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




WALK BY – Images and audience feedback


The first performances of Walk By took place last weekend at Echo Echo Studios.

Big thanks to everyone involved and especially to all of the performers from Body Wisdom, Echo Echo Ensemble and participants in Echo Echo Kids Classes (and their parents too).

We received some wonderful feedback from audiences. Here is a short selection:

“Enjoyed contact improvisation most – the combination of old, young, amateur and professionals. The stillness and anticipation of the next movement”

“Enjoyed the cross section of diverse performers and personal expression styles allowed within the piece; music was a nice platform indeed“

“Beautiful precision and recreational work; some magic moments; All ensemble fully engaged and skillful; powerful build-up of intensity with music”

“Beautiful and Organic – Loved watching”

“A Walk, A Dream, A Reality”


“Fascinating, thought provoking, energising”

“Poetic, Dreamlike, moving, funny, entertaining, puzzling, great!”

“The fact that non-professional dancers performed with the ensemble. It was a constant feeling of care through-out that people gave of themselves in this way! Loved the children, adored the music”

“Amazing. Really enjoyed it. Very Moving. Peaceful”


“I really enjoyed today’s performance. I didn’t know what to expect, but could relate to certain things within it”

“Amazing. So much energy and creativity”

“Extraordinary and Creative”

“It was lovely performance and both groups really complimented each other lovely”

“Beauty of the movement. The intergenerational aspect to the piece seeing development of Body Wisdom – wow! Can’t believe how far they have come”


Thanks to Living Witness Productions for the beautiful images.

Walk By – an introduction from Steve Batts

body wisdom portraits 093

Walk By

Walk By is the first time that Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company has created a full length performance which includes the Body Wisdom group, participants from our Children’s Classes and dancers from the Echo Echo Ensemble. The piece is truly made from our hearts.

Walk By is a rehearsed improvisation. This might sound a bit paradoxical but every live performance has some element of newness, creation, interpretation in the “live moment” and every performance has something decided beforehand even if it is just the time, location and the people involved.

Walk By is guided, much like an orchestral music performance, by a score; a set of instructions. In our case the score is used a bit more like the chord progressions and original melody are used by jazz musicians when they play “standards”.

In Walk By the score is made up of elements that suggest particular kinds of actions, like walking for example, and of instructions that ask the performers to pay attention to different memories, ideas and relationships with each other, as the performance progresses. There are no instructions in the score about what precise moves or shapes the performers should make. All of the detail is left up to the intuitive decisions of the performers.

In Walk By the performers do a poetic version of the already magical thing that we all do in our daily lives: Making it up, together and separately, as we go along, within frameworks and guidelines created by history, ethical values and aesthetic taste.

The music for Walk By is called Drive By. It is a recording of an hour-long improvisation by The Necks, an Australian band of three master improvisers whose concert in St Columb’s Hall, Derry in 2014 was an inspiration. It gives me an amused pleasure to think that a recording of an improvisation has become the only really fixed part of Walk By.

The lights for Walk By are, of course, fixed in their positions and directions but the choices about the intensity, blending and colour of the light are made by our lighting designer Barry Davis as the performance is created.

Walk By is a sort of meditation on the “poetics of the ordinary”. It has grown from an interest in the way that the smallest elements of the human world around us frequently arouse deep feelings and perhaps powerful responses, even though these feelings and responses often remain restrained and undramatic.

Walk By begins very quietly and takes it’s time to find its way. We aren’t in a rush and we invite you to join us in slowing down and paying attention to the small and touching details of the world as we pass through it and it passes by us.

Part of our creation process was to notice small incidents that we saw in the street which moved us in some mysterious way. We have printed out some of these shortest of short stories for you to read before the performance begins.

I hope you enjoy the performance. It lasts one hour.

Steve Batts

Artistic Director

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company


Image by Sarah Bryden Photography