Maria Svensson joins Echo Echo Ensemble for The Cove tour

Maria Svensson (2)

“My name is Maria Svensson, I’m an independent dance artist currently with residence funded by the Arts Council and Kerry County Council in An Lab located in beautiful Dingle, county Kerry. The first time I went to Derry was in April 2015 and I remember joking to myself ‘Kerry to Derry in one day’, that’s a great title, what a crazy long journey for someone to do in just one day! I didn’t think I’d be doing that journey too often, because really, it’s a bit of a trek. I’m delighted to have the excuse to go to Derry as often as possible these days though. It’s really great once I’m up and the journey does get easier with time.

Since that time in April I’ve been in Derry to perform in the Dance and Movement Festival in 2015 and now recently rehearse, rework and perform The Cove together with Steve Batts and everyone in the ensemble.

Ever since I got to know Echo Echo and their work, I knew I wanted to do what they were doing. Their way of working really appeals to me and I was delighted, of course, when asked to take part in The Cove. It was pretty daunting at first but I decided to take one day at a time. I got to visit the real cove near Shroove in County Donegal which was really helpful, I was then introduced to all the wonderful pieces in the installation that makes the piece so special.

Since January of this year we have performed already in three different places, altogether six performances and we have five more to go. It feels like the most natural thing and I’m really enjoying exploring Ireland, getting to know different venues and places and getting to know the people in the company more too.

It is really such an exciting thing to be part of and a pleasure to have this opportunity to perform the piece so many times and each time explore and evolve with it. I can’t wait for us to perform in my neck of the woods. I have a long and close relationship with Limerick so I’m delighted we’re going there (1st of April). Not quite Kerry but tis not as far as going to Tipperary (where we will be on the 31st of this month).”

Maria in her solo work The Importance of Shepherds
Maria Svensson in her solo work The Importance of Shepherds

About Maria Svensson

Maria Svensson is originally from Sweden, she has worked as an independent dance artist for a number of years and with companies such as Being Small Dance (UK), Daghdha Mentoring Program (IE) and Dans i Värmland (SE). She recently started her own company Rooted Being and was dance artist in residence with Kerry County Council 2014-2015. She has worked in collaboration with Echo Echo in various capacities since April 2015 when she first undertook a residency at their studios in Derry. Later that year she presented her solo The Importance of Shepherds as part of the Echo Echo International Festival. In 2015 and 2016 members of the Echo Echo Ensemble also presented solo work at the Going Solo Festival in Sweden of which Maria is the curator.

Maria is currently performing in The Cove which is showing at The Source Arts Centre, Thurles on Friday 31st March; Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick on Saturday 1st April; and Project Arts Centre, Dublin on Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th April.








The Cove – audience artwork and feedback

A big thanks to everyone who attended the final northern performance of The Cove last Saturday afternoon at Echo Echo Studios. Beautiful feedback received from an audience of all ages including students from Oakgrove College and First Act Youth Drama, and regular participants from Echo Echo’s Body Wisdom, Kids Classes, and Making Moves groups.

Here is a short selection of feedback received on Saturday including this colourful alternative Cove artwork by some of our younger audience members!


“Wonderful movement, very relaxing and stimulating.”

“A performance well worth attending. Beautiful to watch. Captivating.”

“It felt very relaxing. It reminded me of the sea and Malin Head.”

“Wonderfully strong dancers. Transported to the sea.”

“Amazing. Fast paced and interesting. Very atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful music.”

“Mesmerising. Deeply moving.”

“Beautiful movement. An awakening of the senses.”

The Cove all-island tour continues to The Source Arts Centre, Thurles this Friday 31st March and to Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick this Saturday 1st April. The tour finishes at Project Arts Centre, Dublin from Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th April. Limited seating capacity for all shows due to the in-the-round staging.

For booking details see links above or visit




Antonina Sheina “exudes a quiet but irresistible magnetism” in The Cove


Antonina Sheina (centre) with Echo Echo Ensemble in The Cove

Antonina plays a central role in The Cove as the woman who travels through Dan Shipsides’ acclaimed set installation. Antonina reflects on being part of this long-term collaborative production:

“To be able to work on the Cove three times during last six years is an incredible experience. It’s like you visiting a place you know very well, but it’s never the same, and you are never the same. It makes me look at life in a bigger perspective, to feel how loud the immediate experience is, and that it’s constantly disappearing. Reminds me about mortality, that life and death is actually one thing and you just walk on the edge hoping no to slip too soon. Trying not to chase the time but rather letting it to go through, gives me time to see what is around me before it’s gone.”

Jane Coyle writes recently for Culture NI about Antonina’s performance in The Cove:

“When Antonina Sheina’s Woman awakes and joins them in their mysterious odyssey, the touch paper is lit under the performance. Sheina is a classically trained actor from Russia and exudes a quiet but irresistible magnetism. Inspired by the fearless instincts of her companions, she too spreads her wings, looks up into the sky and, with the sun warm on her face, becomes a part of their community, sharing the joy and determination of attaining the lofty plateau upon which they can relax and revel.”

The Cove is showing in Derry this Saturday 25th March and Thurles on 31st March, and in Limerick and Dublin in the first week of April. Full tour and booking details at

Antonina Sheina - image by Barry Davis

About Antonina Sheina

Antonina Sheina originally studied acting in at the Russian University of Theatre Arts in Moscow. She then worked in the Moscow Malaya Bronnaya Repertoire Theatre for four years until 2011 when she moved to Ireland and joined Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company where she now regularly performs, teaches and directs work.

Tonya has been part of Echo Echo Ensemble since 2011 devising and performing in a wide variety of artistic projects including Feel of Play (2012), Without (2013), Open House (2013), Ludo Lusi Lusum (2014), creating/directing children’s dance theatre piece Lost in Frost (2015), and Walk By (2016), among many other production and participative projects by the company.

Tonya has worked on several collaborative projects with local and visiting companies and artists including Ulster University’s Old Ground (2014), Spazio Seme’s Cimosa (2015) and Maria Svensson’s solo The Importance of Shepherds (2015) to name but a few. Tonya also performs regularly with LUXe processional and landscape theatre company.


Thanks to Sarah Bryden and Barry Davis for images.



Esther Alleyne reflects on The Cove

Esther Alleyne in The Cove.jpg
Esther Alleyne in The Cove

In the first of a short series of blogs featuring artists involved in Echo Echo’s production of The Cove, currently on an all Ireland tour, we asked Esther Alleyne to tell us about her experience of the project:

I have been working on The Cove since the initial pilot project Vertical Nature Base six years ago and it has been wonderful to see how The Cove and has evolved and developed into the piece we are now performing. The Cove has allowed me to engage with the landscape around me in different way and changed my view of how I interact with the outdoors. It has been wonderful to perform a piece so many times and a rare opportunity to continue to work on a piece over so many years and watch how both the piece and my own dance practice have developed. I hope we are still performing it in another 6 years!

The Cove is showing in Derry and Thurles later this month, and in Limerick and Dublin in the first week of April. Full tour and booking details at

About Esther Alleyne

Esther Alleyne is a Dance Artist based in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.  After graduating from Ulster University Magee with a first class honours degree in Dance in 2011 she was awarded a year long graduate apprenticeship with Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company.

Esther has worked with the company for over five years and performed in Echo Echo productions such as Vertical Nature Base (2011), The Cove (2012), Ludo Lusi Lusum (2014-15) a dance theatre piece aimed at young audiences, and most recently Lost in Frost (2016). Esther played a central role as Production Coordinator for Without by Rosemary Lee and Echo Echo, one of the major dance projects of City of Culture 2013 involving over 500 people.

Esther also teaches a range of classes for all ages and abilities, and choreographs her own work including being commissioned to create a short work in collaboration with colleague Janie Doherty for Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2013. She was recently awarded an Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council NI and used it to research a solo dance project.

Esther also works for a number of other arts companies including being a stage manager for Young at Art, working with other local and international choreographers, and as performer for large-scale outdoor theatre company LUXe – including national and international projects, and most recently at the Clipper Festival 2016 on LUXe’s large-scale Voyage of Sunniva performance on the River Foyle.


Thanks to Erin Shanks, Sarah Bryden, and Simon Alleyne for images.




The Cove – review in Culture NI

Read Jane Coyle’s review of The Cove at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast last weekend:

The second half of The Cove all-island tour begins in Derry on Saturday 25th March with a matinee performance for all ages at Echo Echo Studios.

The Cove then visits Source Arts Centre, Thurles on 31st March, Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick on 1st April, and Project Arts Centre, Dublin on 6th/7th/8th April.

The Cove 2017 tour flyer front
The Cove 2017 tour flyer reverse



The Cove tour 2017 – audience feedback so far

The Cove – set installation created by Dan Shipsides

We’ve had a wonderful audience response to The Cove performances at Echo Echo Studios, Derry and Black Box Theatre, Galway:

“Brilliant! I felt in the middle of the experience that I could feel the waves and the wind.”

“A very intelligent concept executed by some skilled dancers where lighting and smart music/sound design gave further dimensionality to the piece.”

“Intriguing and engaging performance. Captured the sense of a rocky cove really well.”

“Wonderful – set design and choreography were first rate. Incredible performers – so professional.”

“Very beautiful and eloquent.”

“Awesome, a great way to spend an evening.”

“Mesmerising! Felt familiar being by the sea. Really enjoyed!”

“Wonderful – expressive – real. Interestingly relaxing though, with immense energy!”

“Amazing – elemental sea goddesses – what a performance!”

Huge thanks to all of our audiences for their feedback and to the touring venue staff for their support.

The Cove visits the beautifully rebuilt Lyric Theatre, Belfast this weekend on Friday 3rd at 8pm, Saturday 4th at 8pm and Sunday 5th 2pm matinee.

The tour continues with a Derry matinee  on Saturday 25th March, and visiting The Source in Thurles, Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick, and Project Arts Centre in Dublin later in March and April.

Tickets for all shows available now at the links above.

With thanks to Barry Davis and Sarah Bryden for the images.

The Cove tour 2017 is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Touring and Dissemination of Work Scheme.