Described as ‘one of the most daring and highly original dance theatre companies in the world’ (The Times), Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre is an international ensemble based in County Longford, Ireland, led by Artistic Director Michael Keegan-Dolan.
Most recent work is a new Stravinsky double bill, The Rite of Spring & Petrushka (co-production with Sadler’s Wells). A re-imagining of Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Olivier-nominated version of The Rite of Spring, which premiered to critical acclaim at the London Coliseum in 2009, is accompanied by a new interpretation of Petrushka, creating an enthralling double bill of dance theatre. The Rite of Spring & Petrushka opened at Sadler’s Wells, London in April 2013, followed by performances at Galway Arts Festival; Movimentos Festival, Wolfsburg, Germany; and the Brisbane and Melbourne Festivals.
In Rian, eight dancers from around the world and four of Ireland’s top musicians unite with Michael Keegan-Dolan and Liam Ó Maonlaí to create an expressive cultural hybrid. Rian taps into healthy life-enhancing traditions with influences from faraway places to evoke a timeless vision of the real indescribable nature of things. It premiered at Dublin Theatre Festival 2011, receiving an Irish Times Theatre Award nomination, and transferred to Sadler’s Wells, London. In 2012 and 2013, Rian played in Spain, Germany, Sweden, Austria, and at Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, Eigse Carlow Arts Festival, New York Lincoln Center, Sydney Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, and Esplanade, Singapore. Rian won a 2013 New York Dance and Performance (‘Bessie’) Award.
Other recent Fabulous Beast work includes Julius Caesar (2012), directed and choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan, a co-production with English National Opera, and Helen + Hell (2010).
Fabulous Beast is also known for several ground-breaking and controversial productions, delivered in a unique style blending narrative and physical theatre, dance, and song and set in the Irish Midlands. These include two more Olivier Award-nominated productions, Giselle (2003) and The Bull (2005), and also James Son of James (2007), which were co-produced with the Dublin Theatre Festival and bite at the Barbican Centre (London), of which Fabulous Beast was an Artistic Associate. Fabulous Beast’s productions prior to Giselle are: Sunday Lunch (1997), Fragile (1999), The Flowerbed (2000), and The Christmas Show (2001).
Fabulous Beast has gained wide international recognition through performances at major cultural festivals around the world. As well as the extensive 2012/2013 tours of Rian and The Rite of Spring & Petrushka, Giselle was performed at the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas, USA, 2004, the Festival Dialog Wroclaw, Poland (2007), the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2008) and the World Stage programme at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (2010), and was seen again by Irish audiences at the 2008 Galway Arts Festival. In 2008, the Dance Touring Partnership presented an extensive UK tour of James Son of James and The Bull was performed as part of spielzeit’ europa at the Berliner Festipiel.
Giselle won the Judges’ Special Award at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2004. The Bull (2007) won Michael Keegan-Dolan the UK Critics Circle Award for Best Modern Choreography. Fabulous Beast received a nomination for the 2009 Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities.
Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre is supported by Arts Council Ireland. International touring is supported by Culture Ireland.