WSR Cast & Creative Team


Stephen Dodd (Lighting Design)

Stephen trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin. His recent lighting designs include: at the National Theatre of England: riverrun (The Emergency Room / Galway Arts Festival); at Dublin Theatre Festival: Tom and Vera (Desperate Optimists); at Dublin Fringe Festival: Lippy (Dead Centre; winner of Best Production at Irish Times Theatre Awards 2013, and Best Design and Best Production, Dublin Fringe Festival 2013); Way Back Home (Louise White, Performance Maker); In Dog Years I’m Dead (Mirari Productions); Dogs (Emma Martin Dance; winner of Best Design and Best Production, Dublin Fringe Festival 2012); and Listowel Syndrome (Emma Martin Dance).



Michael Fleming (Composer)

Michael Fleming WSR Programme Photo

Michael Fleming composes for film, TV, digital-media and dance. His TV and film work has been showcased both nationally and internationally and includes numerous award-winning projects such as Nuala, Voices from the Grave, W.B. Yeats: No Country for Old Men, and the BAFTA-nominated animation film, Here to Fall. Notable dance work has included Touching Distance by Legitimate Bodies Dance Theatre and two dance films from the ‘RTÉ Dance on the Box’ series: Deep End Dance (choreographer - David Bolger; director – Conor Horgan) and Monitor (director - Luke McManus). 
Upcoming work includes the score to a children’s i-Book Finn and the Forest with BlackNorth Animation and Visual FX and an RTÉ/BBC co-production After Braveheart...



Deirdre Griffin (Dancer)

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Deirdre graduated with a BA in Dance Theatre from Fontys Dansacademie in Tilburg, Netherlands in 2011. She is based in Dublin and to Date, has worked with Maiden Voyage(NI), ponydance(NI), Trash(NL), Johan Greben (NL) and Uri Itzik (Israel), Milla Virtanen (Fin), Katja Heitmann (Ger), Jelena Kostic( Ser), AiliSh Claffey (Irl) and Alicia Christofi- Walshe (U.S.). Deirdre has performed in Ireland, the Uk,  The Netherlands and the U.S.  She has also performed at the High Performance Rodeo Festival in Calgary and Adelaide Fringe Festival winning 'Best Dance Award' with ponydance. Deirdre has also performed her own work "Pantatic!!" at 10 Days in Dublin Festival and "Beetroots:nwon (k) di fi" at International Dance Day Dublin. 


I first became involved in Woman Stood Regardless in April of last year when I was invited to take part in the first research at Dance House, Dublin.  Catherine was looking for a very strong physicality. A lot of the material that was generated from that period came from particular emotions Catherine wanted us to improvise with. Resulting in movement which gave a certain duality of power and fragility. Through group, duet and solo work we each created and learned each others material which proved challenging because we all five of us have our own unique styles. Bodies which have different flexibilities and strengths can be hard to adjust to your own body.  It was great to get to work in the dance Limerick space and Siamsa Tire, Tralee. It's nice to be in other parts of the country. I think it has influences on the work and atmosphere that is created. During these last residencies I also had to relearn work I hadn't seen in nearly a year because I missed the the November block. This was also a challenge to know the material and keep up with the others. The theme of the piece which is based on a woman's struggle and her resilience to get through incredibly tough times comes from these women's stories. Because we don't know these women personally we can only imagine what they've been through. So for me I have to relate this theme to my own world to find my understanding and try to put this in my work and performance.



Ann Hickey (Costume Designer)

Ann Hickey is a designer with a 20 year career in fashion and retail design in both Ireland and California. She met Catherine while they were both pursuing careers in San Francisco and this is their first time working together. Ann originally trained in design at D.I.T. 



Ivonne Kalter (Dancer)

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Ivonne was born and trained in Germany and is currently based in London. As a freelancer she has worked with several companies and choreographers around Europe such as Jochen Heckmann, Patrick Delcroix, Katja Wachter, Johannes Härtl, Leda Franklin, Minka Marie Heiß. She was nominated for the International Solo Dance Festival Stuttgart, is a finalist of Seoul International Dance Competition and awardee of the Isadora Award. Ivonne became involved with CYD in October 2013.


It has been really great to rehearse in different cities as it's my first time working in Ireland and I've already got to know several different dance venues. The first week we all got together was back in November at Dance House Dublin, a week of research, a chance for me to get to know Catherine's style of movement a little bit better and a chance for her to see us as a group. The process continued in January at the beautiful venue Dance Limerick. Two busy and intense weeks of learning, creating, sharing and embodying a lot of material, didn‘t leave any space for me to worry whether I will be able to understand anybody in Kerry or not! We are four diverse types of dancers with different backgrounds and different ways of creating and learning material, which can be challenging while getting to know each other, but it also keeps things fresh and exciting. Every venue has its own energy to it and influences the rehearsal process. It was really good to be able to rehearse on stage and have first runs at Siamsa Tire, as it is easy to forget how much choreography, movement and timing can change when having a bigger space to fill vs the dance studio. The next and last block of rehearsals will happen at Dance House Dublin, where it all started. This time will be about details, finding the connections and getting really comfortable in the material. It is good to think back sometimes, to remind yourself of where the process started and how you connect to the theme personally. I very much look forward to being back in the studio with CYD and I am excited to see where the journey of ‘Woman Stood Regardless‘ will lead us to.



Lucia Kickham (Dancer)

Lucia trained at Fontys Dansacademie Tilburg, The Netherlands. Now based in Dublin, Lucia to date has worked with Liz Roche  TRL0503 webCompany (IRE), Maiden Voyage (NI), TRASH (NL), Iseli-Chiodi (IRE), Undernad Dance Company (SCT), John Jasperse (US), Maria Nilson Waller (SE), Filip Van Huffel (BE), Charles Linehan (UK) and Philip Connaughton (IRE). She has performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Belfast Theatre Festival, Dublin Dance Festival and toured work through the UK, Sweden and The Netherlands. In 2013, Lucia choreographed the one minute dance film 'Anticipated moment' commissioned by Dance Ireland as part of it's 21 year anniversary programme. Lucia is also a member of the Frith Collective.


In April of 2013, I got involved in Catherine's research for WSR in DanceHouse, Dublin. In this initial stage it was great to work on very physical contact duets. Working with this aggressive physicality was something I hadn't done in some time. It was an advantage that Deirdre and I had trained together in The Netherlands, as we were then more comfortable when it came to throwing each other about. Within the tasks Catherine set, it was great to find freedom to explore and take plenty of risk, searching for an honesty within the struggle and retaining this even when the movement became set. It was interesting to look back at material created during those first few weeks in the studio and put it back on my body now. At times proving a little awkward. My personal style, I feel, is still a very fluid concept and naturally over ten months I've changed a bit. I enjoyed noting how my physical preferences or patterns have changed in this time. Pleasant to see a personal development and to be able to, hopefully enhance the material for this piece by layering it with new experiences.

The most challenging element of the process for me, particularly in this more recent period of rehearsing and setting the piece in Limerick and Tralee, has been the development of a common movement quality or language between the group as a whole. The cast of four dancers have very individual ways of dancing and creating movement. These differences in movement qualities challenged me to address my use and range of dynamic, flexibility and tonus. It's been good to be forced to let go of the comfortable or ingrained dynamic, not always easy but good all the same. 

And other random bits of information...

Bread soda baths are amazing. I was introduced to this just a couple of weeks ago. Great for silky soft skin and rejuvenating for tired acid filled muscles. Try it!

Tralee has more pedestrian crossings that i've ever seen in a town before. My accommodationg was approximately ten minutes walk from the theatre and en route I passed five pedestrian crossings. Amazing! And another little road related unusuality - At the pedestrian crossings in Limerick City, there is a countdown to the red man rather than the more common county down to the green. Its like a challenge. You have three seconds left to cross the road, can you make it?!



Mariam Ribon (Dancer)

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Mariam Ribon was born in Spain. As a professional Dancer she has worked with New Balance Dance Co., Daghdha Dance Co., MaNDaNCe, Cois Céim, Opera Ireland, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Shakram Dance Company and YoCo Dance. Mariam holds a First Class Honors Master in Contemporary Dance Performance from UL. She is the Artistic Director of the Dublin Youth Dance Company and the Irish Youth Dance Festival. She has choreographed for The Dublin Dance Festival, Inchicore Core Dance Company, Dublin Youth Dance Company,The Irish Youth Dance Festival and Diverse Space Dance Theatre (USA). In 2009 Mariam was awarded by dlrcc the Per Cent for Art commissions. Straight after 'Woman stood regardless' production Mariam will travel to Germany to perform  'Mere Mortals' one of her solo pieces at the Listros Art Gallery in Berlin.


The process has been good, some days more challenging than others. The theme is very interesting and I look forward to meeting the women before the rehearsal process finishes to enhance our understanding of the material. I relate to the theme in many ways, everybody can relate to the suffering, anxiety and unworthy feelings.  Everybody can be subject to hard times, and the level of the coping from person to person is as different as the threshold for pain... A great example of it is the film 'Blue Jazmin' by Woody Allen... I like to think that the piece is about all women and not about a particular sector of our society. The cast is formed by 4 women very different in technical background, ages and moments in their lives. Sometimes this can be a challenge when trying to achieve the same goal. But I think it enhances the piece though to show different people and different ways of interpretation of the theme or choreographic ideas. Rehearsing in different venues can bring the energy of the different places into the piece. The movement vocabulary was formed from Catherine's phrases, improvisation around these with the dancers and through creation of different solos and duets by dancers following certain specifications from Catherine. It is difficult for me to say what is the predominant style in the piece so I am interested to see what emerges and in hearing people's opinions when they see the work.


The Meeting


Wonderful moments in rehearsal today as dancers met some of the original women who's stories inspired Woman Stood Regardless. The women graciously made the journey up from Kerry to share their stories directly with the dancers and in return we shared some of the work with them. Incredibly charged performance by the dancers after hearing the stories and was a real privilege to have the women witness the work. Look forward to sharing the full piece with them in April.

The Beginnings (Dee Keogh)

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Dee Keogh (North East Kerry Development)

Woman Stood Regardless came from a combination of factors, mainly my desire to get the women's stories out there, into a public arena. I felt there was a richness of input from the women that was in danger of being lost. By that I mean the women all came with a story of their lived experiences. These were wide and varied, but there was a common theme that I felt was overlooked and that was an undervaluing of themselves and a lack of self-belief in all they had overcome. They were lacking in confidence on many levelvs, yet when we met and gathered together, they seemed to unrobe and loose a lot of the self fulfilled labeling. Unassuming in nature, these women had resilience beyond anything I had encountered. They 'got on with getting on...' I got in touch with a friend in Dublin, Niamh Byrne, who herself is a self-taught writer and poet now doing a Masters in "The Power of the Story.' It seemed like an ideal opportunity to invite her to Kerry to meet the women in Tralee and do a piece of work that could support the women to get their stories out.

There was no production in mind when we started, that was an organic happening. It has showed the importance of the Arts supporting and illustraing the nuances behind these women's lives. Most of these women were oral by nature, and writing was a real challenge for the majority. Yet I experienced an incredible range of talent, wisdom and resilience. I realised that we needed to find ways to capture these stories and document the women's lives in context. For some women the fact that they were making a conscious decision to take the time out to participate in the EWM course was in itself an achievement. I was struck by the multiple responsibilities the women carried. For some the course was the starting point for them to evaluate their lives, and unravel all the layers of the unspoken. We had no agenda in mind only to give the women an opportunity to tell their story and put it on paper. Niamh gave the women three words 'Woman Stood Regarldess' and each of the women wrote for 15 minutes unedited. The result, it was like we struck oil, we had found their gold within. It prompted us to stage an evening's performance of these monologues to depict the women's lives through a more appropriate lense and this took place at St. John's Art Centre, Listowel back in November 2012.

This coincided with Catherine Young, Dancer in Residence, who had worked with our EWM earlier in the year and had spoken at our previous women's conference about the power of movement and dance. I contacted Catherine to see if she would work with some of the younger women in the programme who did not want to write a monologue but wanted to participate in some way. Again we had no agenda as such (which seems to be the key) - just for the women to meet with Catherine and perhaps explore their stories through movement.

What has evolved from all of this and what has been incubating with dance artist, Catherine Young, for the past year has now grown into this evocative and captivating production Woman Stood Regardless. In the same way the women took those three words, Woman Stood Regardless, Catherine has taken the same three words and through her medium which is dance, and inspired by the women she worked with, she has created her own 'Woman Stood Regardless.' It is a testament to women and the many roles we hold and that regardless of all that happens in our lives, we still get back up and say 'Yes' to life. This is what Catherine saw in the women in Kerry and is universal in theme. The piece asks 'What makes us as Woman Stand Regardless amid the madness and mayhem, the magic and wonder of Life...?'    [Dee Keogh]

Siamsa Tire Residency (Feb 2014)

[Photos: Rhiannon McNulty]


Dee Keogh from NEKD, who originally brought me in to work with the women, came into day to watch a rehearsal. It made me curious as to how the women will receive the work. WSR was originally a writing project with the women responding to the the words 'Woman Stood Regardless' through the creation of the monologue series. My own work tends to be more non-narrative in nature so with this work I wanted to use the women's stories as a point of departure, as inspiration, but to leave the work open enough to allow the viewer to find their own way in. I wanted to explore the feeling states and areas myself and the women spend many hours discussing but not turn it into a specific narrative.  That is the beauty of dance, language and narrative can be limited but for me, movement allows for a lot more space and ways of seeing. Dee has agreed to write a blog to share where all this started which is great.

 Some insights into rehearsals - part 1 (space & theme)


Some insights into rehearsals - part 2 (dancers & bodies)

Dance Limerick Residency (Jan 2014)

[Photos: Maurice Gunning]


Initial Rehearsal Musings - Dancers and Space

After an initial movement research block on Woman Stood Regardless in 2013 where we established the main vocabulary for the piece, we finally started production on the work during our residency in Dance Limerick. The work for me was always going to be highly physical - so in selecting dancers, I wanted a cast of female dancers that were all very different from each other but all who were extremely capable physically. I worked with a number of dancers during the initial research on this work, all whom have left their mark on the piece and contributed in some way. Indeed during my initial work with the women in Kerry, we did quite a bit of movement research also, where a lot of the original motifs and gestures were established. So in a way working with many different women on the material has shaped it and given the movement different coloring and shading. I journaled quite a lot after my sessions with the Kerry women, distilled the essence of our talks down to a few key ideas and through the creative process, I keep coming back to these pages to keep me on track. There have been many months of additional reading and research around these ideas - enough material for a few pieces, so having these notes from the women's interviews keeps me grounded.

Our residency at Dance Limerick has finally allowed me to see the cast together. It's the first time they have all worked together and with me, so this period in Limerick in addition to devising the work is also a time for us all to get to know one another and each other's styles and idiosyncrasies. It will also allow me to see how their bodies work together and with the material. I like the fact that these four dancers will dance the same material slightly differently - each with their own persona. It allows me really see the person in the work and that interests me. As a choreographer, I am intrigued by how people move and try to be as attentive as I can to each dancers and really see them, what is it that brings them to life? what is it about them that interests me? In the four dancers in this work, Deirdre Griffin, Ivonne Kalter, Lucia Kickham and Mariam Ribon, they are all physically and stylistically different - and especially for this piece, I think that is important. Instead of imposing myself too much on them, there is a delciate balance in trying to find a middle path somewhere between my story and how I move and their own. So in a way we have to be in constant dialogue with each other to make that happen, so it's a real collaboration between all five of us.

It has been interesting to see how the space has begun to affect the work. Our initial research weeks were in DanceHouse, so in taking the piece into this huge renovated church space with high ceilings, large windows, stone walls and the chill of the January air,  suddenly phrases got larger and there was a lot more hurtling through space. The long strips of marlay laid length-ways down the church space vs across-ways, opened up sections of the work and really let the dancers rip through the space...which has naturally made its way into the work! It made me curious as to how the movement will be affected when we move into the Siamsa space and then back to DanceHouse in March.

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