and Studio, Nottingham Contemporary, 126, and Tate Magazine. Pond, her first book, was published in 2015 by Stinging Fly Press and has subsequently been acquired by ten countries worldwide. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Dylan Thomas Prize. Her story 'Morning, Noon and Night' was awarded the runner-up prize in the BBC National Short Story Competition in 2016.   


Monica Spencer

Monica Spencer is a freelance producer, festival organiser and community theatre facilitator based in Limerick. She has extensive experience of arts management and delivery including roles as Executive Director of the former Daghdha Dance Company, Artistic Director of Everyman Palace Cork and a range of curatorial positions in the Belltable Arts Centre.  She has been a founder member of a number of arts organisations including Island Theatre Company in the 80s, the Make a Move Hip Hop festival and The Gaff, performance development space. She is an active member of PLAN, the Limerick artists’ network, Creative Communities Limerick and of LACE, Limerick Arts and Culture Exchange. She is a graduate of the University of Limerick.


Nicola Henley

A  Fine Art/Textiles graduate of Goldsmith's college, Nicola Henley has exhibited widely in the U.K. Ireland, Australia, Japan, the U.S.A and Spain. She was born in Bristol, England and built her reputation as a Contemporary Textile Artist in the UK before moving her family to Co. Clare in Ireland in 1991. With help from a European Rural Development grant she set up a new studio at her family farmhouse where she continues to work in large-scale artworks for galleries or commissions.  She works as arts facilitator at Raheen Day Care Centre in East Clare and was a leading light in the Iniscealtra Festival in Clare in the 1990s.

Catherine Donnelly


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