Longford-born Marguerite Donlon is an internationally acclaimed choreographer, theater and opera director. 

Marguerite has curated Step Up Dance Project 2019, where six promising young dancers have been chosen to train in Limerick for a period of 10 weeks this summer, culminating with an Irish tour in August.

We asked Marguerite for her choice cultural picks...

FILM

As I'm in Limerick for the next few weeks, I'm looking forward to seeing Glora Bell at the Belltable IFI club on Monday nights. Its a remake of the original Chilean-Spanish film by Sabastian Lelio, but this time stars the amazing Julianne Moore.

MUSIC

At the moment I'm listening to a number of different Irish artists. Saint Sister are a female duo from Northern Ireland who use a harp, synth, their voices and a loop pedal to make beautiful and catchy music. Lisa O’Neill puts her own spin on folk songs, both covers and originals, she has such a unique voice and I think she’ll go far. Lastly, I loved Villagers' most recent album, it’s upbeat and modern but in keeping with their very particular sound.

BOOK

I recently went sailing around the Greek islands, and when possible I like to find a book that has something to do with the country and visiting. I came across Stephen Fry's Mythos which deals with the Greek myths we're told in a way only Stephen Fry can. In Fry’s opinion, the Greek gods are the best and worst of us. They tell us who we are. This book is smart and funny and great fun to read.

PLAY

I didn't see Dylan Coburn Gray's Citysong at the Abbey, but it's on my list for Galway Arts Festival. His previous plays Boys and Girls and Drawing Crosses On A Dusty Windowpane were both presented at the Dublin Fringe Festival, and both were deservedly award-winning. 

TV

As I don’t have a regular schedule and find it difficult to sit down in front of a television. I rely on Netflix to feed me with things worth binging on. Series like Extraordinary Homes, The Blacklist and Derry Girls keep me entertained but I could watch Peaky Blinders again and again just to see Cillian Murphy in action - in my opinion, he is one of the finest actors I know.

GIG

Dolan's pub in Limerick constantly has a fantastic music line-up, I always keep my eye on their website when I am in the city for upcoming gigs. Bell X1 play King John’s Castle as part of their programme in July which I'm looking forward to.

ART

I'm hoping to make it to Dublin for a weekend in the coming weeks and the RHA Annual Open Exhibition is definitely on my to-do list. It is usually chock-a-block featuring work by Irish artists and offering a snapshot of current Irish art and the ways in which artists are seeking the world today.

RADIO

The Documentary On One series on RTÉ Radio 1 is always inspiring, and very often moving and poignant. My most recent listen was to Carlo Gebler revisiting the Magilligan Prison to catch up with some of the men he taught creative writing to eleven years ago. The value of arts education shines bright in this oasis of creativity where prisoners are supported and encouraged to try out and pursue creative writing, music, art and other subjects. Gebler's question as to whether he had made any different was answered positively in spades.

Listen to Documentary On One: Inside Stories

TECH

Bouncer is a security app with a unique premise. The app lets you grant temporary permissions to applications. So, for instance, you can let Facebook access your location long enough to check into a place, and Bouncer disables the permission once you leave Facebook. This is a great way to use all of the features of a social media app without digging into your settings to disable those permissions or giving those apps permanent access to your information.

Also I just recently discovered ChirpOMatic, an app for birdsong recognition, a bit like a biological version of Shazam which identifies songs. I love this kind of technology which gives instant answers to small but niggling questions.

THE NEXT BIG THING...

I'm looking forward to having smart, mentally sane, wise, responsible political leaders voted into power especially in some of the larger countries...

Step Up Dance Project 2019 August Tour Dates: Dance Limerick, Mon 26 August, Backstage Theatre, Longford Wed 28 August, Firkin Crane, Cork Fri 30 August and Project Arts Centre, Dublin Sat 31 August - find out more about the project here.