Event Date 29 February 2024
Time 4:00pm
Organiser Irish Society for Theatre Research
WebsiteMore Info / Registration

Join us for ‘Irish Circus and Performance: from Heritage to Practice’ – an Irish Society for Theatre Research webinar, on Thursday 29th of February at 4 pm.

Come along to explore heritages, forms, and current practices of Irish circus and performance with our Director Lucy Medlycott, and ISACS Members Kathleen Doherty – Dance and Aerial Artist, and David Duffy – Director of Duffy’s Circus.

Dr Barry Houlihan from the University of Galway will chair the panel discussion.

Register here to attend



About the Speakers

Lucy Medlycott 2023

Lucy Medlycott

Lucy is Co-founder and current director of the Irish Street Arts, Circus & Spectacle Network, a membership organisation which aims to celebrate, advocate, grow and sustain these collective art forms. Prior to this she cofounded and established Bui Bolg Carnival Arts Company in Wexford.Lucy has been chair of the County Wexford Community Forum, director of the Wexford Arts Centre, member of the steering committee of Circostrada, held a position on the County Wexford Development Board, the Local Community Development Committee, the County Wexford Economic Dev & Enterprise SPC and is a current member of the Royal Society of Arts.

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Kathleen Doherty

As a consequence of existence, my art is emotionally driven, with a thematic focus on personal growth and the eternal question of what it means to be human. My name is Kathleen Doherty, and my work merges contemporary dance, aerial, and performance art. A graduate of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Florida State University, I started performing and touring with various Irish and EU companies, including Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, and Ffin Dance in Wales. My work has been showcased at festivals across Europe, such as the Irish Aerial Dance Festival (IRE), Trengos (PT), Sziget Festival (HU), Fara (PT), Laois Dance Festival (IRE), and Derida Dance Festival (BG). Currently, I am an artist in residence in Limerick, Ireland, engaging in research, creation, and performance across Europe and Ireland. ‘Martyr,’ a collaborative project with Alexandre Duarte, originated from the cross-border EU-funded residency, Island Connect, making its debut at the Irish Aerial Dance Festival in 2022. While touring with Fossetts Circus in 2022, I completed ‘The Fall,’ a dance film scored by Dave Boyd, premiering at the Constructed Sight Film Festival (USA) in 2023. Recognized at international festivals, it earned the Audience Award for Best Dance Film at the Azores Fringe (PT). Recently, I’ve been researching a new show initiated at the Irish Aerial Dance Festival and performed at LAMB- Land Art Moving Biennale. ‘TIME- This is My Eternity’ explores climate change, the passage of time, and the urgency facing both humanity and the world.

David Duffy

David Duffy

David inherited his father’s love of horses and took over the mantle of training and presenting the circus’s stable of horses ranging from miniature Falabella ponies to the show’s famous palomino Arabian stallions and the Belgian draught horses usedin his sons’ world class horse riding act. In addition, David & his father, masterminded the development of their family circusfrom a small company playing one day stands around the towns and villages of Ireland to a top class production, utilizing the latest innovations in technology to provide audiences with the best in circus entertainment. This has included the engagement of top class artistes from throughout the world, from countries as far apart as China, Africa, and Cuba, the latter being the first artistes from this nation ever to appear in Ireland. Audiences nowadays would recognise David as the Ringmaster of Tom Duffy’s Circus, the Master of Ceremonies of the circus world, seamlessly linking the individual acts of the circus together, leading the audience through the story of the production.

The ringmaster ‘rolls out the red carpet’ to make sure the audience is open and receptive to the spellbinding acts that are coming. The history of the role of the Ringmaster runs through the Duffy family generations. David’s Grandfather, James Duffy, handed it down to his son, Tom Duffy, who in turn handed it down to David. Over the next few years the mantle will be handed to David’s sons, Tom & Jamie.