The Monthly interviews Gary Clarke from the Gary Clarke Company – Part 2 – Working with DU Dance

How did you get to work with DU Dance?

I think that started when we brought “Coal” over to Northern Ireland about five years ago. I know Mags Byrne was there at the time and she really loved what we were doing and she was enthused about community participation. She really connected with the company and we kept in touch.

Mags Byrne – Du Dance

We were due to tour with “Wasteland” and we were coming to Belfast and then Covid happened. We had to cancel that show, but the relationship continued and we delivered online workshops working with young people and that went incredibly well.

Mags got in touch about a year ago and asked if we would like to come over and deliver a package of professional development for professional community facilitators, to talk about the work we do, how we do it, and given that there are not a lot of opportunities for facilitators in Belfast to get involved in development work, to meet up with people, to network, to learn and to exchange ideas. We decided to do that.

We developed a programme, and alongside that programme we worked with 60 young people from all over Ireland, and we linked that to our show, “Wasteland”;  the idea being that we work with everyone and then people come and see and experience the show.

Where to now?

We have a few more shows of “Wasteland” to go in the UK and then pretty much straight away I will be doing research for my next production. I will be gathering collaborators together and I will be creating the work between June and December and hopefully it will be ready for January 2024. It will be a continuation of the work explored in “Coal” and “Wasteland”, a trilogy called “The Thatcher Trilogy”. I was one of Thatcher’s children as I grew up in the 80’s during Thatcher’s rule so I have been affected by the politics of that period in a number of ways.

The company has also been named a National Portfolio Organisation with Arts Council England and that ensures us funding for three years and we will be shaping the company so that we can deliver on the award.

Photo – Joe Armitage

(Cover Photo on CAP Website – Josh Hawkins)

For more information and to connect with the work of the Gary Clarke Company see the following link –

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.