Epson projection pushes the limits with CoisCéim dance theatre

CoisCéim Dance Theatre is one of Ireland's leading dance theatre companies known for its expertise and track record in presenting highly original work to audiences large and small across different artforms and media.

The world premiere of PALIMPSEST was the cornerstone of a wide-ranging programme to celebrate CoisCéim’s 30th year and took place as part of St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, Ireland 2024. PALIMPSEST was created by CoisCéim’s Artistic Director, David Bolger, and was produced by Sarah Latty and Bridget Webster. This large-scale, site-specific dance theatre production was inspired by key moments in Irish history and was part of Ireland’s prestigious ART: 2023 programme, which was a Decade of Centenaries Collaboration between The Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. 

The partnership between Epson and CoisCéim came into existence to fulfil a need for both parties in relation to technological experimentation. For Epson this meant showcasing the excellence and versatility of its projection equipment, and for CoisCéim this meant pushing the limits of what a performance experience can be - merging past and present, real and imagined through panoramic visuals and enabled the onstage performance action to inhabit the very fabric of the scenic design.

After initial discussions between CoisCéim and Epson confirming the shared values and purpose behind a partnership with one another, CoisCéim shared information about the PALIMPSEST production and the venue, including its unusually deep (20 metres) stage area. It became clear that this production offered Epson the perfect breadth of scale to showcase the excellence and versatility of its projection range.

Epson provided CoisCéim with the following equipment:

  • 2 x EB-L1755U 15,000-lumen laser projectors
  • 1 x EB-PU1008W 8,5000-lumen laser projector
  • 1 x Epson EB-L635SU 6,000-lumen fixed lens laser projector
  • 1 x ELPLX02S Ultra-short-throw lens
  • 1 x ELPLU04 short throw lens
  • 1 x ELPLU03S short throw lens

Once the projection technology had been delivered, technical specialists from both Epson and CoisCéim worked to identify different on-stage projection surfaces, define areas for projection mapping, calculate throw distances, and test and trial projected content in alignment with the PALIMPSEST production script. The depth of the collaboration between technical specialists from both parties was critical to the success of the project and significantly enriched the value of the partnership.

The projections at PALIMPSEST were intricately laced throughout the 1.5 hour-long performance, and Projection Designer Neil O’Driscoll worked closely with award-winning set designer Maree Kearns to incorporate multiple projection surfaces into the work - ranging from delicate imagery on a kerchief mask on a performer’s face, to large-scale likenesses of O’Connell Street on plastic slash curtains and pre-recorded dancers revealed on a dramatic kabuki drop. In addition to the overhanging projector installation, an additional projector was also disguised in a suitcase located on-stage to accomplish unique angles and scale, and projectors were also used to display text, graphics, live camera feeds, and abstract imagery onto the set to elucidate the story. All of this was possible only through the depth of collaboration between technical specialists from Epson and CoisCéim.

Neil O‘Driscoll commented: “It was rare to have so much scope for projection; we were very fortunate to have it for a show of this scale. To have all that technology and associated expertise at our disposal was a rare privilege, and the fact that they were all of the same make was a help; there was less worry about misfires or crossed wires between systems. We were able to hit three different parts of the set and the floor, too, to create immersive visuals when called for, and use projection as a lighting source for the dancers - stretching boundaries of artform and audience experience. Overall, the experience was a great one. Projector rental is very expensive, and my creative ambitions on most small to mid-range projects are often limited by this, so I was very grateful for the sponsorship and collaboration of Epson and their staff.”

Article Information

coisceim, dance, ireland, partnerships, theatre

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Key facts

  • Epson and CoisCéim Dance Theatre formed a partnership to explore new boundaries for projection in theatre that saw four high-brightness projectors and a range of different lenses used.

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