The Art of Collaboration

Fri 21 Oct

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The Art of Collaboration

How do companies go about working collaboratively across genres and borders? Fidget Feet and Ceol Connected bring the worlds of aerial dance and traditional music together in the creation of a new show for 2023, The Moon Spun Round. Branar and NIE bring artists, designers, producers and directors from several countries together to create their new show Grand Soft Day.

Chantal McCormick, Fidget Feet and Thomas Johnston, Ceol Connected discuss the process of combining their individual art forms into one collaborative space. Joanne Beirne, Branar and Cat Moore, NIE will talk about how the co-creation of Grand Soft Day has worked from their producer perspectives.

This event will take place in Studio 2 of the O'Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway.

Chaired by Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council.


Chantal McCormick trained as a dancer and choreographer at the London School of Contemporary Dance. After graduation she became interested in aerial circus and trained at Circus Space, London. Chantal toured with established dance and circus companies in the UK from 1999-2008. Fidget Feet was founded in 2004 by Chantal (Donegal) and her husband Jym Daly (Cork). Chantal has directed, choreographed, and performed shows with Fidget Feet including; Wired and Free, Fairies Tail, Remember Her, Madam Silk, Raw, Hang On, Catch Me, Fire Birds and Elves and the Shoemaker. Chantal is also the Festival Director of the Irish Aerial Dance Fest.

Thomas Johnston is the Founder and Artistic Director of Ceol Connected, a dynamic & impassioned company that strives to create meaningful, beguiling, virtuosic, fantastical & gloriously joyful work for young audiences that is of the highest quality & that draws inspiration & intrigue from the world of traditional arts. An uilleann piper and whistle player, Thomas’ work at Ceol Connected include collaborating with a dynamic creative and technical team to produce and tour nationally eight productions (incl. TREEHOUSE, The Far Field, and WUNDERGROUND). In 2022/2023, Ceol Connected have been commissioned by the Patrick Kavanagh Centre to co-produce, with the National Concert Hall, a new gig theatre productionfor young audiences inspired by Kavanagh’s A Christmas Childhood.

Cat Moore is Executive Producer for international theatre company NIE, making work for and with young people. She has worked alongside Artistic Director Alex Byrne for 15 years, establishing a UK base, moving the company into regular funding from Arts Council England, developing the board, and delivering on all the strategic plans for the company. This has included getting funding for projects that includes support from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Europe. Cat has produced NIE shows in Europe, China, South Africa and the USA, overseen the expansion of a UK touring circuit for larger scale family work, and established new programmes of work in creative learning and talent development.

Joanne Beirne is the executive producer with Branar Téatar do Pháistí. Having joined the company in October 2011, Joanne has worked closely with Branar's artistic director Marc Mac Lochlainn to develop the strategic direction of the company, building a national and international profile for the organisation. Joanne has produced the company’s work over the past 11 years, and has managed and generated co-production relationships with partner organisations. Prior to joining Branar, Joanne was the artistic director of the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick, producing the Limerick Theatre Hub and was one of the founder members of the Strollers Touring Network during her tenure.

About the Chair

Maureen Kennelly was director of Poetry Ireland from 2013 until April 2020. She was previously director of Kilkenny Arts Festival, artistic director of the Mermaid Arts Centre, general manager with Fishamble Theatre Company, and she also worked with Druid Theatre Company, the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, The Arts Council and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. On a freelance basis, she worked with a wide range of organisations including Theatre Forum, Sing Ireland, the Performance Corporation and Age & Opportunity. She was Primary Curator with the Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival and Programme Director with the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. She was a member of the judging panel for the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for 2002 and 2006 and she chaired this panel in 2003. She has been a board member of Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the Butler Gallery, Barabbas Theatre Company and the Dock Arts Centre. She was appointed to the Expert Advisory Committee of Culture Ireland in 2013 and she was a member of the governing body of UCC from 2014 to 2018. Maureen grew up in Ballylongford, Co Kerry, and is a graduate of NUI Galway and of UCD.