To book Hard to be soft contact  

Creative Team

Concept Choreography Oona Doherty

Sound David Holmes

Light/Set  Ciaran Bagnall

Photo/Film Luca Truffarelli

Stage  Manager Siobhan Barber

Producer Una Nic Eoin Prime Cut

Funders   British Council, Arts Council NI,

Belfast International festival,

 Dublin Dance Festival.


Episode I   Ryan O'Neil

Episode II  Local girls from on tour collaboration with venue/Festival

Episode III  John Scott & Sam Finnegan

Episode IV   Ryan O'Neil



Large scale venues with high rig of over 7 meteres. Example

The MAC Belfast Int Arts Festival October 2017

The Abbey Dublin May 2018 Dublin Dance Festival

Nouveau théâtre de Montreuil

Paris Recontres Choreographic June 2018

Maison de la Dans Beinealle Lyon September 2018

Theatre de La Bastille Paris 2019

The Lyceum Edinburgh 2019

Queen Elizabeth Hall Southbank Centre London 2019

Top 10 dance shows of 2019 

Oona Doherty: Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer

Best culture 2019 by Lyndsey Winship and Sanjoy Roy 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.