Weaving Threads is a multi-artform performance that brings together Open Arts’ participants who have developed their own artistic practice through support from DDASF grants, distributed by University of Atypical.
Featuring Andrew Ward (poetry), Cinzia Savonitti (dance), Mary Lou McCord (music with support from Drake Music NI) and facilitated by Helen Hall and Linda Fearon. This work in progress explores their individual practice and the threads of connections between.
In this, the 30th anniversary of Open Arts and the 10th Anniversary of Bounce, the performance celebrates the connection between Open Arts participatory programme and individual development supported through University of Atypical.
The mission of Open Arts is to inspire and support the creativity and artistic development of disabled people.
There is no similar participatory work happening in Northern Ireland with the ambition and scope; multiple art forms with so many individuals with such varying disabilities and additional support needs: our activities engage people with physical, learning and sensory disabilities; people with mental ill health and those who are neurodiverse.
Mary Lou McCord participates in drama, visual arts and is a dancer with Luminous Soul and has performed across Northern Ireland in both drama and dance. Mary Lou has also been a musician with Drake Music NI since 1993 and has performed across Europe In 2020 Mary Lou was awarded a University of Atypical grant to compose, record and edit her own musical compositions.
Cinzia Savonitti, originally from Italy, came to Belfast as an EVS volunteer with the Crescent Arts Centre, which is when she discovered Open Arts and Luminous Soul dance company. Highlights of her dance career include performing at Echo Echo Festival, portraying Hermia in Open Arts production of Midsummer Night’s Dream and participating in MeetShareDance Festivals. In 2021 Cinzia received a University of Atypical grant to develop her own dance work exploring disability and language.
Andrew Ward has been a member of Open Arts creative writing group since 2012 and more recently, has joined the Open Arts drama group.
He has regularly taken part in Purely Poetry, poetry slams and has attended numerous other writing groups. Andrew has a keen interest in illustration. In 2020 Andrew was awarded a University of Atypical grant to explore his childhood, through poetry, in light of his diagnosis of autism in later life.
Linda Fearon is a founding member of Luminous Soul dance company and has performed across Northern Ireland with the company. Linda has participated in MeetShareDance festivals in Portugal and Belfast. Linda has trained with numerous dancers and choreographers including Marc Brew, Caroline Bowditch and Claire Cunningham and has danced with companies including Maiden Voyage Dance, Echo Echo Dance and Pony Dance.
Helen Hall is the choreographer for Luminous Soul. Helen also creates and produces her own work which has been performed in many festivals. She was commissioned by University of Atypical in 2021 to produce, ‘Collecting Moments’; showcased at Bounce. In 2017, she received an Unlimited commission to create, ‘Inside The Speaker’. This has been included in many festivals; most recently, The Belfast Children’s Festival 2020. As well as creating her own performance work, she regularly collaborates with many Belfast based arts organisations to devise and deliver performance-based projects.
Post Performance Discussion
You’re invited to join us after the performance of Weaving Threads for an informal post show discussion with the performers Andrew Ward (poetry), Cinzia Savonitti (dance), Mary Lou McCord (music) Helen Hall (dance) and Linda Fearon (dance) hosted by Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody dancer and co-founder of Undercurrent a trans-disciplinary practice towards connection, empowerment and diversity within the arts.