…the use of symbols and multi-purpose props, combined wit highly-imaginative choreography, results in excitement and catharsis

David Bolger developed BALLADS out of a desire to come to terms with the emotional aspect the great Irish Famine of 1845. Using the power of dance to articulate beyond the spoken word, it captures the emotion of the real people who were caught up in this natural calamity and political holocaust which even today historians are keen to ignore. BALLADS sets out to explore defining emotional moments in the psyche of the Irish people. Tangible key objects are presented to us on this journey – a pair of boots, a mound of earth, the log books of ships that record our connection with the greater world beyond Ireland. We witness the manipulation of objects as symbols which transform themselves – a plank of wood becoming a door – an empty table – a platform to perform on- a gangplank.

…a powerful expression of human strength and frailty, Ballads dramatically evokes the complex nuances of the human lives

Performed at

Ten Days on the Island Festival

Theatre Royal

Hobart, Tasmania

30 March - 2 April 2001

Irish Tour

Samuel Beckett Studio

Trinity College

20 - 22 March 2001

Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival

Doris Duke Studio Theatre

Massachusetts, USA

6 - 9 July 2000

Irish Tour

Samuel Beckett Theatre


28 - 30 June 2000

Irish Tour

Firkin Crane


11 December 1997

Irish Tour

Town Hall Theatre


6 December 1997

Irish Tour

Garter Lane Arts Centre


4 December 1997

Irish Tour

Belltable Arts Centre


2 December 1997


Project at The Mint


24 - 29 November 1997


Original Cast Ella Clarke, James Hosty, Diane O’Keefe, Simone Litchfield, Kevin Murphy, Liz Roche
Subsequent Cast 
Muirne Bloomer, Benjamin Dunks, Anne Gilpin, Robert Jackson, Simone Litchfield, Martin Nolan, Diane O’Keefe

Choreography & Direction David Bolger
Cello Music & Improvisations Diane O’Keefe
Music & Sound Designer Bell Helicopter
Lighting Designer Paul Keogan
Costume Designer Helen McCusker
Hair & Make-up Val Sherlock
Technical Manager Eamon Fox
Stage Manager Catherine Nealon