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Live Archive: Revisiting Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre Archives

Live Archive: Revisiting Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre Archives


Arts Council of Ireland and Coventry University


£32, 000


Joan Davis, Mary Nunan, Robert Connor, Loretta Yurick, Lisa Cahill, Katherine O’Malley, Óscar Mascareñas, Anderson de Souza, Eimear Byrne, Kristyn Fontanella, Néill O’Dwyer, Gabriel Peelo, Dance Ireland, Dance Limerick
Firkin Crane Cork, National Dance Archive of Ireland, University of Limerick, National Library of Ireland, The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon

Project Team

Emma Meehan

Project Objectives

Live Archive is a creative exhibition and evening of performance responding to the archives of Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre (1979-1989), the first state funded contemporary dance company in Ireland. Original company members Robert Connor, Joan Davis, Mary Nunan and Loretta Yurick explore their previous choreographies, working along with early and mid career dance artists to respond to the past material from their current practices. The project addresses how we can find creative ways to animate archival dance material in Ireland, share the embodied history of DCDT with an audience and pass on the repertoire to future artists.

The aims are to:

  • Create an exhibition with live performance responses to the archives of DCDT.
  • Partner with archives, venues and emerging/established dance artists to devise creative methods of display and performance.
  • Reanimate Irish contemporary dance repertoire and stimulate creative reuse of archival resources.
  • Generate awareness of Irish contemporary dance heritage for arts professionals and audiences

Impact Statement

Running from December 2016-February 2017, the project includes an exhibition, performances and workshop resulting from research on Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre (DCDT) at 3 venues – Dance Ireland, Dance Limerick and Firkin Crane in Cork.
Beneficiaries include dance artists, public audiences, funders, venues and policy makers.

The focus of this project specifically is to:

  • Improve awareness of Irish contemporary dance history and availability of archives for re-use in creative practice and research
  • Make Irish contemporary dance heritage accessible to a varied audience both within and outside the dance community
  • Develop methods for artists and researchers working together on creative archive projects
  • Highlight to funders and policy makers ongoing issues regarding dance resource and funding in Ireland through historical and contemporary analysis

See the materials from the Live Archive exhibition in an online interactive publication.



 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023