Dance Development Residency
4 December to 16 December 2023
Over two weeks Luke will continue development on two long term projects, The Prometheus Project and Scorched Earth.
The Prometheus Project reimagines the Greek myth as a modern parable around power, consumption and dependency. Envisaged as a series of interlinking performance installations, each space depicts another member of a shared community readying themselves for the final hours of electricity.
Scorched Earth is a new large scale dance theatre work for five performers circling a fictional murder, the prime suspect and the importance of understanding why. Navigating themes of ownership, ambition, desire, sacrifice, parochialism and quiet corners of the Irish Identity Scorched Earth is a world of fantasy, dance and theatre wrapped in a tangled knot of a murder mystery and investigative drama.
Supported by Uillinn West Cork Arts centre and Arts Council Arts Grant Award.Photograph above by Patricio Cassinoni
Uillinn Dance Artist in Residence, West Cork 2021, 2022 & 2023
Since 2015 the Dance Artist in Residence Programme at Uillinn has enabled opportunities for the people of West Cork to have access to, and engagement with contemporary dance practice of excellence. (Tara Brandel 2015-16; Helga Deasy 2017-18; and Mairead Vaughan 2019-20).
Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre is delighted to continue working with Dance artist and Choreographer Luke Murphy as our Dance Artist in Residence for a third year as part of a five-year dance development plan (2021 – 2025). Luke is our fourth dance artist to be awarded this role, supported by the Arts Council and in partnership with Cork County Council.
Charles Eames has a quote: “The term artist is like the term genius, you can’t just give it to yourself, it has to be earned”
I enjoy the work of “earning” and the rigorous discipline required by that work to do so. I have, over the years, also developed a practice for my craft revolving around investigative analysis, generosity (in terms of allocation of time, resources and working conditions) and an unshakable belief in the significance and potential of dance as an art form.
As I engage in my third year as Dance Artists in Residence at Uillinn I am concentrating on further developing my curatorial skills and practice. Expanding from my experience in curating training programmes with the Catch8 Series and International workshops as DAIR for Cork in 2017- 2021 was an important year in establishing my voice as a curator for both performance and more significantly strategic programmes for the long-term development of dance regionally. I am very excited to continue this work in 2023, responding to the 2021 & 2022 programme at Uillinn with more knowledge, understanding and a more focussed intent on the principles behind my curatorial priorities.
I believe very strongly that the long term development of contemporary dance in West Cork is intrinsically linked with how closely it can be aligned within the wider atmosphere of the regions exceptionally vibrant arts practice. Creating opportunity to place contemporary dance within the contexts of long established avenues of audience engagement, such as the many summer festivals and traditionally form specific arts communities is a multi-year but vital process to introducing and normalising a new form to wider audiences. West Cork is bustling with arts activity and my curatorial strategy is to integrate dance to this widely developed framework.
I believe that for rural audiences exposure to more diverse artists is crucial. Both in terms of introducing the West Cork community to the work of prominent and nationally recognised dance artists but also to give opportunities to a wider and more diverse range of artists. The danger of contemporary artists and diverse programming being limited to larger metropolitan areas can only be faced through proactive programming.
For 2023 the programme is settled into three clearly identifiable strands. The first is to develop more robust partnerships with neighbouring arts organisations and situate contemporary dance within those contexts. To this end we are delighted to work with Fastnet Film Festival to present an afternoon of dance films at the 2022 Fastnet Film Festival in May. Positioning contemporary dance within such a reputable, well attended and widely loved west cork arts event feels like a huge victory for widening the presence of contemporary dance in west cork. Furthermore, the development and presentation of a new work, performed outdoors on a floating raft at Skibbereen Arts Festival in July will take contemporary dance out of the gallery and place it right in the heart of the community. For both dedicated and unexpected audiences I’m very excited to make a work using the natural landscape as our set and invite intended and unintended audiences to join us this summer.
The second strand is to continue to open networks and build relationships between Uillinn and the wider and diverse community of dance makers around Ireland. One of Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre’s great strengths is not simply the facilities but the nurturing, generous and enthusiastic culture of support they create for artists to develop work inside. Skibbereen is a long way from Sligo, from Longford, from Dublin- it’s with great pleasure that we are a relation ship with
The final strand of the programme is the dance season. Once again building upon the focus of giving a West Cork access to the same work and artists as a Dublin audiences we are this year delighted to be connecting Uillinn audiences
Luke Murphy: Uillinn West Cork Dance Artist in Residence 2021 & 2022
With support from Uillinn + Cork County Council and an award from the Arts Council, Luke Murphy took the DAiR in a new direction. Leading with a curatorial role in collaborating with artists and regional festivals to underpin West Cork Arts Centre as a ‘hub’ for Contemporary Dance in the South West of Ireland and to ensure a presence and identity for Contemporary Dance in West Cork.
The programme in three strands included two research commissions in 2021 dance artist Kevin Coquelard & musicians Caihim Gilmore and Kate Elis (14 June to 25 June 2021) with festival partners West Cork Music and the second for his own new work ‘Slow Tide’ with festival partners at Skibbereen Arts Festival. A further two commissions in 2022 supporting emerging choreographer Ghaliah Conroy (4 July to 16 July) exploring archetypes of Irish women throughout history and Yasmin Mello (16 July to 22 July) Reflections of Womanhood
Luke invited three platform performances with the view to elevating the profile of Uillinn Dance Season 2021 with Liz Roche Dance Company, Dierdre Griffin and Fearghus O'Conchuir.
For UDS 2022 Luke selected Siobhán Ni Dhuinnin, to open the event with Bad Siobhan in collaboration with her father. He also brought back to West Cork one Ireland's long-standing significant contemporary dance figures in John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre with Cloud Study. And emerging choreographer Mufutau Yussuf presented his first evening length work ‘Owe’.
With festival partners Fastnet Film Festival Luke curated and presented the very first live evening of screen dance in 2021 featuring work from Junk Ensemble's/ Invisible Thread Films Award Winning 2020 film Fallow Table, U.S Artist Kelly Ashton Todd's Under Review: Katahdin Orla McCarthy's Mind(e)scape, Spanish Artist, Laura Aris' Cualquier Mañana, Luke Murphy's Film for Step Up Project 2020 shot on the Sheeps Head Peninsula Amerginat.
In 2022, he premiered his new work “Written on Skin”, funded by a 2021 Arts Council Commission Award with co-commission from Renaissance Skin Project at Kings College London, the programme included works by Irish artists Liz Roche, Oona Doherty and international artists Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, Laura Aris and Kate Weare.
With festival partners Skibbereen Arts Festival Luke Murphy premiered ‘Slow Tide’ at Lissard Estate as part of Skibbereen Arts Festival on July 24th. The work was performed at 2pm and 4pm to sold out audiences of 126 and 113 respectively.
Luke and the platform artists also engaged with peers and the young dance students attending Uillinn to share their professional practice and encourage new audiences.
‘As an artist with a deeply rooted connection to both Cork city and county it has been a consistent part of my practice to consider the needs and habits of local audiences. Working in a form based in abstraction, without a long history nationally, I believe that working to build audiences and increase exposure to contemporary dance, beyond the metropolitan centre and the core national festival programmes throughout the country, is crucial to the development of vibrant ecology for dance to develop and flourish nationally.’ Luke Murphy
Originally from Cork City, Luke is a performer/ writer/ director and choreographer working across various mediums in Europe, the UK and USA.
Luke founded Attic Projects in 2014 as an umbrella for his various independent projects in dance, film and theatre. His work has been supported by various commissions, awards and residencies internationally including Arts Council of Ireland, Cork City Council, CultureIreland, New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project (USA), Kaatsbaan International Dance Centre (USA), Pavilion Theatre, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Irish Arts Centre, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, DanceLimerick, DanceBase Edinburgh, Tribeca Performing Arts Centre, DanceNow Silo Kirkland Farm, Tanz Tendendz Munich, b12 Berlin and others.
He is Artist in Residence at Dublin Dance Festival 2023-2025 and funded annually by The Arts Council of Ireland Arts Grant since 2018.
He has created and performed twelve evening length works throughout Ireland, Germany, UK and USA (Drenched 2012, Icarus 2013, Your Own Man/Mad Notions 2015, On Triumph and Trauma 2016, The Dust We Raised 2017, ExCaelo 2018, The Milkyboy Kid 2018, Carnivore 2019, Villains 2019, Clouds and Boulders: Mapping Terrain 2020, Volcano 2022).
Most recently his 2021 piece Volcano was the winner of Best Production, Best Movement, Best Lighting and Best Set at the Irish Times Theatre Awards (Ireland’s national theatre awards), with further nominations for Best Sound, Best New Play and Best Ensemble.
Luke has danced with Ultima Vez from 2014-2018 touring internationally in productions of In Spite of Wishing and Wanting, Booty Looting and Spiritual Unity and Punchdrunk since 2009, performing leading roles in the original casts of The Burnt City, London (2022) The Third Day-Autumn (HBO/Sky TV 2020) Sleep No More in Shanghai (‘16-‘18), New York City (’11-‘15) as well as productions of The Drowned Man in London and Sleep No More in Boston. In addition, he has danced in the companies of Martha Clarke, Kate Weare and Pavel Zustiak, and in projects with Ben Duke, Alexandra Waierstall, Liz Roche, John Kelly, John Scott, Luca Silvestrini, Jonah Bokaer and Bill T Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company.
Luke is the producer and programming director of The Catch8 Workshop Series in Cork City, co-curator of dance programming at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre and sits on the Board of Directors of The Firkin Crane.
Luke trained at Point Park University where he earned his BFA in Dance and English in 2009 and University of Chichester where he earned an MA in Choreography in 2017.
WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.