Roisin Whelan as the recipient of the Stroller's Propel Programme Award 2021/22.

The Strollers Network, Ireland’s largest Arts Centre network, is delighted to announce Dance Artist Roisin Whelan as the recipient of the Propel Programme Award 2021/22.

Following an open call application process the Strollers Network is  delighted to announce Roisin Whelan, Artistic Director of Roisin Whelan Dance Company, as the recipient of the PROPEL Programme Award 2021/22. 

PROPEL is a new, year-long artist development and mentorship programme designed and produced by the Strollers Network, a partnership made up of ten arts centres from across four regions of Ireland. The aim of this programme is to strengthen the ecology of the Irish theatre sector by supporting the development of new work by independent theatre makers and to support the sustainable development of artistic practice through a structured mentorship and training programme designed and delivered in consultation with the artist or company. 

The programme offers a €20,000 bursary to support the early-stage research and development of new work and to cover the cost of ongoing professional development through training and mentorship.  The award also gives access to development and rehearsal spaces in ten Arts Centres across the country, support and mentorship from a panel of experts in producing, fundraising, technical production, dramaturgy, publishing, marketing, finance, cultural entrepreneurship, audience development and engagement, and strategic business development and cultural business management. Finally, this will give the artist an opportunity to present a work-in-progress performance as part of a major Irish festival.

Following the announcement David Francis Moore, Chairperson of the Strollers Network, said, “We are very much looking forward to working with Roisin over the coming year to support her in the development of her artistic practice. We are also incredibly excited to be able to support the strategic growth of an emerging production company that is quickly establishing itself as one of Ireland’s foremost dance theatre companies”. 

Roisin Whelan is a dance artist born in Carlow. Having completed her Bachelor of Performing Arts and Master of Performance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance she then went on to join Black Box Dance Company (Denmark) and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures (UK) as a performer. 

As a choreographer, Roisin is funded by Arts Council Ireland and throughout 2021 will be developing a new children’s show entitled ‘The Galaxy of Occupations’. Roisin also received Business to Arts funding from the Bank of Ireland ‘Begin Together Fund’ and will be releasing a new short dance film entitled ‘Man Down’. Roisin has been supported by LD Dance Shawbrook, Dance Ireland and Backstage Theatre Longford as Artist in Residence (2020) and will be creating her new works with the support of VISUAL Carlow, Tipperary Dance Platform, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Shawbrook Dance and Backstage Theatre Longford this year. Roisin is a member of the Northern Ireland Opera Open Studio as an Emerging Choreographer for the 21/22 season andwas awarded the Ballet Ireland Emerging choreographer award, Activate Residency Award with Backstage Theatre Longford, Dance Ireland Regional Residency Award and LD Dance Performance Residency this year along with the Tipperary Dance Platform Fellowship Award.  Roisin is currently running a large-scale community development project which brings one-to-one movement sessions to residents of the Carlow area  who are aged sixty-five or more and who may be experiencing isolation. 

Speaking about the announcement Roisin Whelan said, “I am thrilled and incredibly grateful to be joining the PROPEL Programme in the coming year. I am at an exciting time in my career where I am beginning to create projects on a large scale and I know the guidance and mentorship of this programme will allow me to take this step on my journey with an incredible team of venues and individuals by my side. The programme will allow me to  propel my career into the future and focus not only on artistic but also strategic elements of my practice which will further develop and enhance my work. I look forward to talking this leap into my future alongside the Strollers Network.”

The Propel Programme will run from August 2021 to July 2022. 

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