Bill & Colin in the studio, October 2023
Last week, Dance Cork Firkin Crane was honoured to host a special mini-residency with New York actor, director, writer, and clown Bill Irwin and critically acclaimed Limerick-based traditional Irish dance artist Colin Dunne.
They first met during Bill’s last visit to Cork in 2022, when he hosted a Vaudeville Workshop for professional dance artists. After this initial meeting, it became apparent that Bill and Colin’s contrasting performance styles and skills would welcome some joint experimentation in the studio. As the artists said themselves: “mutual admiration set this residency in motion — designed as a series of studio hours for primary research and comparison“.
During their research period in the Smurfit Theatre, the artists looked at swapping steps, percussion and rhythm, distilling common vocabulary, and questioning what ‘hybrid culture’ may actually be, coming from the contexts of Ireland and New York.
Bill also hosted a professional Vintage-inspired class during this visit to a delighted cohort of dancers, movers, and performers. The group looked at the easy body-twist of vintage dancing as well as some Vaudeville dance measures.
Browse the gallery below for a sneak peek at the residency and class.
About the artists
Bill Irwin is an actor, director, writer, and clown. His original works include The Regard of Flight; Largely New York ; Fool Moon; Old Hats, The Happiness Lecture, among others. His actor’s theatre credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Goat, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, and ON BECKETT, an evening of passages from Samuel Beckett’s work. On television Irwin can be seen in character roles including Mr. Noodle on Elmo’s World, Nate Haskell, serial killer, on CSI, and Peter Lindstrom, psychiatrist, on Law and Order/SVU. His film credits include Rachel Getting Married, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Eight Men Out, and Stepping Out – more recently, Spoiler Alert and Rustin. Irwin gratefully acknowledges the awards and fellowships that have allowed him to continue explore work in theatre.
Olivier Award nominee Colin Dunne is a traditional Irish dance artist who works across dance, music and theatre performance platforms in Ireland and Internationally. His critically acclaimed solo works Out of Time and CONCERT have been presented at prestigious venues and festivals including Baryshnikov Arts Centre NYC, Barbican London, and Biennale de la Danse Lyon.
Bill and Colin greatly thank Dance Cork Firkin Crane and Composer Bill Whelan, for sponsoring this meeting of the feet.