Tyrone Guthrie Residency 2024 Recipient: Rita Marcalo

Dance Ireland is delighted to announce Rita Marcalo as the Tyrone Guthrie 2024 Residency recipient! Rita will focus her residency on researching for her work entitled "12,6000 days R&D - a mentorship project with three iconic British choreographers".

Hear from Rita below:

"12,600 Days R&D - a mentorship project with three iconic British choreographers

As you read this I, Rita Marcalo, will have lived 12,600 days since August 1989. I call these ‘bonus days’ because I should not have lived them. Because in August 1989 I attempted suicide.

By sheer circumstance I didn't die.

12, 600 Days is the R&D towards a new solo work where I examine what it means to be in my 50s, looking at myself as a 17 year old girl who ended up living a ‘bonus life’ and dancing ‘bonus dances’. What it means to have, by chance, remained alive, and go onto learn so many valuable lessons about life, art, therapy, family, love, living with chronic health conditions, sexuality, spirituality and science.

And also what it means to still have a moral ambiguity towards suicide.

Through mentorship from three iconic British choreographers (emilyn claid, Wendy Houstoun and Pete Shenton), the lives they have also lived, and the dances they have also danced, I will explore the thematic."

Cover Photo Credit: Philippa Donnellan 

Learn more about Rita and her collaborators.

Rita Marcalo

Rita Marcalo is the Artistic Director of Instant Dissidence, a dance company based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

As a socially and ecologically engaged company, Instant Dissidence foregrounds the role of dance as a social engine. The company’s work resists the idea of art as an object produced by a special kind of person called the‘artist’, and work is often co-created in dialogue with (and performed by) non-professional artists about issues which matter to them: the people whom Rita assembles for each Instant Dissidence project become ‘artivists’, enacting the power of connecting art and social consciousness. Instant Dissidence believes in the ecological necessity of shifting art-making away from its current ego-centric paradigm (art about humans, for humans) to an eco-centric paradigm (apost-humanist epistemology where humans are conceived as intertwined with, and dependent upon, nonhuman life).

In October 2018 the United Nations warned that humans had 12 years to create a new civilization in order to avoid a climate and biodiversity catastrophe, and Rita made a pledge: over the next 12 years Instant Dissidence would make 12 works, each acting as a mirror to society as to the direction of travel. Since then the company created 5 works in 5 years, which have gained national and international acclaim and been the subject of various conference presentations/publications: 2018/19-The Rebellion (Arts Council of England,Northern School of Contemporary Dance). 2019/20-Dancing The Virus Apocalypse (Arts Council of England, CLAY). 2020/21- Borrisokane Is Dancing (Communities Integration Fund, Dance Ireland). 2021/2022- ... As If Trying NotTo Own The Earth (Dublin Dance Festival, Bealtaine, Dublin City Council, Arts Council of Ireland). 2022/2023- SlowMo (Perform Europe).

2022 saw the company take on the international stage: the work SlowMo was one of 19 projects EU-wide selected by Perform Europe, Marcalo was the selected Irish artist by CROWD-International Dance Exchange (residency in Finland) and by the Centre Culturel Irlandais (residency in Paris), the company's work was the subject of a feature piece in European dance magazine Springback, and Marcalo presented at three international arts & climate change conferences (Sweden, Denmark and Italy). In Ireland, support from the Arts Council enabled the development of two new dance & food activism concepts, and Marcalo was commissioned to deliver presentations as part of the Places Matter Arts Council conference and Creative Europe Ireland's Culture & Climate event. A Spring 2023 writing commission by Create for Create News 33 is here.

In 2023 Instant Dissidence received one of the inaugural Culture Moves Europe’s Residency Hosts Grants (Creative Europe), enabling the company to host a Performance & Ecological Practice Residency in Cloughjordan Ecovillage in 2024, in partnership with performance artists from Slovenia and France. 2024 will see Marcalo working with Wendy Houstoun, emilyn claid and Pete Shenton as mentors for a new work titled 12,600 Days(with an initial residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan, Ireland), and the productionof a Dancing The Orchard: an Arts Council funded work connecting dance andapple juice pressing.

Headshot Image: Rita Marcalo

emilyn claid

emilyn claid’s career stretches back to the 1960s when she was a ballet dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and the 1970s when she was co-founder of experimental collective X6 Dance Space in London, a pioneering organisation for New Dance. In the 1980s she was artistic director of Extemporary Dance Theatre and in the 1990s choreographed for companies such as Phoenix and CandoCo. Working as an independent dance artist emilyn made and performed a series of iconic solo works in which she found an authentic voice as alesbian-queer artist. emilyn is also an emeritus professor and a Gestalt psychotherapist an dhas recently published FALLING Through Dance and Life, (Bloomsbury 2021), a book thatre-thinks Western culture’s physical, metaphorical, and psychological relationship to gravity.emilyn is currently touring the solo show ‘emilyn claid, UNTITLED’.

Wendy Houstoun

Houstoun is a movement/theatre artist whose work has developed a uniquely distinctive style combining movement with text, and meaning with humour. Since starting with Ludus Dance in 1980, Houstoun has created a substantial body of internationally touring solo work in pieces confronting the themes of ageing, death, drinking and the state of England with typical commitment and irreverence: Haunted, Daunted and Flaunted (95-98), Happy Hour (98-99), 48 Almost Love Lyrics (2003), Desert Island Dances (2005), Keep Dancing (2008), 50 Acts (2012), Pact with Pointlessness (2016), Hell Hath No Fury (2019) and 60 ACTS (2021).

Over this time Houstoun has made substantial contributions (in large and small stages, specific sites, on film and installation) to the following influential companies:

  • DV8 Physical Theatre (My Body, Your Body, If Only..., Strange Fish and Bound to Please)
  • Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment (Bloody Mess and The World in Pictures)
  • Vincent Dance Company (Motherland, In Loco Parentis, Art of Attachment, Home Truths)
  • Lumiere and Son Theatre (Brightside, Vulture Culture, Deadwood)
  • The Kosh (touring prisons, hospitals, boys clubs and theateres)
  • Ludus Dance Company (touring Schools and community centres)

And the following individual artists: David Hinton, Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, Nigel Charnock, Rose English (The Double Wedding, The Beloved).


Houstoun has created works for the following companies: Candoco (Imperfect Storm), Verve (DIY Theatre), VCA (Unruly Night), York Dance Project (On The Range), Performance Space Sydney with Narelle Benjamin, Michael Whaitesand Julie Anne Long (In The Dark).


She has also created a series of improvised evenings (Stupid Women) with independent dancers (Jo Fong, TC Howard, Jane Mkernan, Anna Williams,Grace Surman, Lucy Suggate, Mary Pearson, Ella Mesma, Paula Hampson,Andrea Buckley, Viv Wood, Rachel Krische).


Houstoun has taught extensively: internationally in long workshops (Melbourne International Workshop Festival, ImpulsTanz in Vienna, Hamu in Prague, B12 in Berlin, Hollins University in Berlin, LaSalle Singapore, VCA Melbourne), open classes in the UK, and mentored younger artists.


Houstoun has also been developing her writing  practice with contributions being published in Live Art Almanac, Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage (ed. Daniel Sack, Routledge), What I Think About When I Think About Dancing (pub: Campbell Town City Bicentennial Art Gallery), and Bloody Language (York, New York-York St John University). She has also contributed as text/sound editor for DV8 Physical Theatre’s Verbatim Projects (To Be Straight With You, Can We Talk About This).


Pete Shenton

Pete Shenton has been working as a dance artist, comedy performer, deviser, writer, director and teacher since 1994. He is one half of pioneering comedy dance theatre makers New Art Club With whom he has been presenting ground breaking performances nationally and internationally since 2001. Their shows have been made for and performed in a huge variety of contexts and venues from small pubs, school playing fields, major international dance and comedy festivals,opera houses, football stadiums and even in those weird places called theatres. Their work has been translated for performance into French and Mandarin–which really made it tricky for some of the audience in Rochdale that time.

He is a senior lecturer in Dance and Performing Arts and Programme Leader for MAChoreography at De Montfort University, where he is also studying for a PhD by Extended Professional Experience.

He is a member of the board of trustees for FABRIC and is a regular contributor to its Centre for Advanced Training .Pete is resident director and writer for Unanima Theatre who create and perform devised work based on the lived experience of the company members, all of whom have learning and developmental disabilities.He has worked on various theatre projects as a director/choreographer/movement director,including for Curve Theatre, Derby Theatres, Spark Arts, Bamboozle and Laurie Lorry. He works regularly as a mentor/artistic advisor/dramaturg with a wide variety of artists and companies including in 2024 Rita Marcalo and early years dance company Turned on its Head.

He lives in Leicester with his partner, two feral/adult children and their (reasonably) well-trained dog.