Horrible Creature

Sarah Ryan in ‘Horrible Creature’.  DOP: Will Humphris

Sarah Ryan in ‘Horrible Creature’.

DOP: Will Humphris


I am creating a second dance film about Lucia Joyce, which will premiere at the Irish Film Institute, Dublin, in June 2019. The film is inspired by Lucia's life in Switzerland between 1915 and the late 1930s. Each scene is choreographed, and filmed at locations where Lucia would have spent time - including Locarno where she holidayed as a child, Zurich where she attended school, and Prangins Hospital in Nyon where she received psychiatric treatment in the 1930's. 

I am committed to offering Lucia's story as truthfully as I can. Although many of her writings were destroyed following her death, the scenes and movement within the film will be developed as much as possible from Lucia's own words and experiences. I will also include personal reflections based on the themes explored in the film, as well as commenting on the wider issues that women face in contemporary society. 

I am so thankful for this opportunity <3

The dream team involved -

Our cinematographer is Will Humphris from England. I’m so delighted to work with Will for the first time. He is a very sound man and extremely experienced. You can read more about his amazing work here, and thanks so much to Zoe at My Management UK for arranging everything! <3 - https://www.mymanagement.co.uk/artists/will-humphris

The film will feature dance artist Michelle Boulé. Michelle is a renowned performer, creator and teacher based in New York. I am thrilled to have her involved in the project. I first met Michelle and witnessed her incredible performance skills at Deborah Hay’s Solo Commissioning Project in 2008 at Findhorn, Scotland.  Michelle is a “Bessie” Award winning dance artist based in NY whose work addresses the physical expression of consciousness. She has received recent commissions, presentations, and residency fellowships from The Chocolate Factory, Met Breuer, Danspace Project, River to River, American Realness, ISSUE Project Room, Movement Research at Judson Church, The Kitchen, MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Movement Research. Her work has also toured to Chicago, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Marcos, Winnipeg, Dublin, and Latvia. Awards include a New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowship, New Music USA Grant, and Boekelheide Creativity Award. As a performer, she has collaborated with Miguel Gutierrez (2001-15), Bebe Miller, John Jasperse, Donna Uchizono, John Scott, and Deborah Hay, amongst others. Boulé has taught technique, improvisation, and creative practice workshops throughout N. and S. America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and is currently faculty at The New School and Movement Research. She maintains a clinical practice in energy and consciousness-based healing as a Certified BodyTalk Practitioner.

The gorgeous and super talented Sarah Ryan is a dance artist based in Dublin. I worked with Sarah for a work-in-progress sharing at Dancehouse Dublin in June 2018, which was supported by Arts and Disability Connect, in partnership with Dance Ireland and The James Joyce Centre Dublin. I’m delighted to have her amazing energy as part of the film! Sarah has worked as a dance performer with a wide range of choreographers, directors and companies from different artistic backgrounds; these include Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Iseli-Chiodi Company, Laura Murphy, Opera Theatre Company, Ponydance, Philip Connaughton, John O’Brien, Jessie Keenan, Liz Roche, Croí Glan, Cie Willie Dorner, amongst others. These works have been included in the Dublin Dance Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival, Cork Midsummers Festival, as well as national tours. She has also worked as an assistant for numerous choreographers on the creation and development of new work including work for the Abbey Theatre, as well as exploring collaboration with different artists for the creation of interdisciplinary immersive performances. Before settling in Ireland Sarah performed and choreographed work in Nantes, France after completing her training at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance.

Also new to the project is the wonderful French performer and creator Céline Larrère. I first met Céline at a Deborah Hay workshop in Paris 4 years ago, and again last September. We have shared some beautiful dancing moments together and i’m looking forward to more in the film! We reunited in Switzerland recently, when she translated my meeting with Prangins Hospital near Nyon. Céline cultivates living-moving objects through various media -dance, voice, performance, installation, photography, writing, cooking, in solo or collaboration. She plants her movement researches into the compost of singular and common experiences offered by our HomoSapiens existence. Her practice roots itself in stimulating and softening the attention to make imaginary choreographic terroirs emerge. Considering life as a movement, a perpetual metamorphosis of the instnat, her dance indefinitely to answer the question : What is moving us and what are we moving ?

An original sound score will be developed by David Best and Ed Chivers, two members of UK group ‘Fujiya and Miyagi'. I have been a massive fan of the band for many years now, since the fabulous Irish choreographer Ella Clarke introduced me to their music in 2006. I'm delighted that they will be part of the work. Fujiya & Miyagi are a British group formed in BrightonEast Sussex in 2000. The current line-up consists of David Best (vocals and guitar), Stephen Lewis (synths and vocals), Ed Chivers (drums), Ben Adamo & Ben Farestuedt (bass and vocals). They have released seven studio albums: Electro Karaoke in the Negative Style (2002), TransparentThings (2006), Lightbulbs (2008), Ventriloquizzing (2011), Artificial Sweeteners (2014), Fujiya & Miyagi (2017), and Different Blades from the Same Pair of Scissors (2017). They are currently signed to Impossible Objects of Desire worldwide.

Costume design is by Ivan Morino Bonica. I worked with Ivan on ‘Medicated Milk’ and he’s a super special and talented designer based in Dublin. Ivan has trained at NCAD in Fashion Design, and also as a dress maker and patternmaker.

Voiceover will be recorded with Rebecca Warner who is based in Dublin. I’ve collaborated with her on two other projects, and she’s a naturally talented genius! Rebecca is an actress and theatre maker.  She has an MA in Drama and Theatre from NUI Galway. Recent credits include PALS and Vardo with the award winning ANU Productions. 

The film is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland’s Dance Project Award. I am also extremely grateful for the support of The Irish Embassy in Bern, Prangins Hospital in Nyon, the amazing Ticino Film Commission, Tanzarchiv Zurich, Dance Ireland, Fringe Lab at Dublin Fringe, Arts and Disability Ireland, The James Joyce Centre Dublin, and The Irish Film Institute Dublin. Also, thanks to everyone at the Zurich James Joyce Foundation for their ongoing support and advice, and the various generous and friendly locations throughout Switzerland!