The artists

Robbie Blake (performance-maker)

Robbie Blake is a composer, director and vocalist based in Galway, Ireland. As a composer, they create music using open and intuitive frameworks that invite performers and audiences to simply listen. They often use the body, movement and site-specific elements in live performance to foreground a collective embodied audience experience. Robbie’s work has toured nationally and internationally. The collaborative project Town Choir by Theatre Replacement featuring Robbie’s music is part of the 2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Australia. 

Robbie is the artistic director of Tonnta, Ireland’s leading new music vocal group. Their leadership of the group revolves around a heart-centred, collaborative and interdisciplinary focus. Tonnta has premiered over 70 new vocal works, with a core focus on working with living Irish composers.

Robbie recently took the post of Executive Director (maternity cover) of Galway Music Residency, leading the organisation in its programme of performance and education over the next nine months and chaperoning the company into its 20th anniversary year in 2023. 

Matt Burke (Lighting designer)

Matt Burke is a lighting designer for theatre and dance. 

He has recently designed for Mufutau Junior Yusuf (ÒWE), Róisín Whelan Dance (Man Down) and Headonbody (Soup).

In 2019 he graduated with an MFA in Stage Design (Lighting) from The Lir, Trinity College Dublin and in 2021 he was awarded the Arts Council Agility Award to support his research into lighting technologies and dynamic design.

Bláthnaid Conroy Murphy (performer)

Bláthnaid Conroy Murphy is a singer, pianist, performer, choral director,  composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist based in Dublin. She studied  music at NUI Maynooth, graduating with a B.Mus in 2009.

In 2010, Bláthnaid left for Australia to join the cast of ‘The Wiggles’ show,  where she danced, sang and played her way across the continent and the  world. During her employment in The Wiggles, she spent a lot of time  recording in their studio at Wiggle Headquarters. Bláthnaid is featured as a  recorded artist on many of their albums and is credited as composer/ arranger on many Wiggles Songs.

Since her return to Ireland in 2013, Bláthnaid has worked on many projects  with Tonnta, ensembÉal, Lassus Chamber Choir, singer Hilary Bow,  composer Roger Doyle, Dublin Studio Hub, Solas Choir, Inhouse Voices,  HCK Alumni Choir, as well as doing her own musical arrangements, compositions and gardening in her spare time.

Marion Cronin (performer)

Marion Cronin is a dance artist based in Dublin, Ireland. She holds a BA Honours Degree in Contemporary Dance from The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance. Since graduating in 2012 she has toured extensively across Ireland and internationally. She has worked with choreographers and companies including Laura Murphy, Rob Heaslip, Tamsyn Russell, Jessie Keenan, Junk Ensemble, Lucia Kickham and Theatre Lovett. Her international touring has brought her to Gramhamstown Arts Festival, South Africa; Agitart, Figueres, Spain; Ramalla Contemporary Dance Festival, Palestine; and Tanzmesse, Dusseldorf.

While dancing for different choreographers Marion continues to develop her own artistic practice. What inspires and drives her dance practice is her collaborations with other artists; visual artists, writers, sound artists and film makers. She also has a strong passion for dance improvisation and street arts, both feed into and influence her practice. Her work is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council.

Jessie Keenan (dancer-choreographer)

Jessie Keenan is an Irish choreographer whose work intersects science, visual art, architecture and archives. Interdisciplinary connections are at the heart of her work. Keenan creates nuanced, intricate choreographies with a strong visual and architectural aesthetic.

Selected choreographic projects: Fragments, Dublin Fringe Festival 2018 (nominated for Best Design), British Neuroscience Association Festival 2019; Low Lying, Dublin Fringe Festival 2016; Her Supreme Hour, Embodied 2016, commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival/GPO Witness History Public Art Commission. Keenan is the recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award. 

In 2019 she began collaborating with academic researcher Dr. Zosia Kuczyńska and composer Robbie Blake on Don’t Anticipate The Ending, resulting in a digital exhibition and two short films co-produced with the Museum of Literature, Ireland (2021).

In 2020 / 21 Keenan created a number of short films: Submerged (commissioned by Cavan Arts for Culture Night 2020), Fragments (film) (commissioned by Cavan Arts), So What Is Surfacing (solo) (Dancer from the Dance Festival 2021)

Lucia Kickham (performer)

Lucia Kickham is a Dublin-based dance artist performing and collaborating internationally since 2011. Training in the Netherlands she has worked with companies and artists which include Liz Roche Company, Philip Connaughton, Junk Ensemble, Jessie Keenan + Tonnta, Maria Nilsson Waller, Mary Wycherly, TRASH(NL) and Oonagh Kearney.

Training intensively with David Zambrano in Flying Low and Passing Through techniques, Lucia has developed her interest in group dynamics within improvisation, composition and teaching environments.

Lucia was Dance Ireland HATCH Artist 2018, Associate Artist with Liz Roche Company 2018/2021 and in 2020 was recipient of an Arts Council Next Generation Award. Her recent work INIT: The Warm Up Project was presented in Dublin Dance and Fringe Festivals. Lucia was awarded a Arts Council Commission Award through Liz Roche Company to research Middle End Beginning, a work exploring shifting perspectives on dance making, presented at Modes of Capture Symposium 2021.

Zosia Kuczyńska (curator/researcher/dramaturge)

Zosia Kuczyńska is an academic and poet, specialising in the literary archives of playwright Brian Friel. She completed her PhD on ‘Time and Space in the Plays of Brian Friel’ in 2016 at Trinity College Dublin, where she was a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholar.

In 2018, Zosia was awarded a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship under the mentorship of Emilie Pine at University College Dublin, based at its Humanities Institute. In this capacity, Zosia has conducted original interdisciplinary research into the Brian Friel Papers at the National Library of Ireland. A monograph, Brian Friel’s Models of Influence, is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan.

Zosia is the author of two poetry pamphlets with The Emma Press, Pisanki (2017) and With others in your absence (2021). Her work was featured in the Lifeboat anthology Queering the Green (2021) and has appeared in The White ReviewPoetry Ireland Review, and The Tangerine. She has performed regularly with Tonnta.

Michelle O’Rourke (performer)

Michelle O’Rourke is a singer based in Dublin, Ireland. Her natural sound, unaffected expressivity, and technical ability make for an interpreter of rare dynamism. Michelle combines her background in Baroque music with an adventurous eclecticism and an interest in interdisciplinary work.

Michelle is passionate about the commissioning and performance of new vocal music. She has worked closely with many composers, including: Ann Cleare, Andrew Hamilton, Simon O’Connor, Karen Power, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Garrett Sholdice. Notable releases include Andrew Hamilton: Music for People (NMC) and Left Behind: Songs of the 1916 Widows (Ergodos).

Michelle is ever fascinated by the seemingly endless expressive facility of the human voice; how singers have been centric to ritual performance for centuries, and how we continue as performers to evolve the interpretative and performative role of voice.

Sarah Ryan (performer)

Sarah Ryan is a dance artist based in Dublin. For the last 9 years she has worked as a professional performer and facilitator for a wide and varied range of choreographers, directors, companies and artists spanning across many artistic genres. These include Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Laura Murphy, Philip Connaughton, Áine Stapleton, Junk Ensemble, Opera Theatre Company, John O’Brien, Pan Pan Theatre Company, Mary Wycherley and Selma Daniel, amongst many others.  

Sarah is particularly passionate about interdisciplinary work. She enjoys the challenge, growth and richness that comes with numerous perspectives of inspiration and crafting.

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