Meet Linda Cullen who spent her residency looking at the role of motherhood.
One of Circus Factory’s aim is to provide a training and development space for artists; this is done by daily use of our training facility and through the Circus Factory Residency Programmes: Factory Bites and Factory Days. Let’s meet the artists who were awarded a residency with Circus Factory Cork 2022.
Hi Linda, tell us about yourself generally?
I am one of the youth leaders and creative directors of the youth programme at Circus Factory Cork. I feel totally blessed to have this job. Circus is super diverse so you are constantly learning new things and being challenged. My first ever circus training was in Circus Elleboog in Amsterdam, I was only 19 and the circus tutors took me in like I was family. It was a totally amazing experience and I got trained in their social circus curriculum. I trained at Carampa Madrid in swinging trapeze and contemporary dance. I had zero money at the time and cleaned the circus as part payment and all my earnings from creating fire shows paid the rest of the tuition fees. When I eventually returned to Ireland I just wanted to study so I spent a few years studying silversmithing and shiatsu. The circus bug eventually came back and that’s where I met some circus crew in Cork and the journey continued…
I toured Ireland with different aerial shows, did tons of walkabouts, the best one being a granny giving out free tea. I toured as part of an educational programme about social and environmental issues with a company called Hehehaha.
Nowadays I work with Noelle Ní Ríagáin. It keeps evolving which is fun between shows, forests, and walkabouts all looking at how women hold ceremonial space. I am also developing work with Etaoin Melville looking at motherhood in modern-day society. The residency was based on this work.
Tell us about your work?
I am a multidisciplinary artist, currently developing performances using song, text and aerial dance. My recent performances engage topics of femininity, ceremony, and motherhood.
I received the Agility Award 21 to develop a work in progress called BackBone. A work in progress was shown on March 26th 2022 at Circus Factory Cork. This collaboration was with visual artist Etaoin Melville, a multidisciplinary performance using animation, text, aerial dance and projection mapping. The performance reflects on how we perceive ourselves as mothers and the self-worth that we attach to the role of caregiver and procreator. I question why the role of motherhood can be so undermined and has no monetary weight and the relentless challenge of creating balance between the dual roles of career and motherhood. As a mother and artmaker, I would like to research the self-worth that is attached to the role of caregiver and procreator and the changing dynamics of motherhood in modern society.
Which residency were you awarded? Can you share with us what you did / intend on doing with the award?
I received the Factory Bites, a week-long residency where I worked with mentor Rachel Ní Bhraonáin. Rachel is a dance artist who makes multidisciplinary shows and short films. She uses storytelling that merges with movement, writing, sound and costume design to create emotionally honest work. She was awarded the wild card award at the Dublin Fringe Festival for her show Losing your Body. Her short film Marian was also selected by AEMI to be screened at Gaze Film Festival 2020.
The residency was based on developing ideas around choreography, looking at text, and researching movement in context to personal writing and images. We developed ideas on Aerial Cocoon, looking at spaces where parts of the body were not shown. We lookied at the invisibility connected to the role of motherhood, and developing choreography using the Cocoon as a metaphor for the womb. We also spent time developing skills on single-point harness and using a pram as a counterweight to my body and the stories connected to this image.
This is a youtube link a work in Progress at Circus Factory Cork.
What is the goal of the residency? Is there a show you would like to develop / a professional goal you’re working towards?
I have applied for a Bursary for this work and Etaoin has applied for an Agility award. We would both like to take time to research and develop ideas more before getting back into a room together and finalizing the work. We have a great team that has been part of this journey. I would love to see all of us being able to tour this work in the future. Here’s Hoping!!