Artistic Director Mags Byrne has been working professionally in dance for over 35 years. She has performed and toured with many contemporary dance companies and choreographed and mounted projects for groups and companies all over Britain and Ireland, as well as in Austria, Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia, Palestine, Romania, South Africa and Switzerland.
Freelance Finance Manager Valerie Catterson studied Latin and political science at Queen’s University Belfast before going on to study accountancy at the University of Ulster. She has over 30 years of experience working as a freelance accountant in the voluntary, charity and arts sectors.
Company Manager Louise Dempster-O’Neil has 30 years of experience in company and project management, fundraising and community development within the public and voluntary sectors, working for large and small organisations in the fields of housing, regeneration, heritage and the arts. She has worked in Leeds, Manchester and, for the last 17 years, in Belfast.
Programme Director for the Youth Engagement Projects, Deborah Hamilton has extensive dance and community arts experience – as a performer, choreographer and previously held positions as a Performing Arts & Dance lecturer at Belfast Metropolitan College, Ulster University and Stranmillis College of Higher Education.
Dr. Philip Johnston danced for several leading dance companies in Europe and Scandinavia. He was the Artistic Director of the Norwegian Modern Dance Company. In the United States Philip received an MFA in Dance and a PhD in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was an Associate Professor in the Dance and Theatre Departments at the University of Illinois where he choreographed and directed many works for the stage for: actors, dancers and singers. Philip is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and a T’ai Chi and Qigong practitioner. His publications include: The Lost Tribe in the Mirror: Four Playwrights of Northern Ireland (pub. Lagan Press) and Nina Fonaroff: Life and Art in Dance (pub. Celtic Cat). Philip will be leading the new Alternative Energies intergenerational programme in Ballycastle.
Sheena Kelly, Director of Sutemos Youth Engagement Project, is a dance artist whose interest lies within the contemporary dance field and community dance practice. She has worked across the UK and Ireland as well as internationally, in Norway, Germany, Spain, Austria, Romania, Italy, South Africa and Switzerland. A graduate of LIPA, over the past 10 years Sheena has gained extensive working experience in youth dance.
Artistic Consultant and internationally renowned choreographer, Royston Maldoom, has been the initiator and leader of numerous dance projects in Northern Ireland and across the world. Now resident in Berlin, he is known particularly for his work in the field of community dance. His work was honoured in the movie Rhythm Is It! and he has received many international honours and awards including: Deutscher Ehren-Tanzpreis; Special Schiller Award; Order of the British Empire; German-British Forum Award; Club der Optimisten. Mags and Royston are particularly well known in the dance world for their work with street and working children in Ethiopia over a period of ten years.
Sean O’Neill first became involved with DU Dance (NI) through Sutemos Youth Engagement Project and has assisted, volunteered as well as performed with the group over the last decade. Through the company he has had the opportunity to perform all over Ireland, Germany and appeared on the BBC National Lottery Show. Sean has also been a member of the Youth Steering Group and was a Young Ambassador for the company. He has a wealth of experience within theatre and dance and is delighted to be working as the Director for the Belfast Boys Youth Engagement Project.
Morag Stuart joined the team as Marketing Co-ordinator in 2021. Morag has over twenty years marketing experience across a broad spectrum of organisations and since 2007 within the arts in Northern Ireland. This includes Wheelworks, Young at Art Events, National Museums Northern Ireland and as a volunteer with the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. She has worked collaboratively with a number of artists, events and partners such as Belfast City Council, Cathedral Quarter Trust, Island Arts Centre, Barnardo’s and QFT.
Rebecca Wallace first became involved with DU Dance (NI) through the Alternative Energies youth engagement programme and over the last 8 years has performed with the group many times and volunteered at projects and events. She is a member of the company’s youth steering group and also a Young Ambassador. With DU Dance, Rebecca has had the opportunity to travel to Germany, perform in venues across the island of Ireland and in 2021, she completed one of the company’s choreographic commissions. In October she began leading Alternatives Youth Engagement Project in Ballymoney and is Dance Assistant to Philip Johnston on the company’s new intergenerational programme in Ballycastle.
Board of directors 2021/22
- Rosamond Bennett, chairperson – chief executive officer of Christian Aid Ireland.
- Les McLean, treasurer – Project Manager, Business Services Organisation. Formerly Heritage Development Manager for Ulster Rugby.
- Valerie Catterson, company secretary – accountant & freelance finance manager.
- Jane Coyle – arts journalist, writer, theatre and dance critic.
- Claire Flynn – Policy and Public Affairs Manager (NI) for The National Lottery Heritage Fund
- Tom Hughes – part of the creative marketing team at BBC Northern Ireland.
- Randall Shannon – former chief executive of the Buxton Festival.
- Arthur Webb – freelance theatre director and arts and education consultant.
Youth Steering Group 2021/22
Dance artists on projects 2020/21
Robert Anderson, Dima Awad, Mags Byrne, Janie Doherty, Annika Drennan, Tori Drew, Robby Graham, Ciran Grey, Brona Jackson, Mekbul Jemal, Junaid Jemal Sendi, Sheena Kelly, Anna Kenrick, Romy Kolb, Sean O’Neill, Mira Rendilheiro, Danny Reid, Mariam Ribon, Mayte Segura, Rachel Shiel, Shiferaw Tarika Birega, Anna Treanor, Dylan Quinn, Meseret Yirga
Artists, technical & support on projects 2020/21
Nikola Arkane – Magician, Siobhan Brown – Musician, Michael Corish – Film, Jim Corr – Photographer, Jane Coyle – Writer, Padraig Coyle – Podcast, Joe Fox – Photographer, Ryan McFarlane – Film, Jim McKeown – Film, Patrick J. O’Reilly – Director, Darren Robinson & Third Source, Matt Sokell – Musician
Volunteers on projects in 2020/21, including:
Mave Dempster-O’Neil, Alisha Platt, Lisa Ryan, Rebecca Wallace.