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Things what happened in 2016…

Well, how the time flies! It’s a quarter way into 2017 already and beavering away at projects happening this year, but let’s have a quick recap of 2016.

‘Ponies Don’t Play Football’ filled a transformed St Martin’s Church for a magical Tuesday night in March. We did two shows, packed each one and it was pure magic.  Then all 12 of us hauled over to the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Wales to perform as part of British Dance Edition on St Patrick’s Day itself.  They were pure sound, thanks for having us BDE and thanks to Culture Ireland for supporting us.

We dabbled with an idea for a family show, Donal Scullion whipped up some original music, I worked with concept and script with Niamh McGrath and then a gang of us got into The Factory space in the Mac and produced about 20 minutes.  It was good, but it wasn’t amazing. We learned a lot, there’s a lot more to be done. It was our first stab at making and performing family/children/young people/not drunk grown ups work. A very worthwhile project. Thanks to Arts Council Northern Ireland and The Mac for their generous support.

I undertook my first solo show. That was very exciting, scary for a bit, not scary at all sometimes. I knew exactly what I was doing part of the time, wandered around in the wilderness most of the time.  And then I found Joe Deiffenbacher, clown, director, gifted man and generous soul. I didn’t find him as such, Sara Cwojdzinski brought me to his workshop in Derry (Thanks In Your Space). I spent three solitary days with him in Oxford in a rehearsal room in a community centre and he whipped my piles of notes, doodles and pages of script into a beginning, middle and an end. What a man.   I had three days in Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth thanks to their generous offer of free space for artists, so I hopped on a cheap flight and stayed in cheap digs and spent many happy hours in their beautiful building, making material and getting feedback. Thanks Sheila, Joel and all at PDSW.   Most importantly for the solo show, I hosted heaps of workshops with loads of community groups all over Belfast, thanks to support from Belfast City Council and that gave me loads of food for thought and material on my beloved adopted city. Thanks to all you guys.  The show, Idiom, premiered at the Belfast International Festival in October, in a double bill with the now legendary dance machine, Oona Doherty. Thanks for sharing Oona and thanks to Richard Wakely for having/encouraging/supporting us.

We ponies also made an appearance at the Tolerantia Awards held in the Titanic Building. That was a famous night! The red leotards made a re-appearance and went down a treat. Thanks to Ross Anderson Doherty for inviting us and the Rainbow Project for hosting the whole lot, they happen in a different European city each year. Glad to be part of the one here in Belfast. Sweet Belfast.

And then of course there was Pony Panto – which sold out 12 shows this year over 9 nights! We packed the place, the crowd loved it, the cast were epic, times were great, memories forever. If ya missed it, you missed it. So long 2016.

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