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Associated Artists 2020

« Through artistic collaboration, we take time to cultivate captivating artistic work and thoughtful commissions »

Associated Artists Programme

Solstice Arts Centre's Associated Artists Programme provides support and financial assistance to artists to further their artistic development and careers. Each year Solstice works with new artists to identify areas of their practice that could benefit from support, including financial assistance, rehearsal / development space, technical, marketing and artistic mentoring, and performance opportunities. In 2020 Solstice will begin a range of new supporting relationships with artists who have Meath connections or produce work here.

This Is How We Fly with Iarla Ó Lionáird

Commissioned by Solstice Arts Centre with support from the Arts Council of Ireland


Iarla Ó Lionáird – Vocals, samples

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh – Hardanger d’amore, electronics

Seán Mac Erlaine – Clarinet, wurlitzer, electronics

Nic Gareiss – Percussive dance

Petter Berndalen – Percussion

Part traditional music, part contemporary composition, part dance, This is How we Fly has always defied genre and category. To mark their ten-year anniversary in 2020, the acclaimed contemporary folk group collaborate with the celebrated Irish singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, commissioned by Solstice, to weave an imaginative song cycle around Co. Meath’s long literary tradition echoing Ireland’s ancient literary history as well as looking to contemporary sources.

Over the past decade, the group has risen to become an internationally loved performance act with extensive tours throughout Europe, USA and Ireland. They have released two critically acclaimed albums as well as scoring award-winning film Wiki. As a live band their work centres on rapport and response, moving and sounding into uncharted territory to create folk music from an imaginary place, extemporising melodies and dance steps.

Iarla Ó Lionáird has carved a long and unique career in music both internationally and in Ireland. From his iconic early recording of the vision song Aisling Gheal as a young boy to his ground breaking recordings with Crash Ensemble and New York’s Alarm Will Sound, he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity.

His performances and recorded output follows an ambitious arc that challenges musical identity from Folk to Worldbeat, from New Classical to Opera. But there’s no doubt he is one of our most distinctive voices and Iarla Ó Lionáird’s is one that ventures far beyond the boundaries of any one genre: a defiantly unclassifiable sound.

“It’s a bold and unfamiliar path, full of surprising diversions that reveal themselves surreptitiously. This is fresh-faced, unboxable music.” - The Irish Times
"You'll be charmed and even dazzled by this jazz-tinged stylishly modernized quartet of fiddle, clarinet, drums and, best of all, percussive dance." - Time Out New York
“Magnificently expressive.” - The New York Times
"One of the most dramatic voices in contemporary music." - The Guardian



Dumbworld is an artist led creative production company established in 2009 by composer/conductor Brian Irvine and filmmaker/writer/director John McIllduff. Dumbworld makes work that is to be found at the intersection of music, image and words including film, opera, documentary, oratorio, animation, public art installation, performance pieces, theatre and curatorial projects.

Dumbworld creates artistically ambitious and exciting pieces that involve working closely with significant practicing professionals as well as people all ages, experiences and backgrounds. Dumbworld has created and produced full-scale operas, community operas, animated operas, large -scale children’s orchestral oratorios, feature films, feature documentaries and installations.

Dumbworld’s work has been performed and seen in over 30 countries and has been recognized internationally, 2015 British Composers Award (nomination). for opera – Things we throw away, 2013 British Composers Award (nomination) community award – Rain Falling Up, 2011 Irish Allianz Arts Award for Opera (best use of music in the community), 2011 Florence film Festival (best film), 2011 Festival Les Escales (Audience Award), 2011 Thessalonaki Film Festival (best film), 2011 British Composers Award (nomination), 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award for Opera (nomination).

Dumbworld produced Conversations Across Time at Solstice in November 2017 and will develop two major new productions created in collaboration with youth and community groups across Meath in 2020/2021.


A few years ago Saramai Leech and Cormac O’Keeffe settled in an out-of-the-way cottage on an estate a few miles out from their home town Navan, Co. Meath. They made a studio in their kitchen and when they left the door open the peahens and chickens would curiously make their way inside. During these years in the ‘middle of nowhere’ with feathered creatures and tall old trees, Perlee was born. Vocal harmonies, synths, strangely tuned and detuned reverberant guitars abound in a vast yet minimal sound.

They drove to Berlin in the Winter of 2017 with a batch of songs and their instruments packed into a van. Finding an apartment and a studio in close proximity they hit a purple patch of writing and gigging. The vibrant city and people found it’s way into their sound and performances. Sharing stages with Hilary Woods, Steve Gunn, Half Waif, Conor O’Brien and being selected for the Irish Music Week industry showcase both last year and this year, they played over 50 shows including a showcase at the Irish Embassy in Berlin. This journey led them to acclaimed producer Julie McLarnon (Jeffery Lewis/Lankum/The Vaselines/Bridget Mae Power) with whom they recorded earlier this year.

Double A-Side Chain of Coral / Feelings of Plenty marked the first release from Perlee last October, followed up with their four-track EP 'Slow Creature' in March 2020 on Greenbay Records.

‘…Delivering soothing and dreamy alt-pop, they turned their setting temporarily into a David Lynch movie…' Hot Press Magazine
"The duo’s melody weaves in and out of focus initially, like tips of flames moving in unpredictable yet still natural arcs. The song becomes entrancing ..., drawing you in with one flare, one faded hook, before encouraging you to get lost in its currents. It’s a sighing, beautiful composition." - Ryan Leas, Stereogum.

Femme Bizarre

An all-female tour de force with an explosion of aerial dance, high octane choreography, comedy, physical theatre and spoken word.

Fierce and ferocious aerial duo 'Femme Bizarre' (Kate Finegan/Jade O'Connor) mix aerial dance, spoken word, comedy, physical theatre, song and dance in their explosive production CAGED which will be staged in Solstice in early May 2020.

CAGED is an emotional roller coaster through the ages: an unnerving unearthing of the past and a raw discovery of who we are today and yet what we can become. This powerhouse performance gives a visceral insight into what it means to be a woman now. 

Respecting the pain of the past and celebrating the power of the future, CAGED looks to peel back the layers of historic social conditioning and celebrate all forms of gender expression. It’s about how far we’ve come as a society and how far we have left to go, all through a dynamic fusion of dance, comedy, and physical theatre. Sound good? Yeah, we thought so. Step inside the cage, the door is wide open. 


Cast  Jade O'Connor & Kate Finegan

Director  Jennifer Jennings

Lighting Design  Kevin Smith

Sound Design  Michael Stapleton

Costume Design  Sinéad Lawlor

Fionn Foley

Award-winning actor/playwright/composer Fionn Foley is teaming up with master fiddle-player Danny Diamond to develop a new dark comedy play titled Drink to tour nationally and internationally in 2021.

Drink is a new dark comedy featuring two actor/musicians and one musician. The play takes place in the wake of a disastrous global event, which has laid waste to the world as we know it. The story begins with two-thirds of the famous Calibrí Triplet Family Band parking their makeshift wagon onstage, and starting to pitch 'the preventive’ to their audience. With all the spectacular style of a snake-oil salesman Cal, the only vocal brother (his sibling Lar being a mute fiddle player), expounds the benefits of the tonic, without which he claims no one can survive the current situation. However, behind the brothers’ charming musical-infused display is a web of deceit and a curious history.

Set over one evening, it falls on the audience to decide whether the brothers’ intentions are honourable as a series of increasingly bizarre events unfold. The show combines the macabre with the modern and the traditional with the experimental. Rooted in traditional fiddle music, the music of the show takes on a strange but spirited feeling, with familiar jigs and airs morphing into electric and expansive musical hybrids. The score of the piece, performed live by the actors/musician, is coloured with ethereal menace, wild unearthly celebration and even whimsical flashes of TV-show jingles and pop.

At its core, Drink is a timely comedy that uses the idea of a family band at each other’s throats as a pertinent allegory for our modern struggle to trust ourselves and the systems that seek to control us. It’s a show that will both delight and disturb with each turn of the screw. 

Ronan Leahy

Well-known professional actor/director Ronan Leahy will be supported in the development of a new production. More information will follow soon.