The Last Witch Burned in Ireland…

“A two minute excerpt from a spoken word piece called ‘Bridget’s Curse’, in which Bridget wanders the graveyard – as she has done each night for over 120 years – waiting for her loved ones to turn up to her funeral. Relates to the burning of Bridget Cleary, aka ‘The Last Witch Burned in Ireland’ in 1895.”

LEGENDS OF THE COVEN by Abby Oliveira will be showing as part of a special theatre double bill for Derry Halloween at Echo Echo Studios this weekend.



Ghosts and Coven 2018 FINAL_web




Short Works programme announcement!


The evening of Short Works at Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement is always a special event in the festival programme. The auditorium is always full. The opportunity to see eight works from different artists in one evening stimulates debate and conversation. The fact that the performers also join the audience to watch each other’s work gives the event the feeling of a creative exchange between artists themselves and the audience members. The warmth of the atmosphere is always remarked on by participating artists and audience members.

The short works programme is selected from an open call which Echo Echo puts out in spring each year. As our festival has become better known and more respected nationally and internationally the numbers proposing performances has grown. In the first year we had 14 proposals and in the second around 30. This year in 2018 we had well over 200. In the past four years I have watched videos of over 600 short works. What a privilege (a time consuming and demanding one) this has been! Of course I haven’t liked everything I’ve seen or thought everything was good work but the overwhelming experience has been one of feeling the immense good-will and honest heart that dancers and choreographers generally put into their creative practice. This year we will welcome artists and companies from all over the world.

At 8pm on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th November at Echo Echo Studios Ferenc Feher from Budapest brings a darkly atmospheric and mysterious duet The Station; Palestinian, Sahar Damoni performs Pirg’in, which suspends between meditative calm and thematic tensions to do with being an Arab woman dance artist living in Israel; Wei-An Hwa from Malaysia performs a beautifully phrased exploration of the art of falling; Julianne Chappel and Maxine Chadburn perform a humorous duet where the removal of all dance affectation has the surprising effect of re-inventing dance; Rikilikemagic (Rachel Sheil) from Limerick brings a chunk of her passion for hip hop and k-pop; Susan Koper comes all the way from Indiana in the USA to present her intense, personal and wonderfully visceral “She Knows In Her Bones”; LBWL Collective (short for the lovely company name, Look But With Love) of Suahee Abro, from Pakistan and Lucia Moretti, from Italy perform the passionate duet Wild Truths, Tender Lies; Luminous Soul from Belfast bring a deceptively simple, understated and touching duet, Meeting of Two Souls by Linda Fearon and Cinzia Savoniiti directed by Helen Hall.

As well as the evening performances there will be a free film showing at 2pm on Friday 16th by Zoe Ui Fhaolain. Zoe submitted A Walk In My Shoes, made with the Camphill Community, Dingle, Kerry, to our “open call” for the programme of short works. It is a lovely gentle call to enter a slower rhythm where compassion and understanding are carried lightly and simply. It was too long for the 15 minute limit for the mixed bill, but we liked it so much that we invited her to show it at a special screening.

We hope you can join us!

Steve Batts, Echo Echo Artistic Director



Short Works

An evening of eight performances selected from the Festival Open Call

Thursday 15th and Friday 16th November at 8pm

Echo Echo Studios, Magazine Street, Derry-Londonderry

Tickets £10 and £8 conc available now



Film Screening

A Walk in My Shoes

Friday 16th November at 2pm

Echo Echo Studios, Magazine Street, Derry-Londonderry

Free entry



Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement takes place in Derry and Belfast from 5th-17th November 2018.

For further information and full programme details visit the company website:






Public Statement on the absence of disability access to Echo Echo Studios


Many people will be aware that we have had serious problems in relation to disability access following the extensive renovation of our premises at Waterloo House undertaken by Tracey Architects (design/project management) and AMS Limited (main contractor) which were appointed through a tendering process in 2012.

Our lift, which provides access to the various studios, office and other work-spaces has been out of use since October 2016 when an independent report concluded that it was unsafe. Due to the issue with the lift the renovation project, which began in November 2012, has not yet been formally completed.

Following an extensive period without proper disability access during which we have increasingly faced comments and questions about this issue we now feel obliged to make a public statement to inform our users, participants, partner organisations and the general public of the situation.

Throughout more than 25 years of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company’s existence, the Company has always had regard for inclusion and access. When the company moved into its new home in Magazine Street we were delighted that the care and attention we had devoted to accessibility during the planning and design stage of the renovation project was rewarded with a Silver Standard Certificate for Accessibility from Change a Little Change a Lot.

The lack of proper disability access to our studios since October 2016 has had a detrimental effect on our work, on relations with partner organisations and on individuals with disabilities. We have found this situation both frustrating and embarrassing.

We have made great efforts over the past two years to resolve the situation to no avail. In December 2017 we commissioned a second independent report which was provided to all parties involved in the renovation project. As with the first report, the lift inspection was undertaken by a respected industry professional. This report affirmed the conclusions of the first report and elaborated on the shortcomings of the design and installation of the lift equipment. These shortcomings have been present from the outset of the renovation and it is only by luck that no one has been injured as the lift has been deemed to be at risk of “sudden and catastrophic failure.”

Despite our very best efforts, the lift remains in a state of disrepair with the contractors involved failing to take responsibility. In view of this, we have no other option than to initiate legal proceedings in an effort to resolve the issue as soon as possible and ensure safe and appropriate disability access to our premises.

In the meantime, we would like to thank our colleagues, participants and audience members for their understanding in this matter over the past two years. We want to assure everyone that we have been taking this matter very seriously and continue to do so.


Echo Echo Board

Echo Echo Staff

Echo Echo Ensemble Members

15th October 2018

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!