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Michael Keegan-Dolan

Michael Keegan-Dolan photographed by Richard Gilligan
Born in 1969, Michael Keegan-Dolan lives in his family ancestral home in County Longford. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre.

Productions for Fabulous Beast include: Sunday Lunch (1997), Fragile (1999), The Flowerbed (2000), The Christmas Show (2001), Giselle (2003), The Bull (2005), James Son of James (2007), The Rite of Spring (2009), Helen and Hell (2010), and Rian (2011).

Most recently, he directed and choreographed a new production of Handel’s masterpiece Julius Caesar, at the London Coliseum, for English National Opera. Other choreographic work includes: Ariodante, Manon and Alcina (English National Opera); The Rake’s Progress (La Monnaie, Royal Opera House); Faust and Macbeth (Royal Opera House); The Duchess of Malfi, Carousel and The Oedipus Plays (National Theatre); Idomeneo (Royal Flanders Opera); The Love for Three Oranges (Cologne Opera); Pique Dame and Ariodante (Bavarian State Opera).

Rian was nominated for a 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award. Giselle, The Bull and The Rite of Spring were all nominated for Olivier awards and in 2008 Michael won the UK Critics’Circle Award for Best Modern Choreography for The Bull. In 2004, Giselle won the Judges’ Special Award at the Irish Times Theatre Awards. Both Michael and Fabulous Beast received a nomination for the 2009 Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities.

Michael and writer Enda Walsh were awarded the 2012 Meadows Prize by the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (SMU), and they spent three weeks in residence at SMU, workshopping a new dance theatre production.


Richard Gilligan

Why did you choose the photographer you worked with?

Richard took an amazing shot for Fabulous Beast in 2010. It was of a naked dancer brandishing a large knife, perched on the end of a brass bed intent on slaughtering older women lying asleep in the bed.  The photograph was taken in a field in Ireland in December on a cold and windy night. The photograph was so strong I asked Richard back to photograph the Rian rehearsals and he also shot portraits of the company for the Rian programme. He was the natural choice for this commission.

How did you come across him/her?

I met Richard through Conor and David who design our website, stationary, print material and t-shirts. They had worked with him before I met them and recommended him highly. His experience photographing skate-boarders has proved useful when shooting dance and theatre.

What was it that you wanted to express about yourself? Why this photo/this composition?

My little two year old daughter, Ellie had head-butted me on the bridge of my nose with her front two teeth the day before this photograph was taken. We decided not to hide this in the photograph. The work I make is always a true reflection of the process. There are no tricks or illusions. I like to think this portrait shares some of these same principles.

Michael Keegan-Dolan photographed by Richard Gilligan
Michael Keegan-Dolan © Richard Gilligan