Echo Echo Dance Internship Report by Lena Weber


INTERNSHIP REPORT 09.11.16 – 15.12.16

After a warm welcome in the Echo Echo Studios on the famous Derry Walls, I started immediately with helping to setup an exhibition from Rosemary Lee (London) with the title Liquid Gold is the Air. It was the day before the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2016 started and everyone was busy with the last preparations and arrangements. The excitement was nearly breathable. At this point, I had just a slight idea what I am going to expect the next six weeks. Now, after the experience, I can say that my expectations have been exceeded. It felt like fitting in a shape that already existed there invisibly. My approach of work matched the company perfectly with its appreciative and enjoyable working environment. I immersed myself quickly in the workflow of Echo Echo Dance Theatre.

I am Lena Weber, 30 years old, and I live and work in Leipzig, Germany. This internship is part of my Culture and Media Pedagogic Studies at the University of Applied Sciences Merseburg in Germany.

I got to know about the Dance Theatre from Steve Batts, Echo Echo Artistic Director. He conducted a workshop at my University in June 2015 and I was interested to learn more about it, although I haven’t yet decided to focus on Dance or Theatre in my career. But I really looked forward getting to know more about creative movement. Steve’s work methods and his approach made me curious.

I arrived just in time to give advice and support to the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2016 and of course to participate in all the great workshops and performances.

I had the opportunity to learn new forms of creative movement in a poetic expression and got a basic understanding what movement means to your body in a holistic way. Within the essential and fundamental principles of contact improvisation it opened a complete new world for me. Reflective talks with Steve Batts helped to understand these processes. Especially the workshops and performances by Chico Katsube, Shoko Kashima and Ichi-go Miura which conveyed movement to me as a piece of poetry in 3D. But also the productions from Echo Echo and other guest performers impressed me deeply. I never thought that I could be touched so much by Dance and Movement. “This is a life experience”, a quotation from the production Lost in Frost – and it really was.

During the placement I supplied general support for ensemble members and staff of Echo Echo Dance Theatre. At the Festival I fulfilled tasks in supporting the guest artists, box office, festival survey and public relations. After the festival I helped with evaluating for documentation and funders. A staff survey that I composed was helpful to evaluate and interpret internal management and organisation of the festival. My work in public relations continued with promoting the following performance programme Lost in Frost in December, overseen by Anna Nolan, Echo Echo Development Officer.

Barry Davis, Echo Echo Technical Manager gave me an introduction in lighting design and sound technology during the internship. At events both indoors and outdoors I supported him as assistant technician. I was particularly interested in visual ‘projection mapping’ design. He introduced certain software to create and present designs to me with practice examples from productions. I learned a lot of what is possible and it gave me impulses and new ideas for my work.

Following up my studies of culture and media pedagogic, I received a clearer understanding of the real situation in the culture sector in Derry/Northern Ireland. With great interest I gained an insight in cultural management, administration and funding structures by the Echo Echo Company Manager, Ailbe Beirne. Plus a wider understanding of how the concept of non-profit organisations works, which difficulties need to be faced year after year and what big effort it takes to maintain Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company.

Working on project documentation gave me an overview about the history of Echo Echo Dance Theatre, its principles and work methods. So interesting to see what happened in more than 20 years.

I want to say thank you for all the knowledge and experience that I gained in the internship at Echo Echo Dance Theatre. For everyone who wants to volunteer – I would highly recommend it.

We will keep in touch and all the best to the company.


“It was an absolute pleasure to host Lena through November and December and we were thrilled to have such an enthusiastic, supportive and capable team member at the busiest time of the year during our international Festival. We are delighted that you had a positive experience and there is an open invitation for you to return to Derry any time. From all of the Echo Echo team – thank you!” 

Ailbe Beirne, Company Manager

‘Cumulator 12’ performance this Saturday 10th December 10am-10pm

Previous edition of Cumulator with James King and artists

Saturday 10th December from 10.00am- 10.00pm, twelve artists* (including Shiro Masuyama Skyped from Belfast) will be performing at Echo Echo Dance Studios, Magazine Street, Derry. Some local supporters will be joining for part of the time.

The artists will, initially, initiate their own processes before becoming more integrated with each other. Actions will include visual imagery, sculptural use of materials, movement, voice and sound, in response to perceptions, sensations, thoughts, feelings, memories, associations, ideas, the space, each other and the audience.

Both of the Echo Echo Studios will be in use, and for part of the time, the City Walls outside. Please come along for even a short time. Your supportive witnessing will be very energising for the artists.

All welcome, admission free.

Every good wish,

James King


*The other artists are, Christoff Gillen, Jagoda Kiciak (Poland), Rachel Rankin, Hannah Woodside, Brian Patterson, Léann Herlihy, Philip Kavanagh, Jennifer Hanley, Teresa Mc Cormack and Oona Doherty


Thank you! #EchoEchoFest

As the dust settles on an outstanding fourth edition of Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement we would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who made the festival such a success this year.

Audiences, artists, funders, staff, volunteers, partners, hosts, suppliers – thank you all for everything that you contributed. A brilliant combined effort over an epic 16-day festival! So many highlights and new friendships and so many inspirational performances and experiences.

Scroll down for a full list of Festival thanks and here are a few images from the Festival beautifully captured by Living Witness Photography. Click here to view the full set of photo albums on Facebook.

Zoe Ramsey and Ayesha Mailey in Fractals by Kelly Quigley
Chico, Shoko & Ichi-go workshop with Donemana PS and St Patrick’s PS
Lewys Holt – Phrases


Oona Doherty’s Lazarus and The Birds of Paradise
Saltator Company – Near / Exist
Chico Katsube and Shoko Kashima – Improvisation
Chico, Shoko and Ichi-go – performance and workshop at Donemana PS
Short Works – Circul’R: David Phiphak and Berenice Dupuis
Short Works – My Johansson
Short Works – Nicola Cisternino
Short Works – Ryan O’Neill and Catherine Muckle in Courtship by Gary Rowntree
Short Works – Aoife Toner
Short Works – Sarah Herr and Meret Rufener
Short Works – Sabrina Gargano and Verena Schneider
Short Works – Collective B
Tonya Sheina in A Box
Dones (Women dancing everywhere) by Leilani Weis
Tipping Point by Ockham’s Razor

Echo Echo Festival thanks

Thank you: Kelly Quigley, Ayesha Mailey, Zoe Ramsey, Tonya Sheina, Esther Alleyne of Echo Echo Ensemble; Rosemary Lee, Roswitha Chesher, Rachel Shipp, Graeme Miller, Nicky Childs; Chico Katsube, Shoko Kashima, Ichi-go Miura; Oona Doherty; Lewys Holt; Giannis Karounis, Nicole Koimtzi of Saltator Dance Company; Collective B, Sonia Borkowicz, Elsa Mourlam, Izabela Soldaty, Vilte Svarplyte; Sarah Herr and Meret Rufener; Nicola Cisternino; Circul’R, David Phiphak, Berenice Dupuis; Sabrina Gargano and Verena Schneider; Aoife Toner; Gary Rowntree, Ryan O’Neill and Catherine Muckle; My Johansson; Richie Hughes; Mary Nunan, Monica Spencer; Leilani Weis, Alba Sagarra, Analía Puentes, Chechu García, Gloria José, Eva Yufre; Ockham’s Razor Company, Alex Harvey, Telma Pinto, Steve Ryan, Emily Nicholl, Nich Galzin, and Shaun Dawson, Callum Thomson, Alison King and Turtle Key Arts; Velvet Alibi, Anna Nolan, Rohan Armstrong, Kelly Quigley, Erin Quinn, Paul Fox, Neil Burns, Joseph Leighton, Curtis Cunningham, James Anderson, Meilana Gillard, Mark Bradley, Orla Gillchrist.

Thank you: Ciaran Harley and Richard Walsh at zoocreative; Simon Alleyne and Living Witness Productions; Conor McAuley; and to all of the photographers who contributed images to the Festival brochure.

Thank you: James King, Marie Manktelow, Carmel Mulrine, Bernadette Sheils, Declan Magee, Janie Doherty and many more local hosts and your families; Seamus Kennedy, Joan Nelson, Gerry and Lorraine McGoldrick, Shaun McCloskey.

Thank you: Steve Setterfield and staff at Foyle Arena; Mark Roberts and staff at The Playtrail; Blane O’Donnell and staff at Garden of Reflection, The Craft Village and Inner City Trust; St Columb’s Park House; teachers, staff and pupils at St Patrick’s PS Donemana and Donemana PS; Nadine Hegarty and Fireworks Dance; Brona Jackson; Matthew Jennings and Eileen McClory at Ulster University Magee Campus; Kelly-Ann Collins and Dance Resource Base in Belfast; Paul Johnson and Hazel Hodkins at Dance Ireland in Dublin; The Firkin Crane in Cork; and Galway Dance Project.

Thank you: Steve Batts, Barry Davis, Simme Wiesniewski, Ailbe Beirne, Anna Nolan, Ayesha Mailey, Kelly Quigley, Zoe Ramsey,  Tonya Sheina, Brian Fisher, Lena Weber, Olek Wojcik, Denis Bayushkin, Carlos Herrera, Caroline Beirne, Rory McCadden, Majella Biernat, Leeann Toland, Karen Cassidy, Nirdosh Pravas, Jay Campbell, Michael Kelly, Margo Harkin, Matt Jennings, Sinead Devine, Cath McBride and Paul Johnston.

Thank you: Gilly Campbell, Debbie Young and team at Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Stephen Gillespie, Ailish McDaid and team at Derry City & Strabane District Council; Junko Takekawa and the Japan Foundation; Tadhg O’Shea and Aoife O’Sullivan at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Gillian Goode and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Liam Cunningham and all involved in the Healing Day Fundraiser; the Fundit team at Business to Arts and all of the Fractals Fundit supporters; and all of the visiting company and artist sponsors, funders and supporters.

Thank you: Rachael Eastwood, The Central Bar, Guildhall Taphouse; James Deehan and City Cabs; Glenn Hinds; The Gate Bistro; Paul McCole and The Sandwich Co; Ian Curtis and Curtis Opticians.

Finally, thanks to you – our friends, families, colleagues, audiences and participants for your continued support and encouragement!

Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement will return in November 2017. We will keep you posted in the months ahead!



Echo Echo ‘Awakening the Walls’ with LUXe this Halloween weekend

Imaginarium at Ards Forest Park, Earagail Arts Festival

Over the last few years, Echo Echo has developed a very important creative partnership with LUXe. The Echo Echo Ensemble has taken part in a range of processional theatre and landscape theatre events produced by the Donegal based company led by Mark Hill and Mandy Blinco. From Halloween in Derry, to New Year’s Eve in Dublin, to Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong, and many other large-scale public events around Ireland at at Earagail Arts Festival, LUXe productions are consistently high quality and engaging for audiences of all ages.

“LUXe have tremendously enjoyed both the skill and approach of the Echo Echo team that they have joined with on a variety of projects. Initially dancing with our processional sculpture and physical performers in the Hong Kong Chinese New Year International Night Parades and then working together on site-specific Landscape Theatre events at dusk along the beaches and islands of the Donegal Coast. The improvisational skills of the company have helped LUXe build regular successful “Processions of Light” through Dublin city centre heralding in the New Year since 2012 and regularly complement our civic incursions across the country throughout the year. We find that the high creative and improvisational skill level at Echo Echo and the adaptive confidence of the team complements the free and professional approach of LUXe enabling the creation of great beauty in the public arena. We enjoy laying the ground, establishing images and outlining the path with the confidence that our performers have the individual strength and intuitive coordination to bring our world to life with movement and moments of magic.  

It is perhaps interesting to note that LUXe’s connection with Echo Echo was initially sparked by the involvement of our children (now grown) in their dance classes and has developed in the realisation, after working with a variety of over-choreographed dance groups internationally, that the gentle self empowered approach of the Echo Echo team truly complements our own generative approach when creating bespoke performance.” Mark Hill and Mandy Blinco

Imramh Na Gealaí (Journey of the Moon), Árainn Mhór, County Donegal 
Sound of Light Parade, Derry

Echo Echo will be performing with LUXe at Awakening the Walls – a series of performances and installations around the City Walls of Derry – this weekend from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th October through each evening.

See this 2-page programme produced by Derry City and Strabane District Council for full details on Awakening the Walls.

Thanks to LUXe and photographer Mark Loudon for the beautiful images.






Echo Echo and St Patrick’s PS, Dunamanagh – project feedback

Echo Echo has been working with St Patrick’s Primary School in Dunamanagh, County Tyrone over the last year on a range of dance and movement workshops and the school’s end of year performance.

Both Echo Echo and St Patrick’s PS are very pleased to have been supported by Give Inc Giving Circle through the first half of 2016 to help make this project happen.

Ayesha Mailey of Echo Echo said:

It is such a pleasure to work with the pupils of St Patrick’s PS again. Staff and pupils are enthusiastic and committed to an ongoing partnership. The Principal, Jacqueline Carlin, understands the value and importance of the work. She has witnessed the benefits translate into the classroom. We’re very grateful to have this funding provided by Give Inc Giving Circle to continue this work through 2016 especially when many projects are squeezed by lack of funds. I take great pleasure in watching the pupils develop and grow in their movement skills. An ongoing project like this gives the children a real opportunity to experience creativity in movement, make further developments and cement knowledge over a much longer period.”

All 37 pupils of the school participated in 20 weekly sessions and groups were split into three class/age groups. Feedback from all pupils was gathered in feedback forms designed by the senior school class. Here’s a small sample:


St Patrick’s School Principal, Jacqueline Carlin said:

“This is a very successful activity which links both music and dance. It provides a great vehicle for the children to showcase their creative and expressive talents to parents and the community. At the end of the school year in June we had a major performance of music and dance in which all of the children took part. The event was held in the local hall and very well attended by parents and other members of the community. In these times of austerity this role of creative development has increasingly fallen on schools and we are privileged to be able to fulfil this through the expertise, dynamism and commitment of our Echo Echo dance tutor, Ayesha Mailey.”


Echo Echo’s partnership with St Patrick’s PS continues in autumn 2016 with support of Derry City and Strabane District Council for a six week performance project with Donemana PS culminating in a joint performance.

In addition to this, both schools will participate in Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2016 when visiting Japanese artists Chico Katsube and Shoko Kashima will perform at Donemana PS as part of their programme of performances around the north west during the international festival in November 2016.




Fundraiser Thanks

I would just like to say a massive thank you to Liam Cunningham, Marilyn McLaughlin, Majella Biernat, Marie Manktelow and Carmel Mulrine for organizing the fund raiser for the Fractals crowd funding campaign.

It was a huge success, which is very much down to their hard work and generosity of spirit that they have in everything that they do. They created such a warm and inviting atmosphere for everyone who came through the doors that many people actually stayed longer than they were intending to.

I am humbled by their kindness and very privileged to have such wonderful friends.

A big thanks to the Literary Ladies for the lunchtime recitals – we hope we can do this again soon.

Also a huge thank you to Dermot McNabb for donating his time and acupuncture skills.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who came and supported the day. To everyone who read poetry, made food, took part in the healing and acupuncture sessions or bought an item from the New to You shop, it was greatly appreciated.

Kelly Quigley

Echo Echo Ensemble

Images from the Literary Ladies facebook page.

Echo Echo Review 2014-16

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company has produced a two-year review looking back at the company’s wide ranging activities from 2014-16.

You can read the Review online here:


With thanks to all of the contributors to this Review, especially the photographers for all of the beautiful images, and to zoocreative for another first class design project. For a full list of credits see page 27.

We would love to hear what you think – let us know in the comments below or send us a message on facebook or by email.

Best wishes

Ailbe Beirne, Company Manager

IN TALL GRASS – images and audience feedback

Echo Echo recently worked with director Alessandra Celesia on a new work commission titled In Tall Grass. Work-in-progress showings were presented at Echo Echo Studios last weekend.

Here are some images from the project, and a short selection of feedback comments received from very warm and appreciative audiences.

We hope to produce and tour In Tall Grass in 2017.


Breathtaking. I don’t usually get moved so easily but this performance really left me thinking.

The best show I have seen in a long time. Touching, funny, beautiful.


I thought it was absolutely enchanting, organic and intimate. Very grateful to have shared in these wonderful memories.

I thought the performance was absolutely incredible. If you judge a show by the emotions it makes you feel, this is the most amazing show ever because it made me laugh and cry and all the feelings in between.


That was the best thing you have ever done (so far).

I’m speechless but I’ll try. Stunning, honest, genuine. This was the most incredible performance. Echo Echo have taken it to another level. Inspiring.


Wow. You guys nearly had me in tears! One of the most touching pieces I have seen in a long time. Beautiful concept and connections between the story, music and dance. Truly inspired.

This has to be the best most emotional piece Echo Echo Ensemble have performed. I felt like I was there with you every moment.


Absolutely loved it! So honest, beautiful, real, from the heart and funny too. Was engrossed throughout and was  brought to tears at times – though smiling through them also.

Beautiful, brave work. Complex and emotive. I thoroughly enjoyed all the performance.


I loved everything about it. It was absolutely beautiful. I had to stop myself from contributing to the conversations during the show because I felt such  a part of it. It was one of the most connected pieces of theatre I’ve ever witnessed.


Extremely beautiful and moving. Made me think about how rich and vibrant everyone’s lives are. The unfathomable depths of all our souls. I felt glad to be alive. To be where I am and live on this earth with all the other people and things. The curtains opening to reveal the night. I’m glad it was raining.

Thanks to Alessandra Celesia, Steve Batts, Ayesha Mailey, Janie Doherty, Zoe Ramsey, Kelly Quigley, Tonya Sheina and Barry Davis.

Thanks to Living Witness for the images.

In Tall Grass was supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland. With thanks to the Tinderbox / ACNI Joint Sectoral Dramaturgy Project.





Celtronic Festival and Radio Foyle at Echo Echo Studios

Three fantastic collaborative events took place at Echo Echo Studios over the weekend as part of Celtronic 2016.

Electric Mainline and Ryan Vail at Echo Echo
Stephen McCauley presents Ryan Vail live in session at Echo Echo

First up was a live outside broadcast of BBC Radio Foyle’s weekly music show Electric Mainline with Stephen McCauley. Our downstairs area proved to be a perfect space for radio and the show featured live sessions and interviews with David Kitt, Ryan Vail, Phil Kieran, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Echo Echo Company Manager Ailbe Beirne, and Celtronic Festival Director Gareth Stewart.

You can listen back here:

Moving upstairs on Thursday evening, a packed house was treated to a stunning audio-visual performance by US synth producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith playing the Buchla Music Easel, with support from local producer and dj Vincent O’Callaghan.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith live at Celtronic / Echo Echo
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith live at Celtronic / Echo Echo

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, we had the next generation of music fans and movers for Celtronic Kids in association with Surestart and Echo Echo Ensemble Artists – a brilliant session of play, creative movement and disco dancing. Huge thanks to all of the team involved in preparing the space and making this event such a success.

Celtronic Kids at Echo Echo Studios
Celtronic Kids at Echo Echo Studios

The next live music event at Echo Echo Studios takes place this Saturday 9th July as part of Music City 2016 when we welcome Overhead, The Albatross and RSAG to play an early evening gig. All welcome. See link for further details:







Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2016 – Open Call now open

Images from Echo Echo Festival Open Call 2015 by Living Witness

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company is pleased to announce an open call for short works to be performed in the fourth edition of the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement in November 2016.

We are looking for short performances which will be part of a mixed programme on the evenings of 18th and 19th November 2016. We plan that the programme will be the same for both of these nights.

Echo Echo Festival will provide some travel expenses and accommodation for minimum three nights.

Proposed works should be not more than 15 minutes in length. We are happy to consider first performances, performances of work that has already been shown before, proposals for improvisation scores, projection/video work and other kinds of performance.

We don’t have any restriction on style or idiom but we are generally interested in work that is in some way consonant with, or an interesting challenge to, Echo Echo’s practice of poetic movement.

We are interested in proposals from artists with whom we already have a relationship and from artists new to Echo Echo. We like to approach all our invitees as colleagues with whom we may develop an ongoing creative relationship.

It may be possible for Echo Echo to offer a residency at our home studios to facilitate the making of new work or in developing previously performed work for the Open Call performance evenings. We can’t offer money but we can offer space and some technical/creative support. Sometimes we can help with accommodation by finding people to host artists in residence.

This is the fourth edition of Echo Echo’s international festival of dance and movement. In each previous year we have had a wonderful mix of work in our open call evenings. This has ranged from solos to sextets, from minimalist to highly theatrical, from improvisation scores to highly detailed set work, and from pieces of less than 5 minutes to pieces that have stretched our 15 minute limit a little. We are always open to the idea that artists whose work has been shown in the open call may be invited back to Echo Echo for longer residencies and/or to perform a full programme at a later festival.

We encourage you to send us the information on your proposal in the form that makes most sense to you. This could include biographical detail, written descriptions, working process, photographs, links to video recordings of work proposed and/or previous work (please don’t attach videos to email however small the file may be and if possible please send a link for streaming rather than for download). We feel that short “promo clips” of pieces are generally a very poor way to understand a piece of work so if you send a link to one of those please also consider sending a link to a video recording of the full piece as well. Please send as much material as you think is necessary to represent your proposal well, but do remember that we have limited time and we receive a very large number of them, so being realistically concise is very helpful for us.

For information on previous editions of the festival please visit our website and search in “projects”.

Please send us your proposal by email to  and also cc it to Closing date is 31st July 2016.

Echo Echo Festival is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council.


Open Call PDF