Welcoming the Stranger
by Catherine Young
This autumn Backstage Theatre, Longford is embarking on an exciting project with their artist in residence, choreographer and dancer Catherine Young, redeveloping her highly acclaimed work “Welcoming the Stranger.”
Catherine has been working with a group of people who all live in Longford; locals to the area and those from overseas who have come to call Longford their home.On Fri 15th Dec they will perform alongside a group of world-class cast of dancers and musicians: Martin Sharer, Cormac Breatnach, Eoin Dillon Brian Fleming, Jon Sanders, Salma Ataya, Kristyn Fontanella, Minte Getachew, James Greenan, Odhran Mac Loughlin, Jade O’Connor, Eilise Sullivan & special guests Raed Said from East Jerusalem, Ahmed Lulu & Ghassan Raad.
Welcoming the Stranger is a moving and compelling dance piece inspired by the stories of migrants and refugees. Having already been performed in Kerry and Palistine, we are honoured to have it performed, with Longford communities.
This is a very special project bringing communities in our beautiful county together
The local cast of residents from Longford Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, Poland and USA is made up of: Abdul Khan, Ahmadi, Aisling Manser, Ajaz Gul, Amir Malik, Ava Breslin, Diarmuid Breslin, Margaret Walsh, Maria Juliette Mc Kenna, Nathalie Taylor, Niamh Cumiskey, Sinead Erabor, Valerie Maguire, Vekash Manzoor, Yvonne Dawson
Since its premiere this critically acclaimed piece has performed at the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival in Palestine as well as Culture Night Dublin, The Big Bang Festival, to name but a few.
In this redevelopment of the piece Catherine will be working with people from throughout Longford, locals to the area and those from overseas who have come to call Longford their home. She will bring both communities together through a series of workshops and rehearsals throughout October and November, culminating in a performance in Backstage on Fri 15th Dec alongside a group of world-class professional dancers and musicians.
Through these workshops and rehearsals the Irish and migrant communities in Longford will come together to move and be moved, sharing their stories, their culture, their music, their food, their language as Catherine gently guides the group towards the creation of a work for performance. Kids dancing alongside adults. A multi-generational, multi-ethnic work where rhythm the common language not English. This true coming together of people and cultures, through their music, dance and song is set to inspire audiences locally to embrace cultural difference and which will provide an opportunity for new migrants to engage with people from the local community, encouraging them to become involved with arts activities and arts organisations on a long- term basis.
“ ..energetic and soulful choreography. The work demonstrated a spirit of inclusiveness and care that set the tone for the whole event.”
Fearghus Ó Chonchúir, director, Casement Project
“..one of the best examples of real inclusion … emotional, passionate and uplifting. We need to reflect and learn from this approach.”
Ann O Dwyer, CEO, Kerry Education and training Board
“..electric, of the most enjoyable and engaging dance pieces I have seen ever.”
Catriona Fallon, Director, Siamsa Tire Theatre
Supported by Arts Council Ireland, Longford County Council, through Creative Ireland, Department of Justice and Equality and Shawbrook.