LIFT is a new artist development platform in partnership with the ISACS Network and Wexford Arts Centre. Supported by Arts Council Ireland and County Wexford Arts Department. This new partnership will offer mentoring and creation space for ground based circus artists via a residency.

LIFT aims to provide space, support, expertise and room for circus artists to develop their practice. This years residency took place in Wexford Arts Centre during November with selected artist Michelle Thoburn, aka Mish.

Along with a bursary of 500 euro, plus accommodation costs, Michelle received:

  • The use of theatre space at Wexford Arts Centre.
  • Support of the Arts centre staff in the form of skill share sessions and mentoring support for technical, marketing and production management.
  • The use of a hot-desk at the ISACS Network office for desktop research and subsequent reports/applications.

Michelle’s LIFT experience

During the LIFT residency I spent a week at Wexford Arts Centre developing my work as a solo artist. The goal was to develop a new act that merged a feminist message together with acrobatics and movement.

At the beginning of the week, I worked with fellow ISACS artist Angelique Ross on creative techniques and using different methodologies to come up with new work. We were also joined by dancer and choreographer Jessie Thompson, who taught me different movement patterns, dance techniques and how to use improvisation exercises to find new movements. Working with these two artists left me with new sequences and ideas to build a new piece of work. After that, I spent some time in the dance studio with dancer and choreographer Arnie Kovacs, learning new skills in break dancing.  He helped me discover how to connect tricks and sequences and how to blend the breaking style with my acrobatic style. Then lighting designer Eoin McNinch came in to guide me in stage lighting as I normally make work for the street. He taught me various terminology and how different types of lighting can be used for different effects.

Wexford Arts Centre is a beautiful building that has a gorgeous big theatre which was perfect for doing movement work in and taking up space. While there I met Wexford Arts Officer Liz Burns and Arts Centre Director Elizabeth Whyte and got helpful advice towards future work.

To sum up, the LIFT residency allowed me to start a new project that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. It provided me with the funds, mentorship, time and space to think about new work and spending the week in Wexford with Lucy and her crew was lovely and uplifting. Thank you!

Gallery of images from LIFT 2021