Oona Doherty

Northern Ireland / UK

Portrait of Oona Doherty

Big Pulse Scaling Up Artist

Oona Doherty

Oona Doherty’s distinctive and visceral choreography has sparked international attention, earning her multiple awards, rave reviews and prestigious artistic opportunities both in Ireland and abroad. She creates intense, compelling works that appeal for societal change. She has forged a wide range of artistic relationships locally and internationally, including  Jamie XX, I don't know (2019) and The Rubberbandits (2017-2019). Doherty has produced highly acclaimed works with her solo work Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (2015) winning the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival Best Performer Award in 2016 and the Total Theatre Dance Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. She also received Reconnaissance Grenoble 1st place (audience) and 1st place (judges) in 2017.


Oona Doherty was voted one of the top 10 Irish Artists in 2017 by The Irish Times, and her first group piece Hard To Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer (2017) was voted No.1 UK dance show of 2019 by The Guardian. She created Lady Magma: The Birth of a Cult in 2019. 2021 will see Oona Doherty’s first collaboration with (La) Horde, collective at the helm for Ballet national de Marseille (France). She will also develop ideas for a new ambitious work to be premiered in 2022.


Oona Doherty was one of the Aerowaves 2017 selected artists, a Prime Cut Productions REVEAL Artist and The MAC Theatre Belfast HATCH Artist in 2016-17, an Associate Artist at Maison de la Danse de Lyon in 2017-18, an Associate Artist at La Briqueterie Vitry-sur-Seine in 2017-19. She is Dublin Dance Festival Artist in Residence in 2020, 2021 and 2022.


Navy Blue 


Scaling Up Co-Production


This is an ugly place, where a deep night navy blue descends. The colour of the veins of loneliness. Deep within the pain we find beauty. Strength and empathy. Beyond the dust of bombs. In the silence of a destroyed forest. In the floating rubbish of the seas, in the bleeding hands of the slaves. The mistakes of our generation. Hope out of the wounds of violence and capitalist machines.


We go back into the Galactic black of deep space. The first light, the first sound. The first people on earth. Is this a reset? Is this the future? Is it now? What have we done?


How can I develop unison dread on stage? Dance form as a problematic symbol of freedom? Unison as a type of micro communism? Individualism as a disease? Using classical dance form and theatre norms as the playing field of a violent cycle. A destructive algorithm.


Navy Blue is a Big Pulse Dance Alliance commission, co-produced by Dance Umbrella (UK), Dublin Dance Festival (Ireland), Torinodanza Festival (Italy) and Julidans (The Netherlands) and presented by Tanz im August/HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Germany), Zodiak – Side Step Festival (Finland), ONE Dance Week (Bulgaria), International Dance Festival TANEC PRAHA (The Czech Republic), New Baltic Dance (Lithuania), CODA Oslo International Dance Festival (Norway), co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.


Co-produced by Kampnagel International Summerfestival, Hamburg (Germany); Sadler's Wells, London (UK); Venice Biennale (Italy); Théâtre National de Chaillot (France); Maison de la Danse (France); Belfast International Arts Festival (UK); MC2 (France)


"The movement vocabulary is simultaneously graceful and breathless, with gestures from ballet alongside simple joyful running." 
– The Guardian


"A powerful stage presence… There’s nothing usual about Doherty… This is dance with grit in its veins, with dirt under its fingernails and a violent secret in its heart." 
– The Scotsman on Hope Hunt


Doherty proves again the originality of her choreographic voice; she's a distinctive, generous dance-maker."
– The Stage on Lady Magma

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