About the project

‘Don’t anticipate the ending’ is an Irish Research Council and Arts Council Ireland funded collaborative practice-based research project by academic researcher Dr. Zosia Kuczyńska, dancer-choreographer Jessie Keenan, and performance-maker Robbie Blake. 

Focusing on the creative process of Irish playwright Brian Friel as revealed by his literary archives at the National Library of Ireland, it asks whether one artist’s ways of working can generate new ways of making art for contemporary practitioners through archival engagement. 

In this way, the project aims to set a major creative legacy in motion whilst laying the groundwork for future archival projects that seek to understand and transmit cultural knowledge through the body. 

Three years, a pandemic, and many reinventions later, the project has produced two original films, the beginnings of an evolution in the creative and scholarly practices of the project leads, and a rich archive of its own. 

This exhibition sets up a space for encountering that archive, allowing users to explore the connections between Friel’s own fascinating writing process and the contemporary experiments in dance and performance it has helped to inspire.


Curator Dr Zosia Kuczyńska
Dancer-Choreographer Jessie Keenan
Performance-Maker Robbie Blake

Creative Direction Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Digital Producer Ian Dunphy
Developer Stuart Cusack

Acknowledgements The Estate of Brian Friel; Katherine McSharry, National Library of Ireland; Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives, Boston College; Simon Blakey & Peter Kandunias, The Agency.

Images of the Brian Friel Papers, held at the National Library of Ireland, are reproduced by kind permission of the Brian Friel Estate.


Don’t Anticipate the Ending was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Irish Research Council, Cavan Arts and Dublin City Council and was co-produced by the MoLI, Smock Alley Theatre and Tonnta. Research was supported by Dance Ireland, Humanities Institute (University College Dublin), the National Library of Ireland and the Brian Friel Estate. MoLI's digital programming is supported by Ebow, the digital agency.

Don't anticipate the ending Creative encounters with the Brian Friel Papers

This exhibition is an archive of an archive; and like all good archives, there is no right way to navigate it. Keep clicking on the things that interest you, and don’t worry if you get a little lost a long the way. If you do want to find your way back, check out the index in the menu.


Presented in partnership with the National Library of Ireland