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Creative Team

Concept Choreography Oona Doherty

Sugar Army Choreography Zara  Janahi

Sound David Holmes

Light/Set  Ciaran Bagnall & Lisa Mary Barry

Projections Jack Pheelan

Voice Janie Doherty, Packy Lee, Lourler Roddy.

Photo/Film Luca Truffarelli

Stage  Manager Lisa Mary Barry

Producer Gabrielle Veyssiere O.D Works


Episode I   Ryan O'Neil

Episode II  Local girls in collaboration with venue/Festival

Episode III  John Scott & Sam Finnegan

Episode IV   Ryan O'Neil

Guardians of the gates

Local boys in collaboration with venue/Festival

Best Dance Show 2019 The Guardian Newspaper London

Oona Doherty: Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer 

Extract from an article of Lyndsey Winship and Sanjoy Roy from The Guardian


There’s a brilliant voiceover in Hard to Be Soft, in which a young woman describes herself and her friends in Oona Doherty’s home town of Belfast: “This little bubble that has tragedy in the walls.” Their defiance has a physical manifestation, she says, the importance of putting on a good face. “If you’re in a shit-hole but you look fucking amazing there’s something really empowering about that … They’re superstars in this granite-like stagnancy … just for putting on their armour and getting on with the day.”

In Hard to be Soft, Doherty elevates the defiance, pride and resilience of the tough, sometimes maligned working-class men and women around her, while scratching at the vulnerability underneath. All the while, choral voices rise in charged crescendo, underlining the beauty and horror that religion has bestowed on this city and these lives.

She is only at the outset of her career but Doherty’s shows at this year’s Edinburgh international festival and Dance Umbrella made her look like the most exciting young voice in contemporary dance. The chameleonic choreographer herself transformed into callow yet cocksure young men, sour-faced and swaggering, putting up a brittle shell against the world. Purely as a piece of physical metamorphosis it was masterful, but Doherty’s work is so much more than that. LW Read the full review.

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