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Productions

The Bystander (Dublin Theatre Festival 2018)

Man At The Door (Cork Midsummer Festival 2018)

Dolores (Dublin Dance Festival 2018)

Soldier Still (Belfast Festival/Dublin Fringe 2017)

Walking Pale (GPO Witness History Commission/Dublin Dance Festival 2016)

It Folds a joint production with Brokentalkers (Edinburgh Festival 2016/Mayfest Bristol 2016/Dublin Fringe, Abbey Theatre 2015)

Dusk Ahead (NYC La MaMa Moves Festival 2015/National Tour 2015/Dublin Theatre Festival 2013/Kilkenny Arts Festival 2013)

The Falling Song (8-venue UK & National Tour 2014/Belfast Festival 2012/Dublin Dance Festival 2012)

Bird with Boy (UK Tour 2016/Dublin Theatre Festival 2012/Dublin Fringe Festival 2011)

Sometimes We Break (Tate Commission 2012)
Five Ways to Drown (National Tour 2012/Dublin Dance Festival 2010)

Pygmalion Revisited (Áix-en-Provence Festival Commission 2010)

Drinking Dust (2008)
The Rain Party (2007)

Junk Ensemble completed the short film Blind Runner (2013) commissioned by Dance Ireland.




AWARDS


Best Design Award for Soldier Still (Dublin Fringe 2017)
Best Lighting Design for It Folds (Irish Times Theatre Awards 2015)
Best Performer for It Folds (Dublin Fringe 2015)
Best Production Award for Bird with Boy (Dublin Fringe 2011)
Culture Ireland Touring Award for Drinking Dust (Dublin Fringe 2008)
Excellence and Innovation Award for The Rain Party (Dublin Fringe 2007)

 




PRESS QUOTES


‘The Kennedy twins have been crafting works of oblique and beautiful weirdness for many years now, and their company Junk Ensemble, is the nearest we have to a genuinely original contemporary Irish dance corps.’ The Irish Times

‘Junk Ensemble has created some of the most impressive contemporary dance in Ireland... Enthralling and exact’ The Sunday Times ★★★★

‘Junk Ensemble’s creativity continues to impress’ The Stage

THE BYSTANDER
"Darkly insistent performances" The Irish Times ★★★★
"Mesmerising and engaging" Reviews Hub ★★★★
"Exquisite and unforgettable" The Arts Review ★★★★

DOLORES
"Dolores combines visual eloquence with the gut-punch of a victim impact statement" The Irish Times ★★★★
"There is simply no resisting “Dolores’” power. Provocative and unapologetically brilliant, “Dolores” offers a uniquely thrilling experience..." The Arts Review ★★★★

MAN AT THE DOOR (NUMBER 54)
“Intriguing . . . A totally immersive experience” The Irish Times ★★★★

SOLDIER STILL
'Raw power and palpable elegance ... Stirring, poignant ... Not to be missed ...' The Arts Review ★★★★★
'Junk Ensemble’s most visually focused work to date.' The Irish Times ★★★★
'Dynamic and rich contemporary contemplation of the trauma of militant violence.' The Reviews Hub ★★★★
'Uncompromising and indelible work ... dazzling in its terrible beauty.’ The Big List (Northern Ireland).

IT FOLDS
'David Lynch would be proud ... macabre beauty ... shot through with haunting music' The Times ★★★★
'Harrowing and elegiac ... haunting and beguiling ... It Folds builds and passes like the shadow of some terrible, beautiful dream' The Stage ★★★★
'Rich theatrical pickings' The Irish Times ★★★★
'Perturbingly powerful, this beguiling production is stirringly beautiful' Broadway World ★★★★

 

Junk Ensemble

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Junk Ensemble is an award-winning Dublin-based dance company founded in 2004 by joint Artistic Directors and identical twin sisters Megan Kennedy and Jessica Kennedy to create works of brave and imaginative dance theatre. Previous Artists in Residence at Tate Britain and current Cork Dance Artists in Residence at Firkin Crane, the company have won Best Production Award, Best Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Performer, Culture Ireland Touring Award, Excellence and Innovation Award and are listed a Sunday Times Highlight. Their productions are often created in collaboration with artists from other disciplines to produce a rich mix of visual and performance styles that seeks to challenge the traditional audience performer relationship. This approach has led to productions being created in non-traditional or found spaces as well as more conventional theatre spaces. Junk Ensemble’s work continues to tour nationally and internationally.

Company members
Co-Artistic Directors: Jessica Kennedy and Megan Kennedy
Producer: Gwen Van Spijk

 

Visit Junk Ensemble website @ www.junkensemble.com


The Book and the Body

Jessica Kennedy and Megan Kennedy of Junk Ensemble  curated a two-strand symposia entitled ‘The Book and The Body’ in National University of Ireland, Galway and University College Dublin in April 2018, as part of Dublin Dance Festival partnering with Dance Ireland and Live Collision Festival. The symposia surrounded a new Junk Ensemble dance-theatre production, an off-site work titled Dolores, which is inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s visual and disturbing novel ‘Lolita’, and premiered in May 2018.

‘The Book and The Body’ Symposia was comprised of panel discussions, masterclasses, a viewing of an open rehearsal, roundtable discussions and international keynote speakers, and took place at the National University of Ireland Galway: 13-14 April and University College Dublin: 20-21 April, covering themes which include: body & literature, gender & performance, sexuality and abuse, trauma & memory, how the body is represented in literature through the male perspective, and Vladimir Nabokov’s novel ‘Lolita’.

 


Dolores

 

Inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s visual and disturbing novel ‘Lolita’, Dolores is a powerful and uncompromising work finally told by a silenced girl. Dolores gives a voice to the neglected and traumatised child, the candy girl full of hope and the enraged woman full of fire and revenge. Performed by the acclaimed Mikel Murfi and Amanda Coogan, Irish & international dancers and musicians and exquisitely designed as an off-site piece, Dolores digs into the poetry of the novel and exposes the unsettling abuse and tragedy of a young girl through imagery, song, dance and text.

Direction and Choreography: Jessica Kennedy, Megan Kennedy created in collaboration with the cast.

Dolores is funded by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival. Supported by Dublin City Council, Project Arts Centre, Dance Ireland, Dance City Newcastle.


It Folds

It Folds - Brokentalkers - Junk Ensemble - Project Arts Centre, Dublin

In collaboration with Brokentalkers, It Folds is a reverie. A dream-like story of death, grief, beauty and humanity. It’s a poignant and humorous portrait of the tragicomic events that shape our everyday lives.

Fusing the distinctive choreography of Junk Ensemble with the innovative theatricality of Brokentalkers, It Folds features a large cast of Irish and local Bristol performers brought together to present an assortment of characters who attempt to find connection through their shared humanity.

Winner of the Best Performer at Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2015

 


Dusk Ahead

Dusk Ahead - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Exploring blindness and invisibility, Dusk Ahead shows the murky fading light of dusk when it is difficult to discern what is real and what is imagined. Dusk is the hour between dog and wolf, between domestic and wild.

The talented cast of international and Irish performers also act as the band, playing live music throughout the piece. The visual design incorporates hundreds of golden threads stretched across the stage, which are dimly and beautifully lit through carefully constructed lighting.

Dusk Ahead was presented at Dublin Theatre Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2013 to wide critical acclaim. It is touring to New York and venues throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2015.

2013, 70 min


The Falling Song

Junk Ensemble: The Falling Song at The MAC, Belfast Festival at Queen's 2012

Witty dance theatre meets mythical chamber opera in The Falling Song. Male physicality is pushed to the extremities to explore self-destruction, invincibility and failure in this compelling production. Performed by an international all-male cast and a live children’s choir, The Falling Song looks at the nature of flying and falling and the dangerous relationship between the two.

The strength of this piece lies in the Kennedys’ considerable skill in allowing images, sounds and movement to sit side-by-side in their production without one element undermining or overwhelming the others.

Featuring an ambitious stage set, with towering ladders, stacked mattresses, mounds of apples and a local children’s choir, the performance investigates the simple metaphor of falling; falling in and out of love and falling from grace.

The sub-plot is male identity, explored by the excellent cast of male dancers (Jesse Kovarsky, Omar Gordon, Eddie Kay and Carl Harrison).

2012, 63 min

Click here to view the tech rider for The Falling Song.


Sometimes We Break

Sometimes We Break - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Sometimes We Break is a dance and sound promenade piece that explores incompleteness and ‘parts to a whole’. Leading the audience on a designed journey of movement and sound, the piece focuses on things that stop working, things that are interrupted and missing parts.

Originally commissioned and performed in Tate Britain, Sometimes We Break is a collaboration between choreographers Jessica Kennedy and Megan Kennedy, composer and sound designer Tom Lane, visual designer Lian Bell and dance artists Justine Cooper, Carl Harrison and Jessica Kennedy.

The piece creates different physical, visual and musical environments throughout the promenade performance. The company was interested in re-inventing the piece into a new space to highlight the shifting sense of belonging and the idea of ‘home’. The movement derives from the theme of being interrupted and the question of where the body is taken when it is between two places.

This sense of incompleteness is demonstrated in a section whereby the performers cut off certain movement before it can finish. In another section, toy soldiers demarcate the performers’ path forcing them to continually shift their physical sense of belonging. The space begins to exist fully when the performers inhabit it. By occupying the space, we make it our home.

2012, 30 minutes

  • Mind Your Step Festival at The Factory basement, Dublin, March 2015
  • Tate Britain, North Duveens Gallery, London, February 2012

Bird with boy

Bird with boy - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Bird with boy is a beautiful and fragile promenade piece by Junk Ensemble with Jo Timmins. Unravelling with fractured stories and littered with moving images and live music, this immersive dance installation concerns itself with things that end before they should.

The audience is lead from room to room, saturated with moving images and live music; fractured stories unravel and a quiet tension builds.

Bird with boy is performed by a cast of eleven; with two musicians, three dancers and six boys from Company B, Ireland’s only contemporary dance group for younger boys.

2011, 75 min

Winner of Best Production and nominated for both Best Design and Best Female Performer at Dublin Fringe Festival 2011

  • Dublin Theatre Festival at 12 Henrietta Street, October 2012
  • Dublin Fringe Festival at Kilmainham Gaol, September 2011

Five Ways to Drown

Five Ways to Drown - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

The living room is strewn on the front garden for all to see.

Five Ways to Drown looks into the interior of peoples’ lives and exposes the sadness, the absurdity and the banality through vignettes of dance and installation.

In this public display of the private, the choreography of everyday life becomes extraordinary. Continuing Junk Ensemble’s explorations of how spaces can be reinvented, the piece creates a different perspective on live performance.

Performed by three dancers, a young boy and an older woman, Five Ways to Drown shows us a picture of a family with the light going out: a little boy in a bath, a man wallpapering on a trampoline, a woman attached to an IV drip.

The movement is both violent and expressive with the dancers supporting each other in a climbing section; throwing a boy repeatedly into the grass; silently arguing on a sofa; spitting water and then dancing on a wet wooden floor.

2010, 55 min

  • 5-venue national tour, June – July 2012
  • Dublin Dance Festival at Project Arts Centre, May 2010

Click here to view the tech rider for Five Ways to Drown.


Drinking Dust

Drinking Dust - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Drinking Dust is a haunting dance theatre piece that pulls together fragmented stories, lost people and forgotten memories.

The piece is a collaboration between two highly acclaimed Dublin-based companies, Junk Ensemble and Brokentalkers, and is performed by two dancers, a small girl and an older man.

There are stories of a little girl on a tricycle, an older man with a birthday cake, secrets told through megaphones, separated audiences and compelling choreography.

Drinking Dust was awarded the Culture Ireland Touring Award 2008, nominated for an Audience Award at Dublin Fringe Festival 2008 and listed as an Irish Times Highlight of 2008.

The piece premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2008 and toured to The Arches Theatre Festival in Glasgow; Dublin Dance Festival; Teatromania Festival, Poland; and Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris in 2009.

2008, 60 min

  • Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, October 2009
  • Behaviour Festival at The Arches, Glasgow, April 2009
  • Re-Presenting Ireland showcase at Dublin Dance Festival, May 2009
  • Teotramania Festival, Bytom, Poland, May 2009
  • Dublin Fringe Festival at Smock Alley Theatre, September 2008

Click here to view the tech rider for Drinking Dust.


The Rain Party

The Rain Party - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

  • ARENA Festival, Erlangen, Germany, June 2008
  • Sonraigh Festival, Wexford, October 2007
  • Droichead Childrens Festival, October 2007
  • Dowsa Dance Festival, Sligo, October 2007
  • Kinsale Arts Festival, Cork, October 2007
  • Dublin Fringe Festival, September 2007
  • Cultivate Centre Dublin commissioned by Project Arts Centre, February 2007

Pygmalion Re-Visited

Pygmalion Re-Visited - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

  • Aix-en-Provence Festival commission, 2010

Blind Runner

Blind Runner - junk ensemble - Project Artists Supported by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Junk Ensemble completed the short film Blind Runner in 2013, commissioned by Dance Ireland

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