SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has selected two Irish artists – choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan and playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh – as the recipients of the 3rd annual Meadows Prize arts residency.
Dublin native Michael Keegan-Dolan has been widely referred to as “the most unique choreographic voice to have emerged from Ireland in the last half century.” He is co-founder and artistic director of Dublin’s Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, an award-winning company launched in 1997. He has written, directed, choreographed and co-produced critically acclaimed works with Fabulous Beast that combine the visual element of dance with the narrative power of theatre. His choreographic works have been produced at prestigious venues throughout Europe and the U.S., including the Royal Opera House in London, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, and the Houston Grand Opera. In 2009, SMU Theatre Professor Bill Lengfelder collaborated on and performed in a Fabulous Beast production of The Rite of Spring that was nominated for a 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.
Enda Walsh, also a Dublin native, achieved prominence when he won two prestigious playwriting awards in 1997, the George Devine Award and the Stewart Parker Award, with his play Disco Pigs, a story of an obsessive teen relationship that ends in tragedy. He has since written numerous other award-winning plays, including The Walworth Farce and The New Electric Ballroom, and has been named by the Guardian as “one of the most dazzling wordsmiths of contemporary theatre.” In 2009, SMU’s Meadows Theatre staged a production of Walsh’s play Chat Room as part of its “Three Repertory Shows” season opener. Walsh is also a successful screenwriter; his 2008 biopic, Hunger, told the story of the final days of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and won a host of awards, including the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Walsh currently lives in London.
The pair will be in residency at SMU at the same time in Fall 2012 for four weeks. They will collaborate with SMU theatre and dance students to create a new dance/theatre piece tentatively slated for a major European festival in 2013. The piece also will receive public workshop performances in Dallas during their residency.
“Michael and Enda were nominated separately by two individuals, but we subsequently learned that not only have they known each other for more than 20 years, they were looking for an opportunity to collaborate on a large project,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “They are both daring artists with compatible aesthetics, and it seemed a perfect opportunity for our students and for Dallas.”
Inaugurated in October 2009, the Meadows Prize is presented each fall to up to two pioneering artists. It includes support for a four-to-eight-week residency in Dallas, in addition to a $25,000 stipend. In return, recipients are expected to interact in a substantive way with Meadows students and collaborating arts organizations, and to leave a lasting legacy in Dallas, such as a work of art that remains in the community, a composition or piece of dramatic writing that would be performed locally, or a new way of teaching in a particular discipline.