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.”
“Welcoming the Stranger” is a moving and compelling dance piece inspired by the stories of migrants and refugees from Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Africa. The piece was first commissioned as part of the 1916 Casement Project celebrations to premiere on Banna Strand. In light of the location, a beach and the on-going migrant crisis, with refugees being washed up on shores daily – Catherine wanted to create a work that looked at how Ireland ‘could’ be – if there was real understanding and inclusion between communities. That if Roger Casement were to wash up on Irish shores 100 years later, what kind of Ireland would he want to see?
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.