Ensemble on the Edge 2022


This is an invitation to artists who want to reconnect - who have been feeling isolated or who feel excluded from both the existing and reboot of the creative landscape. Let’s find our way back.

Ensemble on the Edge is a new initiative that will bring together a small group of creatives to explore how we can build an arts sector that is fairer, more adventurous and inclusive, through a series of creative think tanks.

Who are we?

The sessions will be led by Gemma Gallagher in association with Mermaid Arts Centre and is part of a process devised and funded through the Arts Council of Ireland Artists Bursary Grant.

A note about what has inspired this process and call out: 'I like many people have felt the isolation in the past few years. I've had long gaps in work before, but each time it feels a little bit harder to find the momentum to start again. Do you relate? This idea was born from my own sense of disconnect. So I want to try something different. I want to create a forum, a think tank if you like. This is an experiment. A selfish act created in the hope of feeling less on the edge.’ Gemma Gallagher

Gemma is a Theatre maker committed to the exploration of new ways of presenting the emotional and instinctual language of theatre inspired by real life events and experiences. She was a co-founder of Shadowbox with whom she was involved in devising and directing a number of productions. Most recently she has been developing a semi-auto biographical theatre piece, Complicit, exploring whistleblowing in social care.
Gemma has a long term relationship with Mermaid Arts. This project connects powerfully with Mermaid’s priorities to champion artists by providing an artist-led creative hub and artistic resource for artists and companies and be a pipeline for new work through offering practical supports for the creative development of artists and their work.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for artists interested in shaping new and inclusive practice, particularly artists whose work is forward-looking and who may be struggling to connect right now.

The scheme is open to individual artists, including but not limited to: Actors, Choreographers, Circus/Street Arts Performers, Composers, Creative Producers, Curators/Programmers (working in an arts context), Dancers, Designers (e.g. set, costume, lighting), Directors, Dramaturgs, Facilitators (participatory arts, youth theatre), Film Artists, Literary Writers (e.g. novelists, poets), Musicians, Playwrights, Picture-book Illustrators, Singers, Visual Artists. The applicant does not have to earn their living exclusively from their work in the arts, but they must self-identify as an artist.

What are we hoping to do?

This is a call to be part of something again. Do you want to start to create again, and reflect on your work for the future? We want to provide a space to meet and create a supportive environment to connect again and share creatively. No real agenda just a place to support and help to feel a part of something, to explore ideas and share and play.

Bring us your games, your methods, your thoughts, your energy.
Bring us your hope, your questions, your joy, your pain.
Bring us your openness and desire to create, even though you felt you never would again....
Bring us your doubt, your fatigue, your 'can I really do this anymore', bring us your blank canvas and let's see what we can do when strangers get together in a room.

What can participating artists expect?

Participating artists will attend 6 half day sessions at Mermaid Arts Centre. We are asking you to commit to all sessions if possible. The sessions will be run in person but an online provision will also be available - please state this as your preference when applying. We want you to feel safe if you are anxious in any way about returning to in person work let us know what we can do to ease this.
Dates: Wednesdays 8ht June - 13th July Mermaid Arts Centre, Main Street, Bray, Co.Wicklow 10-1 or 1-4 (TBC)

An honorarium of €420 will be offered to all participating artists for the 6 session programme.

How to apply?

We are asking interested individuals to send us a CV and some indication of why you’d like to take part.

Please do not spend too much time on this application. Just give us some indication of who you are and why this appeals to you, in whatever format you are most comfortable with. And please include your availability for the above dates and and preference for mornings or afternoons.

Application deadline is Friday 27th May 5pm.

We particularly encourage applications from members of groups who are underrepresented in the cultural sector and welcome applications from people of all genders, nationalities, races, cultural backgrounds, ages, religions, languages, different abilities, sexual orientations or socio-economic statuses.

This is what we hope will be the first step in a developing process and for practical reasons we are limiting the numbers, but there will be other activities as the project developed
Submit your application or any questions you have to gemmagallagher22@gmail.com

The development of Ensemble on the Edge has been funding through thanks to the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.