An antidote to polarised thinking

Curated by Theo Dorgan & Bridget Webster

Running in parallel with PALIMPSEST, SPARKING DEBATE is a ground breaking CoisCéim Broadreach initiative for and by over 100 young people to provoke dialogue around Irish identity, hospitality and sovereignty through the question “who do we want to be”.

Co-curated with esteemed poet and writer, Theo Dorgan, SPARKING DEBATE is artistically rooted in five poems from the island’s canon. It is presented in partnership with St Patrick’s Festival and features two high profile events – a pageant for the 2024 St Patrick’s Day parade and a series of physical debates at the Grangegorman Campus of TU Dublin on the final day of the festival.

Highly visual, the Broadreach Parade Pageant will feature bespoke costumes and accessories that capture participants’ creative responses to these texts and both events will also include specially designed art banners with extracts from the selected poems.

SPARKING DEBATE is presented in partnership with St Patrick’s Festival, and delivered by CoisCéim Broadreach.

ST PATRICK’S PARADE PAGEANT

WHEN: 22 January – 17 March 2024, from 12 noon
WHERE: Parade Route HERE

CREDITS | ST PATRICK’S PARADE PAGEANT

THE PARTICIPANTS
CECILIAN THEATRE ARTS, Blanchardtown,
THE POLISH SATURDAY SCHOOL, Finglas,
SEDA COLLEGE, Smithfield
SPHERE 17, Darndale, strengthening an ongoing collaboration
with Creative Places Darndale.
PROJECT LEADERS Olwyn Lyons & Aoife McAtamney
COSTUME DESIGN Ciara Fleming
BANNER DESIGN Alphabet Soup
COSTUME ASSISTANT Sarah Higgins
HAIR & MAKEUP SPF team led by Emma Lennon
DANCE CAPTAINS Mia DiChiaro, Saoirse Lambkin O’Kane, Nick Nikolaou & Sophie Roche
SOUND TAPE Alexis Nealon
STAGE MANAGER Stevie Darcy
PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR Caoimhe Coburn Gray

PHYSICAL DEBATES

WHEN: 18 March 2024 | 2:30pm – 4:30pm (FREE, Doors open 2pm)
WHERE: Black Box, TU Dublin, Grangegorman Campus

The SPARKING DEBATE physical debates mark the final event of our major multifaceted ART:2023 project for the culmination programme for the Decade of Centenaries in collaboration with the 2024 St Patrick’s Festival.

In a nutshell, 8 dance crews will debate 7 topics in a competition format.  A debate is defined as a “a competition in which teams of people, discuss a subject [a motion] and the team that is judged to make the best argument wins”. 

With these physical debates, the goal is to take this concept one step further – by staging a discussion where opposing positions are debated with and through the body in one or more dance styles – in an artistic experiment to spark new thinking around conciliation, peace-making and what it means to be Irish today.

The structure of the debate is competitive.  8 crews will debate 7 topics though an instant composition.  Topics will be chosen by extraction on the day to allow a spontaneous physical discussion driven by the dancers involved.  All dance styles are permitted and crews will be judged on skill, dynamism & creative response to debate topic

TOPICS FOR DEBATE

Each topic/motion is linked to the 5 poems from each province of Ireland that underpin SPARKING DEBATE and are designed to be catalysts for conversation not to discriminate. They are

  • FIRST PEACE, THEN JUSTICE (Leinster)
  • A UNITED IRELAND FOR ALL OF US OR NONE OF US (Connacht)
  • BORDERS SHOULD BE DEFINED BY NATURE/BIOREGIONS (Ulster)
  • IF YOU WOULD KNOW ME, COME LIVE WITH ME (Munster)
  • NORTHERN IRELAND CAN TEACH THE WORLD: PEACE IS POSSIBLE (5th)
  • CLIMATE CARE STARTS AT HOME (5th)

The topic of the final debate will be chosen by the crews involved – possible subjects include: To build an Irish identity we all have to want one; The goal of peaceful living is a state of happy unrest;  Truth is born from dispute; For peace making it’s about finding pathways that can evolve not solutions;

CREDITS | THE PHYSICAL  DEBATES

CREW LEADERS Levi Cos, Leon Dwyer, LA Feeney, Lapree Lala, Aoife McEleney, Tobi Omoteso, Sara Pavic, Alex Vostokova
JUDGES include Cian Mulcahy (bboy Cian), Suleman Shode (Sly Boogie), Mateusz Szczerek, Jessie Thompson
DJ Damo
MC Dylan Chapman
Lighting Design/ Chief LX
AV TECHNICIAN Archer Bradshaw
HOUSE TECH/SOUND Ida 
ARTISTIC ADVISORS Matt Szczerek & Jessie Thompson
SPECIAL THANKS TO Tobi Omoteso
PROJECT COORDINATOR Inna Mazurenko

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Theo Dorgan is a poet with ten collections published, the most recent being ONCE WAS A BOY, which has just received the accolade of One City, One Book 2024 in his native Cork. He is also a novelist, documentary screenwriter, translator, essayist and editor. In 2022 he devised the script for ANU’s production of STAGING THE TREATY (now also a film available
from IFI, both directed by Louise Lowe), and he scripted and presented the multi-award-winning Alan Gilsenan documentary AN BUACHAILL GEALGHÁIREACH/THE LAUGHING BOY. Translations of his work have been published in Greek, Italian and French, with a volume in Spanish due in 2024. He is a member of Aosdána.

Olwyn Lyons is a dance artist and community dance facilitator with a Postgraduate and BA Degree in Dance (UK). Her career spans 10 years working across community dance and dance for health delivering, developing, and directing arts projects in a variety of settings.

Currently Olwyn is Dance Artist in Residence at Creative Life MISA based in St. James Hospital working with the Parkinson’s department. Olwyn was Co-Director of Macushla Dance Club 50+, 2018 – 23 (Dublin City Council, Dance Ireland), and was awarded The Arts Council’s Artist in the Community (AIC) Scheme 2023, managed by Create to further develop Macushla. She has facilitated Dance for Parkinson’s with Dance Ireland since 2017 and was awarded Arts Council of Ireland Agility Award 2022 to further develop her practice working with Parkinson’s Disease.

Olwyn was Age & Opportunity Artist in Residence in a Care Setting 2021 in collaboration with Philippa Donnellan, funded by Creative Ireland/Arts Council of Ireland. She has been a guest speaker at various Dementia and Creativity awareness talks including Creative Brainwaves 2023 with Global Brain Health Institute.

She was Movement Director for National Youth Theatre Ireland’s 2023 production of Move Like We Were Born To Move and Absent the Wrong at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2022, written by Carys D. Coburn with Once Off Productions. Olwyn was awarded Offaly County Council Youth Dance Commission 2022 to develop arts opportunities for young people and in 2023 Olwyn was selected as a Creative Associate with the Arts Council of Ireland’s Creative Schools initiative. Currently Olwyn is Child Protection Programme Administrator with the National Youth Council of
Ireland.

Aoife McAtamney is a dancer/choreographer, musician, actor and teacher based in Dublin. She is currently part of CoisCéim’s CHOREOGRAPHYCONNECTS artist-led residency project. 

Aoife began a career as a dancer and choreographer producing work locally and internationally and since 2019, she has been touring with Oona Doherty as a vocalist and dancer for the performance ‘Lady Magma’ and dancing with choreographer Emma Martin in ‘Night Dances’. As an actor, Aoife can be seen in Paula Keohos TV documentary ‘The Devils In her’ and also alongside Olwen Fouéré for BBCNI and TG4.

As a choreographer, she has been the recipient of numerous prizes and bursaries from the Arts Council and Culture Ireland and was Irelands first female lgbtq+ Aerowaves artist as part of the cohort of 2014 with her first solo Softer Swells – that subsequently toured internationally including to La Briqueterie in Vitry-sur-Seine and the Instances festival in Chalon-sur-Saône.

Her movement practice evolved to music, songwriting and soundscapes for performances and in early 2020 Aoife graduated with an MA (1st) in songwriting at the University of Limerick. Alongside their work in dance and choreography, Aoife coaches dancers and teaches workshops in vocal movement and cultivates a community arts practice developing investigations of gender, ancestry and nature. From 2020 – 2022 Aoife was the lead movement artist for Dublin City Council Culture Company and participation practice credits with ageing bodies of culture include CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s Broadreach and now with Macushla Dance Group.

 

SPARKING DEBATE | ARTISTIC ANCHORS

SPARKING DEBATE is co-curated with Aosdána poet and writer, Theo Dorgan. It is anchored in 5 poems from the island’s canon – one from each of the 5 provinces of Ireland.  The poems were chosen to “encourage people to think and feel on the slant – to allow the poems to stand to one side of the usual narratives and thus prompt fresh thinking, not just about who we want to be but about who we are and have been”.

The provinces are represented as follows:

LEINSTER | Jessica Traynor, The Demonstration

MUNSTER | Thomas McCarthy, Full Moon Over The Refugee Centre

CONNACHT | Mary O’Malley, Occupation

ULSTER | Ciaran Carson, Wrap The Green Flag Around Me

5TH |Theo Dorgan, The Question 

In this project, the 5th province is that of the imagination, for example as as referenced in Mary Robinson’s inauguration speech from 1990 where she defined it as: “The Fifth Province is not anywhere here or there, north or south, east or west. It is a place within each one of us – that place that is open to the other, that swinging door which allows us to venture out and others to venture in.”

Find out more about the artistic anchors underpinning SPARKING DEBATE HERE.