Lighting Design for Dance Project 2021

Choreographers: Melissa Bori and Wu Fei
Lighting Designer: Brian Mitchell
Lighting Design for Dance Project 2020

Liz Roche Company, in partnership with The Lir Academy, Dance Ireland and the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick, is delighted to announce that choreographers Rachel Sheil and Nick Nikolaou will take part in the Lighting Design for Dance project 2021, working with The Lir MFA students in lighting design, Michael Rathbun and Kevin Murphy.

The project runs throughout February and March 2021 and is facilitated by choreographer Philip Connaughton and lighting designer Sinéad Wallace (Lighting Design Tutor, MFA Stage Design, The Lir Academy).

This project pairs professional choreographers with MFA students in Lighting Design from The Lir Academy, offering a series of structured supports including:

  • Rehearsal space at Dance House to devise work
  • Guidance and mentoring throughout the process
  • Use of The Lir Academy theatre space
  • Technical support and expertise throughout the process
  • Stipend for participation



Nick Nikolaou

Nick Nikolaou

Nick Nikolaou is an Irish-based artist with experience in contemporary dance, queer and aerial performance. In January 2020 he graduated with First Class Honours from the Masters of Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance in the University of Limerick. Before his postgraduate studies, he danced with the Dublin Youth Dance Company and other companies in Ireland and Greece.

His most recent performance achievement was being part of the Step Up Project for 2020 where he worked with choreographer Luke Murphy and created choreography for a Screen Dance.

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Rachel Sheil

Rachel has been teaching, performing and choreographing in Limerick and Ireland since 2010. She received a BA(Hons) and MA(Hons) in Contemporary Dance from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, as well as an ADPA in Street Dance teaching from Urban Strides, London. Most recently, Rachel became Associate Artist for Dance Limerick and Artistic Director of Limerick Youth Dance Company. LYDC have already performed in Laois, Dublin, Belfast and Limerick. In her role as Associate Artist, Rachel was awarded a dance bursary from Arts Council Ireland to create a duet with dancer Matt Szczerek. This will be debuted at the What Next Dance Festival 2021. As Artistic Director of LYDC, she has received Creative Ireland and Young Ensemble Scheme funding to facilitate the training and performance capacity of the youth company.

MFA Lighting Designers

Michael Rathburn

Michael Rathbun

Michael Rathbun is an experienced lighting designer who is excited to be working with the amazing performers and choreographers at Liz Roche Dance Company and Dance Ireland. His design experience includes work in L.A., San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Bangkok, and Paris, with some notable institutions including San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, and others. He currently holds the position of Touring Lighting Director for Benjamin Millepied's LA Dance Project, though they are not actively touring due to the pandemic. Some notable credits of his include Kanye West's Sunday Service Choir (Associate Lighting Designer), Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel (Lighting Designer), Ariel Dorfman's La Muerte y La Doncella (Scenic and Lighting Designer), Benjamin Millepied's I Fall, I Flow, I Melt (Associate Lighting Designer) and Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem (Midwest Premier, Lighting Designer). Examples of his work can be found in his online portfolio at

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy is a lighting designer from Dublin, Ireland. His work has featured on stage in Dublin and Galway as well as toured across Ireland. His credits include Dragon (Fizz & Chips Theatre), Kipps - The New Half A Sixpence Musical (GUMS), The Fregoli Heart Project (Fregoli Theatre), The Monday B.C (Jokerthief), Eternal Youth (Niamh Ryan), Chatroom by Enda Walsh (NUIG Dramsoc), Deirdre+Naoise (Niamh Ní Fhlatharta/NUIG Dramsoc) and Alone It Stands (NUIG Dramsoc) for which he was awarded an ISDA for 'Best Lighting Design' in 2018. Kevin holds an MA Arts Policy & Practice from NUI Galway and has worked with Galway-based arts organisations such as Baboró International Arts Festival for Children and Galway Theatre Festival. He is currently undertaking an MFA Stage Design (Lighting Design Major) at the Lir Academy and is very excited to work with Liz Roche Company on the upcoming Dance Project. More information on Kevin and his work can be found at and on social media at @kevin_murphy_lights.



Philip Connaughton

Philip Connaughton is a choreographer/performer from Dublin. He trained locally and then went on to study at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. As a choreographer, his first solo, Embody, was created during a residency at Movement Research (NYC). Since then he has been performing his work both at home and abroad. He was artist in residence at axis:Ballymun [2012] where he created Mortuus Est Philippus which he performed as part of Dublin Dance Festival and Festival Instances, Chalon-sur-Saône . He was associate artist of Dance Ireland in 2013 and in 2014, he formed Company Philip Connaughton and made a large-scale ensemble piece Tardigrade that won best design in the Tiger Dublin Fringe Awards. His lecture-performance Dance Uncovered (sensational) was featured in DDF 2015. Following that, he created Whack!! in collaboration with Ashley Chen of Compagnie Kashyl (Paris), which has toured extensively throughout France and Ireland. He then made Extraterrestrial Events which previewed at studio le Regard du Cygne in Paris and then premiered at DDF 2017. In 2018 ASSISTED SOLO , was created for Dublin Fringe Festival’s 2018 programme. It was nominated for Best Production, Best Design, and Best Performer. The company’s most recent work Mamafesta Memorialising premiered at KLAP, maison pour la danse, Marseille, followed by a run at the Cork Opera House and Project Arts Centre earlier this year. Philip was recently awarded an Irish Times Theatre Award for his work on Rough Magic's production of Much Ado About Nothing. Also working in theatre and opera, Philip’s credits include The Threepenny Opera (The Gate Theatre -Dublin Theatre Festival), Noel Coward’s The Vortex (The Gate Theatre), Der Vampyr, Faust (The Everyman Theatre), The Bloody Irish (PBS TV, America), Elevator, I'm Your Man, RIOT, and SHIT (THISISPOPBABY). Annie, The Wizard of Oz , The Cork Proms (Cork Opera House), Much Ado About Nothing (Rough Magic-Kilkenny Arts Fest.). Philip is Project Arts Centre resident artist and associate artist of THISISPOPBABY.

Sinéad Wallace

Sinéad Wallace

Sinéad graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2004 where she studied Drama and Theatre. She received Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for Best Lighting in 2010 for Happy Days (Corn Exchange), in 2009 for Knives in Hens (Landmark) and in 2007 for Saved (Abbey Theatre) and Don Carlos (Rough Magic). Her recent lighting designs include The Country Girls (Abbey Theatre), The Patient Gloria (PanPan), Danse Morob (The Emergency Room) & Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (Wide Open Opera). Previous designs include Anna Karenina, Oedipus, By the Bog of Cats, Christ Deliver Us, La Dispute, The Seafarer (Abbey Theatre), Verdi’s Rigoletto (Opera Theatre Company), The Seagull, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (Corn Exchange), A Tender Thing (Siren Productions), Wrongheaded [original production], Body and Forgetting, Fast Portraits, 12 Minute Dances (Liz Roche Company) and Miss Julie (Landmark Productions). She also teaches lighting design on the Masters in Stage Design at The Lir Academy, Dublin.

Project partners: Liz Roche Company, The Lir Academy, Dance Ireland, Irish World Academy, University of Limerick.

Lighting Design for Dance Project 2020

We are proud of our partners.

Liz Roche Company is strategically funded by the Arts Council