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My interest in performance and creating participatory community events was born after attending Bed and Breakfast by Heike Schmidt in the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2005. Audience gathered at the Avalon House Bed and Breakfast at 9.30 pm, brushed their teeth, put on their pyjamas, and picked a bed among the 30 or so bunk beds contained in the large dorm. When everyone was settled, Heike came in with her cello player and they started to play music and sing lullabies from all over the world. The performance lasted 2 hours, after which people fell asleep. At 7.30 am the performers came into the room again, singing a loud wake-up song and throwing newspapers on the beds. Performers and audience ate a picnic breakfast together on a bed sheet spread out on the dorm floor.

I left the show transformed and glowing from the sense of community that had been created, the intimacy and beauty of the songs, the connexion that had been established between the performers and the audience. All this with an idea that seemed revolutionary through its simplicity.

In February 2006, I shared a month-long Residency in Joensuu, Finland, with fellow artist Nina Tanis. As I watched Nina make friends with endless strangers through her impromptu outdoor happenings and distributing cookies and packages to walkers-by on Valentine’s Day (Friendship Day in Finland), I started to question the limitations of my own practice at the time: painting in the solitude of the studio. Performance ideas started rushing in.

2006 Speak My Language
Out of Site, Michelle Browne, curator, Dublin Fringe Festival

sign advertising free English conversations

Fiona teaching English on the Street to strangers

Fiona teaching English to strangers on the street


2006 Personality Café
Dublin Fringe Festival (artist and curator, with The Volley Ball Club)

Poster for Personality Cafe 2006

A cafe staffed exclusively by older people

2007 Personality Café
Dublin Fringe Festival, (as artist and curator, with The Volley Ball Club)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK6EVoQ8bJw

poster for Personality Cafe 2007

Romantic Karaoke Gone with the Wind


2008 Film-Karaoke
Culture Night, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork

Film Karaoke Title Gone with the Wind

2008 Live Television
Interactive Art Installations, Killruddery House and Gardens, Wicklow

2009 Live Television
5 Lamps Festival, Charleville Library, Dublin

Fiona telling stories dressed up as a Television, a child comes up to her looking for the remote control

2010 We have all the time in the world
5 Lamps Festival, Connolly House, Dublin

3 young adults knitting letters of the alphabet

fiona knitting letters of the alphabet with passers by

 

Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda

2011 Story Nap
5 Lamps Festival, Connolly House, Dublin

2011 Don‘t move, you‘re in the picture!
5 Lamps Festival, Connolly House, Dublin

2011 StoryHouse (co/curated with Nina Tanis)
Cafes Carte Blanche, Clonmel Junction Festival
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ld2yGTXyg0 (from 5.26) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIyTI9QUY3s (from 4.45)

2011 A Georgian Lift
Phizzfest, Dublin

2012 Singing Medicine
5 Lamps Festival, Connolly House, Dublin

2012 Astrology of the 5 Lamps
5 Lamps Festival, Connolly House, Dublin
https://vimeo.com/42308365

2013 The Garden Menagerie (with Nina Tanis)
Cafes Carte Blanche, Clonmel Junction Festival

2014 Musical Table (with Andrew Ilsley)
5 Lamps Festival, Connolly House, Dublin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIshrzD1PCY

2016 Tales on Wheels
5 Lamps Art Festival, Dublin
https://vimeo.com/187671905

2016 Story Nap
Culture Night, Lexicon Library, Dun Laoghaire

2016 Wisdom Fair
Festival of Inclusion, Lexicon Library, Dun Laoghaire