performance & dance

Oona Doherty - Hard to Be Soft

Delving deep into the psyche of her native Belfast, the dancer and choreographer presents a searing evocation of the city’s streets.

The multi-disciplinary performance is rich in gloriously simple yet revealing imagery, shot through with a visceral physicality.

Called ‘one of the most exciting talents to emerge in contemporary dance in recent years’ by the Irish Times, Doherty uses dance as a medium for understanding and perhaps a catalyst for social change.

Incense rises into the darkness. A lone character emerges, posturing defiantly, barely unable to conceal the turmoil beneath such exaggerated masculinity.

An army of young women pound the stage in tribal formation, their synchronised display intimidating yet not free of vulnerability. Father and son tussle topless over a tortured family history.

Unfolding over four distinct verses, this tender tribute weaves everyday stories into a tapestry of mesmerising movement, religious iconography and haunting sound by DJ David Holmes.

Part of Dance Umbrella 2019, London’s international dance festival.

a potent dance of rage and resilience ★★★★★
The Guardian
utterly honest and viscerally intense, and underpinned by an unflinching belief in the power of dance to change people and achieve social justice
The Irish Times
she’s a simply phenomenal performer
The Times

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Queen Elizabeth Hall


£18 - £22
Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)
£18, £22


25% off (limited availability)
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need to know

Content warning
Contains some swearing and moderate aggressive behaviour.

Related events
Following this event, there is an audience-led post-show talk called Talking Amongst Ourselves in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Admission free to ticket holders.

Oona Doherty – Hard to be Soft