Nora Fay

Nóra Ní Anluain Fay
Ham Sandwiches and Discipline
17 to 31 July

Sean O'Toole talked to Nóra and Sorcha about their residency at Uillinn. Read the blog post here:

I grew up watching and going to GAA matches and being immersed in the world of it. There often seems to be a wide gap between the realms of the arts and sports but having grown up with a mixture of both I want to try to combine them, which isn’t always done. I will spend this residency creating a duet with myself and my longtime collaborator Sorcha Murphy about the GAA which will premiere in September. There is also such a raw theatricality to sports and its spectators and clear dramaturgical lines to matches that I would adore to delve into. The rich culture that pours from the GAA is calling to be explored, from the ham sandwiches wrapped in tin foil, 30 jerseys hanging out to dry on the line, the sound of the soaking muddy stud boots, completely vexed commentators, screaming from the sidelines in the bitter cold to the ritualistic trips to Croke Park. The 70 minute structure of a match provides the perfect arc for a piece.

I want to delve into the whole marathon of emotions that goes through a piece, the training beforehand, pep talk in dressing rooms, kickoff fans reaction, halftime, sponsors, end result, the commentators and post match analyst battles and explore how this can be translated into a theatrical dance setting. I wish to fully showcase the world of the GAA in a theatrical format as I utterly see the two working as a harmonious marriage. I also know that there is such a big audience for the GAA and it would be valuable to make a dance piece readable for those who don’t always go to them.

Cork is notorious for its love of the GAA which makes it the perfect place for this creation. I think it would also be very fruitful to collaborate with the local club, O’Donovan Rossa for both the piece and the community. Dance continues to become a bigger part in sports training and strengthening as more and more teams are turning to it for support. Therefore we will have dance workshops with the club, and feed their knowledge into the piece. They can see and make the connections themselves between the game and the material. We will create weekly sessions between members of the club to share what we have done and open up the conversation to what they would like to see and what they would feel would be relevant to have in the piece. At the end of the residency we will have an open showing of everything we have created and they will act as a collaborator in the work.

The bridge between dance and theatre is where I get excited to work. I draw from many mediums such as film, literature, music, dance and physical theatre to create my work for NAF Dance in which I am the Artistic Director. I will graduate from the choreography department in Fontys University Tilburg, the Netherlands in July and be based between Ireland, the Netherlands and France.


My first piece Let Them Eat Cake, was chosen to represent the Netherlands in the Szoloduo Festival 2022 in Budapest. Working on this cemented my movement language of physical theatre and slapstick comedy.

instagram @noranianluainfay

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WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.

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