Czech tour for new work by My Johansson created during Echo Echo residency

Now At Once_1_My Johansson_Barry Davis

Echo Echo is very pleased to announce that new work by recent Echo Echo Studios artist-in-residence My Johansson will tour to theatre venues and festivals in the Czech Republic during September 2018.

My, who is based in London, worked in collaboration with Echo Echo Technical Manager Barry Davis during an intensive four-week residency in Derry in January-February 2018 that culminated in the premiere performances of new work Now At Once.

My will show this piece alongside some of her other work and all the team at Echo Echo wish her the very best! We hope some of our friends and colleagues in the region can attend.


13th September 20.00 Nor I at Sauna NUUK, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

14th September 20.00 Nor I at Cross Attic, Prague, Czech Republic

15th September Kvílení by Petr Dlouhy at Riot over River, Prague, Czech Republic

17th September 20.00 Now At Once at Moving station, Festival Divadlo, Pilsen, Czech Republic–a1836

Further Information

About My Johansson:

About Echo Echo Studios Residency Programme:




Echo Echo Festival Workshop Tour and Bursary Scheme announced

Steve Batts – image by Patrick Duddy

Ahead of next month’s launch of Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement that will take place in November, Echo Echo Dance is today announcing a new programme to connect with artists, audiences and venues around the island of Ireland.

The All-Island Festival Outreach tour will visit Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Galway and Carrick-on-Shannon during the first half of September. Led by Echo Echo Artistic Director Steve Batts and Associate Artistic Director Ayesha Mailey, a participative workshop programme in partnership with some of the country’s key dance venues will give an insight into the company’s unique movement practice and highlight ways for artists working in all disciplines to take part in the sixth edition of the international dance festival in Derry in November.

Company Manager, Ailbe Beirne, explained:

“This is the third year we will produce the all-island workshop programme and so far it has been a brilliant way to help us get the message out about what we do and how we can support artists to be part of Echo Echo Festival. We are inviting participants to apply for at least four bursaries that we have secured thanks to funding from the Irish government. The bursary scheme has been really successful so far in terms of making new connections and bringing more visitors to the city and into Echo Echo Studios.”

Festival Workshop with Benno Voorham (2017)

Dublin based dance artist Aliina Lindroos who participated in the 2017 programme said:

I loved the wholesome and caring feeling of the whole festival. I appreciated the inclusivity; it is actually a quite rare thing. I also loved the fact we got to work and learn with artists whose performances we saw. It made both the performances and the classes more meaningful and resourceful.

Cork based dance artist Chloé de-Buyl-Pisco who took part in the programme in 2016 said:

“Many many thanks for your overall innovative approaches to spreading dance across Ireland, and coming directly to us as professional practitioners throughout Ireland, with your workshop / info tour. Very innovative and effective.”

Echo Echo Festival All-Island Tour and Bursary Scheme is supported by the ‘Co-operation with Northern Ireland’ funding scheme administered by the Department of Culture Heritage and Gaeltacht in Ireland. The scheme aims to promote North-South tourism, co-operation and joint initiatives in the cultural sector.

Programme 2018

With special thanks to all of the partner venues and staff for their support.

For more information visit:

Antonina Sheina and Anjelika Doniy reflections on Echo Echo CI Festival

Tonya Sheina at Echo Echo Contact Festival - image by Patrick Duddy
Tonya Sheina at Echo Echo Contact Festival – image by Patrick Duddy

The festival is finished but I can still feel the echo of it. The theme of it was dancing….dancing as simple as that. We propose in Echo Echo that people are naturally poetic in movement. Dancing – it’s people moving with poetic intent. That short statement has long history and practice that Steve Batts and Ursula Laeubli had been developing before establishing Echo Echo.

During the festival Steve performed his new solo piece How To Watch Dancing (Looking Away From The Naked Emperor) that I felt was like a breakthrough and a light in understanding about dancing, its place in art and culture. It was transforming, touching, funny and overwhelming to watch.

For the Festival we had about 40 people joining in. For Contact Improvisation Festival it’s not very big but the quality of dancing at the Jams and classes was very beautiful. I have big gratitude to very experienced and magical teachers of two intensives Anjelica Doniy and Steve Batts. They activated the organic compositional sense in movement and the Jams were the places where it was fully shown.

Big thank you to the teachers who taught the classes and supported the space outside and inside the Jams: Virginia Negru, Xenia Isaeva, Yaeli Margalit, Ayesha Mailey, Kelly Quigley, Zoe Ramsey.

Special thank you to my friend and colleague Zoe Ramsey – we made this festival together and without her enthusiasm, energy and support it just wouldn’t happen. We had a really good starting point: we had two beautiful studios (which is already a big thing) and support of Echo Echo team (which is even bigger).

Thanks to Patrick Duddy who made photographs on one of the days and Olek Wójcik who was helping through out the week and was making videos of the process.

Thanks to Saint Columb’s Park House that provided accommodation and Kerri and Mark at Cow Bog that provided food. Massive thank you to all participants who made it happen and I believe they really enjoyed it. And last thing I don’t know whom to thank for the beautiful weather we had during the festival, but that was just perfect!

Anjelica Doniy wrote a very touching feedback about festival, so I translated it from Russian:

The Festival days are finished in Northern Ireland. It became clear only at the end, why it is not like any other festivals. It was imbued with ideas and philosophy and was in the field of Echo Echo Dance Company that grew out of passion and dancily clever organism of Steve Batts.


I have been touched for 17 years and imbued with our friendship with Steve and synchronized with his philosophical concepts about dance, poetry of movement and just honest behavior towards life. We led intensives on different floors and were meeting each other at the Jams. At the Jams we met, our students and the dance. Intensity, awareness, poetry. So I would call them.


And the stories. Solo, duet, trio, group. Turning into the performance, the dance behaved unpredictably and everything was watching that dance…


I like when the quality of attention(watching) is not inferior to the quality of the movement (dance). In the middle of the festival like a thunderstorm with lightning bolt performance of Steve Batts. How To Watch Dancing Looking Away From The Naked Emperor. I’ve never seen a more relevant introduction to CI at the festival a poetically passionate instruction not to lose dance in illusions about dancing. Challange in search of Holy Grail. To open, catch, dig out the dance from the technique, sleepy relationships, ego expectations, imitations and self-deception. And this is like lightning, awakening of consciousness, a strong shock for the entire value system and a challenge to the priorities of the individual. And if this is not always important at many festivals and CI meetings –  this festival is about this. That’s why it’s so beautiful, special. And dear to me.


The organizers of this miracle were Antonina Sheina and Zoe Ramsey. The platform provided by Echo Echo. And these are the people. The same Steve, Antonina, Zoe, Ayesha, Kelly. Teachers, guides in movement. Ailbe Beirne, Barry Davis, Anna Nolan – sound, lighting, development of ideas and projects. Antonina, Soul! Thank you for your clear presence. You supported Steve, me, two daughters, the festival and you participated in everything so totally, as only true love can do. I wish to this festival peace in the country, peace in our hearts and world appreciation.”

Anjelika Doniy intensive at Echo Echo CI Festival - image by Patrick DuddyXT2B3648Virginia Negru class at Echo Echo CI Festival - image by Patrick DuddyEcho Echo CI Festival 2018XT2B3726XT2B3787XT2B3399XT2B3507XT2B3833XT2B3886XT2B3897

Echo Echo Festival Open Call accepting proposals!


Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement will return for a sixth edition in November 2018.

We are delighted to announce that Echo Echo Festival Open Call is now accepting proposals! The closing date is Friday 29th June 2018.

For further information on how to apply please visit:…/echo-echo-festival-open-call

The Open Call programme has been a highlight of Echo Echo Festival over the last few years with over 400 applicants and 37 short works programmed.

Past Echo Echo Festival Open Call Artists from 2014-17 include:

Nasrine Kheltent; Inna Aslamova; Hilde Ingeborg Sandvold; Anastasia Brouzioti and Yiannis Tsigkris of Alma Libre; Lior Lazarof, Timea Laza and Sharon Barbakov; Bjorn Richter of RichterMeyerMarx; Hannah Rogerson and Pieter Visser of Tea Time Company; Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín and Isabella Oberlander; 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, Catherine Muckle; My Johansson; Erin O’Reilly, Sophie Ammann and Roseanne Briens of Junebug Company; Rachel Sheil; Jusztina Hermann and Robert Peoples of Delighters; Yukiko Masui; Jann Gallois; Mel Bradley and Zoe Ramsey; Helga Deasy; Nastasja Stefanic and company; Sorcha Shanahan; Alba Lorca; Alessandro Sollima; Jessica Peoples and ZoNa Dance Company; Maria Papathanasiou; Ronan Kearney; Claire Bonnie; Argyro Tsampazi; Lily Akerman; Oona Doherty; Sara Campinoti; Sibéal Davitt and Olwyn Lyons; Valeria Famularo; Carie Logue and NWRC Dance.

With thanks to all of the past Festival Open Call artists and their colleagues, collaborators and supporters!

Selection of images from past Open Call / Short Works programmes





Images by Living Witness Photography 


Echo Echo Festival shortlisted for national award!

We’re delighted that Echo Echo has been recognised in the shortlist for the annual #Emcees Awards for Excellence in Fundraising alongside some very well known arts organisations!

Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement has been shortlisted in the Best Campaign Under £100k category for its campaign to produce a fifth edition of the international festival in an increasingly challenging funding environment for many arts organisations and artists working in the province.

Featuring the work of over 50 artists from near and far across 30 events, the 2017 edition of the festival was supported by such a wide variety of funding partners including Arts Council NI, The National Lottery, and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Local supporters last year included Cultúrlann Uí Chánain, City Cabs, the Sandwich Company, Bennigans and zoocreative.

National support came from the Irish Department of Culture, Dance Ireland, Dance Resource Base Belfast, An Lab Dingle, Firkin Crane Cork, The Dock Carrick-on-Shannon and Galway Dance Project – who supported an ambitious all-island artist bursary programme.

Trusts and foundation festival supporters in 2017 included the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Esmé Mitchell Trust and the Foyle Foundation who have recognised the value of the work, particularly in reaching out to new audiences in primary and secondary schools around the northwest.

Other elements of the Echo Echo Festival fundraising mix came from new and existing audiences, participants, volunteers and supporters through Festival passes and ticket sales, and some very kind charitable donations.

Huge thanks again to everyone involved in the Festival in 2017 and we now look forward to a sixth edition of the Festival in November 2018.

You can view the full #Emcees Awards shortlist here. Winners will be announced on 1st May.


Images from Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2017


Echo Echo Festival 2017 – what they said…

“I most certainly will return to Echo Echo in the future. It is such a unique event in the dance world – I can’t think of another place that is so inclusive, and takes such care in how it communicates its vision of dance.” Artist Feedback

“I loved the wholesome and caring feeling of the whole festival. I appreciated the inclusivity, it is actually a quite rare thing. I also loved the fact we got to work and learn with artists whose performances we saw. It made both the performances and the classes more meaningful and resourceful.” Artist Bursary Programme Feedback

“Thanks for today. It was a wonderful experience this morning. The way the performers adapted to the spontaneous participation of some of our pupils was truly magical. I wish we had it videoed. A young man with severe learning difficulties said to me during the show, ‘This is amazing’.” Principal, Ardnashee School

“Amazing. Great performances from all around the world in bite-size pieces. As always exceptional. You would get it nowhere else in the North West.” Audience feedback on Short Works

“Lovely! First time ever watching something like this. The kids loved it, the dancing and singing and music were all fantastic! Not a peep!” Audience feedback on Mini-a-Tour

“A jewel! A Masterpiece! All literature, art, poetry…..danced! So beautiful, tender, magnificent, I don’t think I have ever seen anything so good!” Audience feedback on Voices/Echo Echo


New projects for 2018/19 at Echo Echo Studios

CI festival Bucharest 2
Contact Festival Bucharest – image by Alina Usurelu

Echo Echo begins a new term this weekend with huge uncertainty hanging over the arts sector again this year due to continued funding cutbacks. Despite this ongoing additional pressure, the confirmed programme of work planned by Echo Echo for the year ahead is one of our busiest ever.

Company artists have already worked in Germany, Sweden, Finland and Ukraine this year and further international projects by Steve Batts in Holland at the Lorentz Institute and Contact Bucharest Festival in Romania in June will be followed by Echo Echo Ensemble Artists touring in Sweden in September.

Kelly Quigley, Ayeha Mailey and Esther Alleyne in The Cove
Kelly Quigley, Ayeha Mailey and Esther Alleyne in The Cove

International guests from all around Europe will arrive in the city for the first Echo Echo Contact Improvisation Festival in Derry in May; and for the sixth international Festival of Dance and Movement in November – the Festival has already shown work of over 200 artists from home and abroad. A fifth Festival Open Call will open for entries soon after receiving over 400 applications from around the world to date!


Nationally, Echo Echo ensemble artists continue to connect their work and the company to artists all around Ireland – Ayesha Mailey’s ACES project at Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast through 2018, a Contact Workshop tour of Ireland with Zoe Ramsey and Tonya Sheina next week, acclaimed clown Joe Dieffenbacher working with local artists later in April, the third Festival Artist Bursary programme in November, and an all-Ireland tour of the winter-themed production for younger audiences Lost in Frost in December. Echo Echo is collaborating with Warwick University, Queen’s University, Big Telly Theatre and Bbeyond Belfast on the TIME project which will be shown in early 2019.

Kelly Quigley in LOST IN FROST. Image by Living Witness.
Kelly Quigley in LOST IN FROST – image by Living Witness

Locally, the company will continue working in partnership with fantastic groups at Tuned In Project, Strabane Community Project, Praxis Care, Cedar Foundation, Causeway and Glens Council, and Claudy-Comber PS (to name but a very few) on a series of participation and performance projects over the coming year. An ongoing programme of artist residencies and music events are hosted at Echo Echo Studios on a regular basis by local and visiting artists and musicians.

LAVA-Dansproduktion workshop at Echo Echo Festival - image by Living Witness
LAVA-Dansproduktion workshop at Echo Echo Festival – image by Living Witness

Interested in finding out more or getting involved? Have a look at our website listings for new term information with a range of upcoming classes and events for all ages and abilities.

Five years in Waterloo House!


It’s incredible that Echo Echo moved into its new premises in Magazine Street five years ago this weekend!

March 2013 was in the first quarter of City of Culture year and our new studios project was both the culmination of years of development work, planning and fundraising; and the beginning of a new period in the company’s long history. Finally a space to call home after two decades!

Waterloo House was in poor condition after lying empty for a few years, and Echo Echo’s refurbishment project breathed new life into this wonderful old construction built into the fabric of the City Walls – one of only four buildings in the city with direct access to the historic monument.

This project is a perfect example of the potential of arts led regeneration – the whole Waterloo Street / Magazine Street conservation area has benefited from the much improved visual impact and increased footfall; more local, national and international visitors for projects like Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement; and new neighbours and businesses like The Scullery Cafe, Brickwork restuarant and lounge, and In Your Space Circus.

Five years on and it has not been easy to sustain the charity, our building project remains to be signed off despite our best efforts, and the lowest arts funding budget in these islands has been cut in five successive years.

Echo Echo has done brilliantly to survive this period despite many challenges. We’ve been supported by so many local people and partners through their regular attendance and advocacy, and by our core funders Arts Council NI and Derry City and Strabane District Council as well as the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and a long list of other partners and supporters. And a big thanks again to all of our capital funders and the individuals involved.

Here are a few photos to remind you of the transformation over the last 5 and half years!







“This has been an amazing project to be part of”


Echo Echo recently completed a wonderful dance project in partnership with the two Donemana primary schools: St Patrick’s PS and Donemana PS.

Echo Echo Associate Artistic Director, Ayesha Mailey, developed and produced the programme along with Echo Echo ensemble artist Zoe Ramsey and Ronan McKee from Play Percussion.

The artist-teachers worked with the pupils from both primary schools over a 16 week programme from September to February. The children learned new dance and movement skills and African ‘djembe’ drumming leading to a closing performance for family members at Echo Echo Studios!

We asked the teachers involved to give us some feedback on their project highlights:

“A few of my class were very quiet and nervous about the project at first. They now relish the weekly lessons and are performing with gusto! Thank you!”


“This has been an amazing project to be part of. The development in good relations and community spirit has been very evident – I would love to see it continue!”


“This is an invaluable part of our school curriculum which is increasingly difficult to deliver in austere times. Echo Echo has provided a safe learning environment where pupils could freely express through dance.”


“The children have grown in confidence and enthusiasm for the arts. All children mixed freely and have reclaimed friendships forged at playgroup before they entered their separate schools. Continue to provide opportunities of this nature please!”


Performance (4)Performance (13)

All of the pupils from the two schools involved had a chance to reflect on the project last week and gave us some feedback comments.

We asked the children what they enjoyed about the project. Making new friends was the top answer! In addition they told us:

“I enjoyed standing out from the crowd.”


“I enjoyed learning new dances and having fun. I really really enjoyed performing in front of everyone. It was a great experience.”


“I enjoyed the breathing exercises and getting ready for the performance.”


“I enjoyed most performing at Echo Echo, the theatre was amazing, all the lights and curtains.”


“I enjoyed everyone teaching me to have enough courage to show everyone my dancing skills, meeting other children and making new friends.”


It was great to have so many parents and family members at Echo Echo Studios for the closing performance! We collected a few comments from them too:

“It was wonderful to watch.”


“It was excellent. Very well organised and the children performed brilliantly.”


“Boys and girls were super. Just fantastic. I really enjoyed seeing my child shine.”

Performance (9)Performance (11)

Big thanks to Derry and Strabane District Council for funding this project through the 2017/18 Good Relations programme. Thanks to Pauline O’Neill at Council and to Arts Officer John Kerr for joining us at the performance event. Thanks also to a generous gift from Give Inc Giving Circle which helped make the project possible, and to Arts Council NI – Echo Echo’s principal funder.

Finally, a very big thank you to all the pupils, teachers, parents, artists and staff involved!


Echo Echo regularly works with schools on a wide range of dance/movement participation and performance programmes. If your school is interested in finding out more please contact us.





New work in progress by Gemma Walker and Tonya Sheina


We’re delighted to welcome Gemma Walker back to Echo Echo Studios to begin development of a new project after an artistic research residency during 2017 and two fantastic Makeyuppers performances in the Studios last December.

Gemma will be working with Tonya Sheina of Echo Echo Ensemble to develop a new production from their research collaboration last year:

In May of last year Tonya and I were able to work together for 3 weeks exploring movement with text thanks to Individual Artists funding through Arts Council NI. We unearthed some very interesting material through this process and so have continued developing a new piece of work. What I love about it is that it is about many things and nothing in particular. It is about our relationship with fear and how it is an ‘ancient and otherworldly’ feeling. It is about memory and imagination. It is partly autobiographical and deeply personal but also universal. It is about the ghosts we carry with us and how we can sometimes be ghosts in our own lives.

The other day we mapped out all of the material and now have a first draft of a script! It’s starting to feel like a real show and we cannot wait to share it later this year.

Keep an eye on the Echo Echo website for performance details coming soon…

If you are interested in the Residency Programme at Echo Echo Studios please get in touch by email.




Invitation to NOW AT ONCE at Echo Echo Studios

Now At Once e-invite

Dearest you,

You are warmly invited to the premiere of my new piece

Now At Once

23rd and 24th of February 2018 at 20.00

at Echo Echo Studios, Hangmans Bastion, Magazine street, Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Now At Once is about letting the body speak, the perishability of movement, about the urgency to move and the fluidity that is there once the noise is filtered through. It’s about everyday decisions and the larger ones which help form our path. It’s about speaking through the noise and deeply listening to the silence. The perishability of the daily encounters that influence our decisions and the speaking in, of and with silence, filtering through the noise and letting the body be heard, silently, without words, perishable- now at once.

Now At Once is a collaboration with sound and light designer Barry Davis. Produced and supported by Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company.

It would be lovely to see you, should you have the time and feel like seeing something!

Warmest wishes,

My Johansson



For further information on Echo Echo’s Residency Programme – click here.

Echo Echo is supported by Arts Council NI and Derry City and Strabane District Council.