fbpx Biennale Danza 2021 | Oona Doherty - Hard to be soft. A Belfast Prayer
La Biennale di Venezia

Your are here


Oona Doherty - Hard to be soft. A Belfast Prayer

Year / Length:2017, 45’ (Italian premiere)
Concept and choreography:Oona Doherty – O.D Works
Sound:David Holmes
Light and set design:Ciaran Bagnall
LX relight:Lisa Mary Barry
Photo and film:Luca Truffarelli
Stage manager:Siobhan Barber
Producer:Gabrielle Veyssiere – O.D Works
Funders:British Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast International Arts Festival, Dublin Dance Festival
Originally produced by:Prime Cut
Cast:Oona Doherty (episodes 1 & 4), local girls from Venice (episode 2), John Scott, Sam Finnegan (episode 3)


With a dance that is informal in its themes and its modes, Oona Doherty, a new name in European dance and the Silver Lion recipient of this year’s Festival, brings to Venice Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer. She has made the unorthodox choice to portray the cross-section of a community, her childhood community in Belfast with its horizons limited by cultural, social and religious constraints. Doherty captures the daily-life dimension of the working classes, which are virtually absent from the dance stage, their violence and vulnerability, their quirks, stereotypes and vices, as well as their courage, strength and energy.

“For Taoists, the body is like a miniature version of the universe. The parts of the body correspond to physical features in the universe. What if we took these aspects of Belfast. We heightened them to a holy place. An existential anthem? I want to create a dance theatre work that abstracts the broken memories of my youth of Northern Ireland into a neon bright prayer. Welcome to a bright white limbo.” (Oona Doherty)

Share this page on

Share on FacebookShare on XShare on LinkedINSend via WhatsApp
Biennale Danza
Biennale Danza