For the fourth consecutive year, Dublin Circus Project and Dance Ireland have partnered to provide two residency opportunities: Catalyst and Ignition. Both programmes are an investment from Dance Ireland and Dublin Circus Project in risk and exploration, with the support of the Arts Council.

Catalyst and Ignition are a series of enhanced, fully resourced, residency to support the development of work and skills. In addition to bespoke advice, artists are provided with support and consultation by Dublin Circus Project and Dance Ireland.

Artists-in-Residence 2022


Catalyst 2022: Development of Work

Sean Smyth has been educated in Scotland France and Denmark. He has been working across Europe for the last four year. mMost notably, he produced A show called Tony’s Christmas Cabaret. Recently he has been working with Out of Balanz, on their show, “Before we Disappear/ Før vi Forsvinder.”

Sean will be working with Raymond Keane and Moa Asklof Prescott during his residency.


Catalyst 2022: Development of Work

Emily is an artist, aerialist and artistic mentor. With foundational expertise in music, performance and aerial dance, her varied background leads to creative, collaborative and original integration of multiple art forms. 

“My practice is intuitive, interpersonal and physical, strongly influenced by artistic and technical elements of aerial dance and circus, inspired by over a decade of creating work in these art forms. I am interested in the symbiosis of human, object and environment, and the tension generated by two things meeting: what philosopher Louis Marin describes as the space between where new meaning can emerge; or what Graham Harman simply calls ‘emergence’. My varied background in music, performance and academia leads to creative, collaborative and original integrations of multiple art forms realised with a broad artistic and technical team. My recent work is supported and funded by the Arts Council, Fingal County Council, Dance Ireland, Courthouse Arts Centre, Dublin Circus Project and Mermaid Arts Centre.”

She will be working with artists Abby Evans, Lisette Krol and Director of Dublin Theatre Festival Willie White.


Ignition 2022: Development of Artist

Helen is an emerging multidisciplinary artist with a passion for creating innovative, dynamic and high-octane performance. With a background in drama, physical theatre and dance, Helen brings to bear various strands of creativity to the making of her work. She has a great love for fusing live performance with elements of both pre-recorded and interactive technology, bringing these strands together through projection and infrared-triggered live AV affects.  

Helen is greatly influenced and inspired by the cross section between dance and circus, a junction that has swiftly become the dominant focus in her arts practice. She is deeply interested in how these two disciplines can co-exist, support and transform storytelling within performance.  

Recent research and practical exploration has included investigating the combined physical and narrative potential of dance and circus, and the creative transitions between floor based dance, physical theatre elements, and aerial apparatus ie. Straps.

She will be working with circus artist Fadi Zmorrod .


Ignition 2022: Development of Artist

Claire is an emerging, multidisciplinary aerialist, specializing in aerial hoop, with a background in theatre and community arts. Since graduating from Bull Alley Theatre college in 2011, Claire continued to work in the arts, representing and managing artists, but it wasn’t until 2018 that she found Circus and since then has gone on to work with leading companies and aerialists alike. Claire recently made her acting and aerial debut with Fidget Feet on their production of ‘Hatch’ which toured nationally in October 2021 and at the beginning of 2022, Claire was selected as one of six professional circus artists by Circus Factory Cork and Loosey Smokes, to play Oberyn in the R&D week of a Midsummer Nights Dream in Firkin Crane.

She will be working with artist Rachel Ní Bhraonáin.

Photographer: Monika Palova

Artists-in-Residence 2021


Ignition 2021: Development of Artist

Jenny Tufts currently specialises in aerial hoop, but has never met a circus discipline she didn’t like! In addition to proficiency across a wide range of aerial disciplines, she has also trained with industry leaders in contortion, handbalance, partner acrobatics, fire manipulation, and a dizzying number of other prop-based movement arts. Having called New York, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Berlin, and now Ireland home, she draws from a diverse range of interdisciplinary movement traditions. She also holds a B.A. in political science from NYU, and is a self-taught master dog cuddler.

She will be working with Helena Walsh and Aisling Ni Cheallaigh during her residency.


Ignition 2021: Development of Artist

Polina Shapkina is a Russian born, Dublin reared aerialist and contemporary circus artist. Since 2016 she has been creating circus art and performing on stages across Ireland and more recently India and Thailand. She works passionately and consistently on solo work as well as generating larger shows under the name “Erebidae” – the circus theatre group and love child of herself and storyteller and circus artist Aoife Kavanagh. She enjoys looking at themes of selfhood, ego, identity and archetypes and is ambitious in the pursuit of sharing her work with others to the best of her ability.

She will be working with Deirdre Griffin and Rachel Strickland during her residency.


Catalyst 2021: Development of Work

Caitríona Ní Threasaigh and Angelica Santander are the new pair of clowns in town, both of whom completed the “Clown Through Mask” training with Sue Morrison. They met in April 2019 at the “Joey and Auguste” clown workshop run by Sue Morrison where they had the opportunity to work together on several occasions. The complicity between them was instantaneous. They met again in the summer of the same year in a series of workshops directed by Carol Walsh. Although they did not know it at the time, something was beginning to cook, the spectacle of questions.Although they are from different parts of the world, speak different languages and live in opposite parts of Dublin, they complement each other and share the curiosity of the one who knows nothing, the desire to know everything and the desire to burst out laughing.

They will be working with Carol Walsh during their residency.


Catalyst 2021: Development of Work

Nora Kelly Lester is a multidisciplinary artist, performer and theatre maker from Dublin. She was previously director in residence at The New Theatre, from 2015 – 2016. In 2018, Nora was awarded with an Arts Council Travel and Training Award to train in North American Clown Theatre with internationally acclaimed clown expert Sue Morrison. Since then has discovered a great passion for clown theatre. This year she was awarded with an Arts Council Theatre Bursary Award to develop and advance her artistic practice and vision as a theatre-maker by interrogating the fusion of clown and contemporary theatre. She was also awarded with a Creative Ireland Bursary from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in support of the development of craft in the area of clown theatre performance. As an artist she is currently exploring ideas that challenge audiences’ perceptions of female identity in playful, funny and provocative ways.

She will be working with Ruth Lenane during her residency.


Catalyst 2020: Development of Work – Rescheduled to 2021

Objectives: Developing a new collaborative duet through high technical and theatrical mentorship, produce a work that is artistically advanced and accessible using a combination of hand to hand partner acrobatics and physical theatre.

Deirdre Griffin, founder of HeadonBody, is a multi-award winning creative dancer and choreographer with years of experience performing and developing work.

Jonah McGreevy, cofounder and co-creative director at Loosysmokes and multi-award winning acrobat, is an aerialist, director and producer of modern experimental circus work.

They will be working with director Alain Servant and circus artist Fernando Jorge.


DCP’s Support Residency 2021

Emmen Donnelly is a consummate aerial performer and credited circus mentor. His diverse practises strike a balance between the understanding of physicality & an unabashed sense of whimsy, layered with the experienced handling of his technique. His work takes a confident creative stride towards exploring new methodology with aerial and acrobatics, unashamed of his fierce playfulness and untamed in his curiosity. Emmen cuts an impressive physical presence on stage, and is highly respected for the use of his studious and personable creative skills.”

Artists-in-Residence 2019 – 2020

Artists-in-Residence 2020


Ignition 2020: Development of Artist

Seve Feathers’ objectives for her residency were to explore a new creative methodology on embodiment focused on her exploratory movement research Fleeting, working on the ephemeral, echoes, trails and traces of the human experience.

Her mentor for this residency was Megan Kennedy (Junk Ensemble).

Seve hosted an online Artist Talk + Q&A on October 15th 2020. This talk was free and open to the public. She also released a trailer for Fleeting on november 5th, 2020. 

Seve was commissioned by The National Circus Festival of Ireland to produce a short art film, Dis-oscillate, which premiered during the 2020 festival. Dis-oscillate is an exploration of the impact of the pandemic on the nervous system on an individual level through circus, dance and embodiment in empty urban spaces. 

Photo by Graeme Coughlan for Dublin Circus Project


Ignition 2020: Development of Artist

Nicola Moran’s objective for her residency was to exploring concept development through the experimental conversations between body, form and material, initial drawings that adorn the body and the body in turn informs.

Her mentors were Kevin Edward Turner of Company Chameleon and Amanda Coogan.

Nicola two work-in-progress presentation of her street performance Red Tork on Grafton Street on the 12th and on the 15th of September 2020 and was featured in The Independent and The Irish Times. She hosted an online Artist Talk + Q&A on November 5th 2020. This talk was free and open to the public.

Nicola was featured in Kill it with connection by Jessica Doolin, a short art film commissioned by The National Circus Festival of Ireland and which premiered during the 2020 festival.

Photo by Nick Bradshaw for the Irish Times

Artists-in-Residence 2019

CIKADA CIRCUS Ali Stanger & Henrik Gard

Catalyst 2019: Development of Work

Cikada Circus’ objectives for this residency were to redevelop and break apart the show Cikada, explore the ideas further, create new material, and put the show back together again to be ready for performance.

Their mentors for this residency were director Alain Servant and choreographer Deirdre Griffin.

They had an open rehearsal of their show Cikada at the end of their residency, on March 29th in Dance House. This open rehearsal was free and open to the public.

Ali and Henrik performed Cikada at the Limerick Fringe Festival and won the ‘Most Innovative Show’ award. They were also invited to perform their show Cikada as part of Dublin Circus Project’s 10th Birthday celebrations, in Dance House by Dance Ireland for Culture Night 2019.

Cikada Trailer

Photo by Graeme Coughlan for Dublin Circus Project


Catalyst 2019: Development of Work

Maria Corcoran’s objectives for her residency were to develop her well-known character Beryl, upskill, and generate new material for a show. Beryl is a young-at-heart, 97 year old woman who doesn’t care about aging gracefully and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.

She is old and bold! 

Her mentor for this residency was physical comedy legend John Towsen.

Maria Corcoran’s had a work-in-progress presentation at the end of her residency, on March 23rd in Dance House. This work-in-progress presentation was free and open to the public.

Follow Beryl on Instagram and Facebook

Photo by Graeme Coughlan for Dublin Circus Project


Ignition 2019: Development of Artist

Caroline Toledo’s objectives at the beginning of her residency were to use and adapt the Viewpoints acting technique as a base to her aerial rope and acrobatic art development. She wanted to do a movement research and their qualities on the stage, using the aerial rope as a vertical plane and the floor as a horizontal plane. She also wanted to develop a very strong visual work having the Viewpoints as a direction for creation. Caroline is currently developing a 30-minutes show using the skills she acquired during her residency.

Her mentors for this residency were Stephanie Courtney on Viewpoints, and Elaine McCague on Aerial Technique.

Caroline Toledo – Highlights Video

Photo by Graeme Coughlan for Dublin Circus Project