Artists, Organisations, Partnerships

Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from Northern Ireland at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

9th July, 2024

Six major works, created by some of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre, dance and arts organisations, will be spotlighted as part of an event at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 20 August 2024. The Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from Northern Ireland initiative is delivered by Theatre and Dance NI, in collaboration with Belfast International Arts Festival, and supported by the British Council Northern Ireland and The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Image: Six major works, created by some of Northern Ireland’s leading creators of theatre, dance makers and arts organisations, are due to be showcased as part of a Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from Northern Ireland event at the 2024 Edinburgh Fringe Festival taking place this August. Pictured launching the spotlight are (L-R) Colette Norwood (British Council), Aoibh Johnson, Trevor Gill, Cahal Clarke, Molly-Rose Street (TDNI), Paddy McEneaney, Niamh Flanaghan (TDNI),PJ (Patrick) Davey, Siobhán Molloy (Arts Council NI), Jonathan Stewart (British Council), Caoileann Curry-Thompson (Arts Council NI), and Glenn McGivern.

Now in its sixth year, the Spotlight event aims to shine a light on exceptional quality theatre and dance work created by artists and arts organisations from here. Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts marketplace in the world and taking part in the Spotlight event is an unparalleled opportunity for Northern Irish artists to connect and network with international arts industry figures with a view to having their work tour internationally. The Spotlight event also offers opportunities for media engagement, artistic development, and the possibility of future collaboration with overseas partners.

Watch the video below.

The six productions from Northern Ireland being profiled in 2024 include:

  • Ante Beckett by Joel Smith, directed by John Carty, produced by Exit Does Theatre, Paddy McEneaney.
  • The Daughters of Róisín by Aoibh Johnson, directed by Cahal Clarke, produced by Wee Yarn Productions, Lyric Theatre and Pleasance Theatre Trust.
  • Float by Kirby Thompson and Orla Graham, directed by Kirby Thompson and Caoimhe McGee, produced by Crybaby Productions in association with Patchwork Productions.
  • Lies Where It Falls by Ruairi Conaghan, directed by Patrick O'Kane, produced by Andy Jordan Productions.
  • Dean and the Devil by Philip Orr, directed by Chris Darcy, produced by Bright Umbrella.
  • A Farther Shore by David Campton, directed by Trevor Gill, produced by Bright Umbrella.

Niamh Flanagan, Executive Director, Theatre and Dance NI said, “We have been delivering and developing the Spotlight at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2019 and we are so proud to do so with the support of Arts Council of NI, British Council NI and Belfast International Arts Festival. The team at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Culture Ireland have also been important in supporting us to develop this initiative. We know through the success of the Spotlight over the past six years that there is a market nationally and internationally for the work of our theatre and dance artists. The Fringe is the world biggest arts marketplace and this ongoing interest and demand for work from NI is from reputable international programmers and audiences and has resulted in further opportunities for our artists/companies, including onward touring nationally and overseas and continues to put Northern Ireland firmly on the cultural map.

This momentum is reflected in the success of previous Spotlight artists, who continue to make remarkable achievements: Colm McCready’s “Scaredy Fat” (Skelpie Limmer) toured the London Pleasance and is set for the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2024/25. Ciara Elizabeth Smyth’s “Lie Low” (Prime Cut) performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in May 2024. Joyce Greenaway’s “Whisk(e)y Wars” enjoyed sold-out runs at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, and Bozar Brussels, supported by ACNI & NI Exec Office. Charis McRoberts’ “Expecting” (C21 Theatre Company), exploring experiences unique to d/Deaf couples, premiered in the US at The Keegan Theatre in Washington in May 2024.”

Niamh continued, “We are also delighted to offer a number of bursaries as part of the Fellowship Programme. This will support several artists, directors and producers, to attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival who may wish to perform there in the future. Details will be announced soon. We are honoured to support Northern Irish artists and look forward to the successes of the year’s group.”

Richard Wakely, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Belfast International Arts Festival, commented, “The Spotlight on Northern Ireland Theatre and Dance at the Edinburgh Fringe offers our performance artists and ensembles a significant platform to gain international recognition. This exposure not only helps to sustain new stage works but also provides a welcome boost to our artists’ public profiles and creates opportunities for both artistic development and future collaborations with overseas partners. BIAF is delighted to support the 2024 edition of the Spotlight and we look forward to seeing this year’s cohort emulate the well-deserved successes that NI-based artists have achieved in Edinburgh in recent years.”

Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, added: "We are thrilled to once again support the Spotlight on Theatre & Dance from Northern Ireland showcase at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. This is fantastic platform to highlight some of the most exciting and innovative productions emerging from Northern Ireland on the international stage, and we're excited to see how they will capture audiences in Edinburgh and beyond”.

Siobhán Molloy, Festivals, Venues & International Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “The Arts Council is delighted to help spotlight the remarkable theatre and dance work being made in Northern Ireland today, and funding from The National Lottery is a game changer in helping us achieve that. It’s a testament to the creativity, tenacity and forward-looking focus of our artists that they have created such high quality and resonant works. It is vital that these important works are seen – and important too for audiences to get see them – and so it is particularly exciting that a huge potential market is opened up to them through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Congratulations and good luck to all those taking part in the 2024 showcase.”

For a link to the Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from NI programme, featuring dates of performances and background details on each production, please visit https://linktr.ee/spotlightontheatreanddanceni24