Palimpsest

“Powerfully evokes Ireland’s past and present”

WORLD PREMIERE.
March 2024.

PALIMPSEST \pal-imp-sest\ noun. (formal) something that has many different layers of meaning or detail that build on each other.

David Bolger’s PALIMPSEST layers artforms and histories in a large-scale live performance to trace and own the ghostly-edged histories our shadows leave behind. Richly theatrical, PALIMPSEST is quintessential CoisCéim - an exhilarating, boundary busting kaleidoscope of dance, live music, and panoramic projection woven together into a visceral audience experience by 2023 Irish Times Theatre award winner and Aosdana member, David Bolger. It is inspired by key moments in Irish history as we come to the end of the Decade of Centenaries. PALIMPSEST is funded by ART: 2023, a Decade of Centenaries Collaboration between The Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and presented in collaboration with St Patrick's Festival and supported by Epson Ireland.

In parallel with PALIMPSEST, CoisCéim Broadreach presents SPARKING DEBATE - a vibrant, curated participation project for and by young adults to provoke dialogue around Irish identity, hospitality and sovereignty.

“In a difficult first 100 years for the nation, CoisCéim shows life dancing on.”

“Stunning…The stagecraft and dramaturgy of Palimpsest, set this production, and indeed this company, apart. David Bolger and his team are vanguards. CoisCéim has managed to capture the zeitgeist of the last century in Ireland, evoking the rich and colourful tapestry of our cultural, political and social heritage and what it means to be Irish.”


Gallery


Performed at

St. Patrick's Festival

The Complex

DUBLIN, Ireland

14 - 23 March 2024

World Premiere

The Complex

Dublin, Ireland

16 March 2024

Project context

Through the investigation of questions around identity, hospitality and sovereignty, CoisCéim sought to make a massive interdisciplinary project for ART:2023 – with the potential to transform the way we look at the everyday – to draw out opposing perspectives, provoke robust conversations and build bridges.

The resulting artworks, PALIMPSEST and SPARKING DEBATE premiered to widespread audience and critical acclaim, connecting with over 850,000 people in a groundbreaking collaboration with St. Patrick’s Festival that spanned its entire line-up.

An exhilarating, boundary busting kaleidoscope of dance, live music, and panoramic projection woven together into a visceral audience experience – PALIMPSEST layered artforms and histories to trace and own the ghostly-edged histories our shadows leave behind. Its goal – to stimulate introspection by holding up a mirror to the entirety of our society – drawing on the visual archive that Ireland has accrued over the past century to explore and animate key notes in our history and interleave them with representations drawn from the century’s creative outpourings across different media. Older images coexisting with newer ones, each one telling and resonant, but only ever part of a constantly evolving panorama – history, actuality, alongside the invented – all of it to be mistrusted as mythopoeic as much as it to be cherished.

As part of the documentation of the project, writer and broadcaster, Vincent Woods, was commissioned to write an essay for the legacy publication that chronicled its journey.  The artwork for the image below was created by the show's projection designer Neil O'Driscoll.

ACCESSIBILITY 

In line with CoisCéim’s strategic goals, making the project as accessible to as many people as possible was a priority. PALIMPSEST featured the company’s Pay What You Can ticket pricing, where audiences can choose a price that works for them and the SPARKING DEBATE PHYSICAL DEBATES were Free to attend with tickets allocated on a first come, first served basis. The run of PALIMPSEST also included the company’s first audio-described performance as well as a relaxed performance on the afternoon of Saturday 23 March.

media

LISTEN | David Bolger on RTÉ’s Arena
READ | From Pulp Fiction to Palimpsest – David Bolger on 30 Years of CoisCéim for RTÉ Culture


Credits

CAST VITOR BASSI, LEE CLAYDEN, JUSTINE COOPER, MORGAN CROWLEY, EILÍS DEXTER, KATE ELLIS, MÁIRE NÍ GHRÁINNE, VANESSA GUEVARA, SARAH LUTTRELL, RENAKO MCDONALD, JONATHAN MITCHELL, ALEX O’NEILL, DONKING RONGAVILLA, ROSIE STEBBING, MATEUSZ SZCZEREK, JESSIE THOMPSON, ALEXANDRA VOSTOKOVA

DIRECTOR DAVID BOLGER
CHOREOGRAPHY DAVID BOLGER IN COLLABORATION WITH THE DANCERS
COMPOSITION & SOUND DESIGN DENIS CLOHESSY
SET DESIGN MAREE KEARNS
LIGHTING DESIGN JOHN GUNNING
COSTUME DESIGN ARRAN MURPHY
PROJECTION DESIGN NEIL O’DRISCOLL
HAIR & MAKE-UP VAL SHERLOCK
DRAMATURG CONALL MORRISON

PRODUCTION MANAGER SEÁN DENNEHY
STAGE MANAGERS AARON KENNEDY, DONNA LEONARD, STEPH RYAN
CHIEF SOUND EOIN MURPHY
CHIEF LX ROSS MCSHERRY
CHIEF AV LAURA RAINSFORD
DEPUTY AV JOHN NORTON
LX OPERATOR T. KOKALJ
DESIGN ASSISTANT RONAN DUFFY
REHEARSAL DIRECTORS JUSTINE COOPER, JONATHAN MITCHELL

SET CONSTRUCTION SET 4 STAGE
SET PAINTER VINCENT BELL
PROP MAKER MARTIN CAHILL
AERIAL RIGGING TONY MAHON
ADDITIONAL RIGGING GORILLA DESIGN
COSTUME ASSISTANTS EIMEAR HUSSEY, PAULA O’REILLY
FOR REDISCOVER FASHION SIV KEATING, BRIKENA LIKO, EWA MAHER, SAMMY SAVARIS
STAGE CREW EL MOSTAPHA KADDOURI, ADRIAN LEAKE, STEPHEN MAHER, DAMIEN WOODS
LIGHTING CREW RORY DONNELLY, DAVID HANNAFIN, SARAH TIMMINS
STAGE MANAGEMENT INTERN TARYN SHUCHA
COSTUME INTERN SIMON CHRISTOPHER

CHOIR LEADER MORGAN CROWLEY
ALTERNATE VOCALIST SARAH THURSFIELD
REHEARSAL CELLIST SOKOL KOKA
WORKSHOP VOCALISTS CHRIS BOWEN, EILEEN COYLE, EILÍS DEXTER
PHOTOGRAPHER/FILMMAKER ROS KAVANAGH
ASSISTANT CAMERA JACK LEITCH
REHEARSAL PHOTOGRAPHY LEON FARRELL
GRAPHIC DESIGN ALPHABET SOUP
AUDIO DESCRIPTION BRÍD NÍ GHRUAGÁIN
ESSAYIST VINCENT WOODS
PUBLICIST CULTUREHEAD PR
PROMOTIONAL VIDEO PATRICK BLUE
BOOKKEEPER SUSAN HOFFMAN
PROJECT COORDINATOR INNA MAZURENKO
BROADREACH COORDINATOR CAOIMHE COBURN GRAY
PRODUCED BY SARAH LATTY & BRIDGET WEBSTER

ADDITIONAL MUSIC
EXCERPTS FROM THE LIMITS OF LIBERTY (2010). COURTESY OF SOUTH WIND BLOWS.
PHILIP LYNOTT, DUBLIN, THE LOST RECORDINGS. RYLJI IKEDA, DATA.MATRIX.
THE DUBLINERS, GRACE BY FRANK AND SEAN O’MEARA.
AG CRÍOST AN SÍOL AND MNA NA HÉIREANN, MUSIC BY SEAN O’RIADA.
MISE ÉIRE BY PATRICK PEARSE.
MONTAGUE AND CAPULETS BY SERGEI PROKOFIEV.

SPECIAL THANKS
TO THE CHOIR’S AMICI, DUBLIN AIRPORT SINGERS
AND SONGS IN THE KEY OF D.

THANK YOU
WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE KIND SUPPORT OF ALL OF THE STAFF AT THE COMPLEX AND TO EPSON IRELAND, THE REDISCOVER FASHION TEAM, ANNA MCGOWAN AND THE ST. PATRICK’S FESTIVAL, RUAIDHRI O DALAIGH, EAMON FOX, EIMER MURPHY AND THE ABBEY THEATRE, VERONICA COBURN, BALLET IRELAND, LENAMORE PRODUCTIONS, IRISH NATIONAL OPERA, THE ARK, JOHN COMISKEY, GARY FINNEGAN, HIGH PERFORMANCE RIGGING, FIDGET FEET, CLIVE WELSH AND ALEX PEANUT BOLGER WELSH.

Partners

St. Patrick’s Festival is Ireland’s official celebration of its national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Its origins lie in honouring Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Initially, it was a solemn commemorative feast day dedicated to paying tribute to the saint, but over the years, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a vibrant celebration encompassing the richness of Irish culture. Established in 1996, the festival has grown from a single-day to a four-day event featuring music, performance, spectacle, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, food, wellness, community events and much more. It is recognised globally as one of the world’s biggest festivals, with a total reach of over 700 million people in 2023. It is a joyful occasion marked by parades, performances, and diverse expressions of Irish heritage; a multicultural international event that is committed to displaying contemporary and traditional arts, culture and heritage of the Irish people and the people who call Ireland home.

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to co-creating sustainability and enriching communities by leveraging its efficient, compact, and precision technologies and digital technologies to connect people, things, and information. The company is focused on solving societal issues through innovations in home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle. Epson will become carbon negative and eliminate use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050. Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the worldwide Epson Group generates annual sales of around JPY 1 trillion.

In 2024, local subsidiary Epson Ireland partnered with CoisCéim Dance Theatre to enable the projection capabilities for Palimpsest, where each party worked in unison to explore new boundaries for projection in the arts. 

The TU Dublin Campus at Grangegorman is the largest investment in Higher Education in Ireland, and brings together many of its activities in one vibrant, cutting-edge campus, providing our students with an incomparable educational experience. The development includes a brand new purpose-built East Quad creative arts centre. At nearly 17,000 square meters, this custom-built building features new art and design studios, concert and recital halls, theatre and TV studios in a first for Irish university education. The emergence of the creative and cultural sector as a critical agent of social and economic transformation in Ireland and Europe has long been documented. Our vision is to lead education, practice and research for Ireland’s creative and cultural industry and act as a national and international benchmark for the creative arts.

Broadreach

Sparking Debate

Running in parallel with PALIMPSEST, SPARKING DEBATE was a ground breaking CoisCéim Broadreach initiative for and by over 100 young people to provoke dialogue around Irish identity, hospitality and sovereignty through the question "who do we want to be".