BENCH inspired collaboration with Waterways Ireland...

A new collection of dances inspired by Dublin’s canals and surroundings to highlight everyday spaces as creative places through vibrant choreographic commissions by distinctive Dublin based dance artists.


BENCH #4 | Tobi Omoteso

25 - 27 July 2024 | Our summer continues with a new BENCH commission. With free outdoor performances BENCH #4 is an invitation to take a breath and discover dance in everyday spaces.


BENCH #3 | Sibéal Davitt

25 - 27 July 2024 | Sibéal's BENCH premiered as part of Dublin Dance Festival 2024 and her highly regarded piece will return to the Red Sticks at Grand Canal Quay this summer.


BENCH #2 | Favour Odusola

"The freedom to express ourselves within the piece while also telling a story of the canal produced an organic version based on our individual perspectives and that was great for me. One thing I am …


BENCH #1 | Jessie Thompson

“With this commission I felt very independent in my creative choices and not pressured to make any choices for the likes of an indoor venue/festival environment. It was amazing having a consistent …

I felt like I was in Paris or London, stumbling upon performances in the streets - I didn’t think that things like this happened in Dublin!

I was on my way back to the office for lunch - my pasta went cold but it was worth it to see your lovely artists in action!



BENCH brings together CoisCéim Dance Theatre with Waterways Ireland to commission and produce a new series of short live performances along the banks of Dublin’s canals – and build a collection of artworks inspired and informed by canals as valued cultural, social, environmental assets in our city.  These original choreographies will capture the idea of a BENCH by water as an everyday piece of public space infrastructure – a place to pause, to rest, to savour one’s surroundings,  to contemplate,  to connect – and to engage the public and local communities with dance in unexpected ways through new short dance works that:

  • are brand new, one-person commissions
  • are incidental that people ‘happen upon’
  • enable the public to engage with the arts as part of their everyday
  • are staged in synergy with the environment around them (i.e with low production infrastructure)

BENCH started as an experimental pilot project in the summer 2023, with commissions to Jessie Thompson and Favour Odusola and following its success Sibéal Davitt and Tobi Omoteso were commissioned in 2024 with more planned for the future. 

In July 2024 the project was nominated for the Business To Arts Kmend Arts Partnership Award.

"Waterways Ireland recognises that the arts have a vital role to play in celebrating and maintaining the long-standing connection of Dublin’s canals to the city and its communities. We are excited to collaborate with the pioneering CoisCéim Dance Theatre to produce a new series of performances along the banks of the canals."

Louise Dredge Dublin Programme Officer, Waterways Ireland, June 2023


READ | The Irish Times‘s Michael Seaver interviewed the artists during their rehearsals at CoisCéim Studio
LISTEN | Jessie Thompson and David Bolger talk about the inspiration for BENCH with RTÉ Arena‘s Kay Sheehy


Curator David Bolger
Production Manager Seán Dennehy
Production Coordinator Caoimhe Coburn Gray
Graphic Design Alphabet Soup
Waterways Ireland Louise Dredge & Máirín Ó Cuireáin
Producers Sarah Latty & Bridget Webster


W.I. Master_blk copy

Waterways Ireland is the cross-border navigational authority responsible for the management, maintenance, development, and promotion of over 1,000kms of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes. These waterways comprise of: Grand Canal; Royal Canal; Barrow; Shannon, Shannon-Erne; Erne; Ulster Canal and Lower Bann navigations. Waterways Ireland assets contribute approximately €560m in economic, societal, and environmental value annually. In 2021, the waterways estate received 3.2 million visitors.

In Dublin, Waterways Ireland is responsible for the historic Grand and Royal Canals, which have been a source of great inspiration for artists in the city. Through arts programming, engagement and collaboration, we support the development of creative places in Dublin and contribute to making the areas along the Royal and Grand Canals better places to live, work, and visit.

Find out more at

Are you interested in being commissioned??

Commissions are by invitation. If you are an independent dance artist with three or more years of professional experience and would like to be considered for a future commission please get in touch by emailing Sarah at

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