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The BIG REEL by Philippa Donnellan comes to Limerick once again

In this vibrant performance for older-age communities, four individuals set out on a quest in search of the BIG REEL. Weaving their way through a mashup of popular song, trad music, and urban riffs a colourful dance of discovery ensues. In The BIG REEL expect all kinds of twists and turns and some unusual encounters. Do they find what they’re looking for? – come and find out!

The BIG REEL was developed in collaboration with older age groups in care centres in Waterford, Limerick, Dublin and with the Macushla Dance Group, in association with Dance Limerick, Waterford Healing Arts and Dance Ireland and supported by an Arts Council Dance Project Award 2022-23.

Thursday 28th September 2023  | 2pm

Directed by choreographer Philippa Donnellan

In collaboration with dancers Mia DiChiaro & Sarah Ryan and musicians Sharon Murphy & Sadhbh O’Sullivan

Narrated by Philippa Donnellan

Originally from the UK, Philippa Donnellan is a choreographer based in Dublin. As BROADREACH Director with CoisCéim Dance Theatre (2006-2020) she led an extended programme for older-age people. As Curator of DL.BRIDGE (2021-2022) she co-led The Road We Live On with Musical Director Jonathan Luxton/St John’s Brass & Reed Band and members of the local community, and directed intergenerational project Women & Work: The Contract for Culture Night 2021. In 2022 with dance artist Ailish Claffey, she created and performed DANCE BUALADH BOS for older-age communities in care settings, funded by a Kildare County Council/Creative Ireland Award. Philippa is currently developing Taking Flight at Uillinn/West Cork Arts Centre, supported by an Arts Council Dance Bursary 2022-23.


Mia DiChiaro is a contemporary dancer, teacher, and artivist interested in dance projects that encourage communities to explore imagination and empathy. She has performed works by David Bolger, Liz Roche, Lucyna Zwolinska, Jack Webb, Ursula Robb, and her own work, supported by the Irish Arts Council. She serves as Dance Artist-in-residence at Richmond Barracks and Fatima Groups United and co-directs Macushla Dance Club 50+. Recent projects include directing Tipperary Dance’s UNBOUND Intergenerational Dance Festival, performances with CoisCéim Dance Theatre and General Mischief Dance Theatre (USA), and choreographing the dance and poetry film ‘Dance Till Dán’ (Irish Creative Lives Award 2023).


Based in Dublin, Sarah Ryan has worked as a dance performer with many choreographers, directors and companies of different artistic backgrounds, including amongst others: Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Liz Roche, Jess Rowell, Laura Murphy, Opera Theatre Company, Áine Stapleton, Jessie Keenan, Ponydance, Croí Glan, Mary Wycherley, Cie Willie Dorner. She has worked as a choreographer on the creation of numerous new work including for the Abbey Theatre, and most recently for Director Jo Mangan’s ‘Disappearing Islands’; a site specific piece based in a tidal pool. Sarah also assisted on the choreography and performed in ‘Morrigan’, an opera by John O’Brien and Eadaoin O’ Donoghue for Cork Opera House 2023.


Sadhbh O’Sullivan is a songwriter and musician dubbed ‘one of the most inspiring and exciting artists of our time’ by Female First UK. She holds an MA Community Music from the University of Limerick and has trained with various organisations including Musicians Without Borders and Sing to Beat Parkinson’s. Sadhbh is co-director of Embrace Music, a Kildare-based partnership with Sharon Murphy. Sadhbh has released four collections of original work and performed across Ireland and beyond. Her third full-length album We Begin in Darkness was released to critical acclaim in April 2022; it was named Album of the Week on BBC Radio Ulster, received a 9/10 review in Hot Press and was described as ‘hugely impressive’ by Paul McLoone on RTE Arena.


Sharon Murphy is a vocalist and songwriter who started her career working with the UK-Irish Production team Biffco, contributing to tracks by artists including Kylie Minogue, Will Young, and Gabrielle. Sharon holds a BMus from Maynooth University and held the post of Musician in Residence in Tallaght Hospital for two years. Sharon is co-director of Embrace Music, a Kildare-based partnership with Sadhbh O’Sullivan with over 10 years’ experience of running arts and wellbeing projects with older people. Her most recent creative output includes her EP Decades, her single Where to Begin, and her rolling project Songs my Father Loved. She is currently working on a new body of work drawing upon improvised source material and exploring extended vocal techniques.




2:00 pm


28 September 2023


Dance Limerick Performance Space
John's Square Limerick


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