Sightless Cinema

Artist Name(s) Ciarán Taylor & Rachel Ni Chuinn
Artwork title Sightless Cinema
Context/Background Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council wished to commission a new collaborative work in the area of performing arts focusing on the exploration of sensory disabilities. The commission was open to either individuals or companies/collaborators to apply. The Commissioner was particularly interested in practitioners working in a collaborative manner (either on a conceptual level or directly through participation), and who would be flexible in their approach and responsive to the needs of those involved. This commission builds on significant work in the area of arts in health/arts and disability which dlr Arts Office has been involved with over the last seven years, through the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council/Health Service Executive Arts and Health Partnership.

Director/devisor Ciarán Taylor collaborated with sound artist and composer Rachel Ní Chuinn to work with blind and visually impaired participants to explore, devise, perform, record and present new radio drama. The aim was to create work which came from the aural experience of blind people and, while having universal audience appeal, would be particularly resonant and rich for blind listeners.

Using theatre devising techniques, and a mix of studio and field recording, they generated material for the final pieces, which incorporated original music and was designed for surround-sound listening.  The group met regularly over a period of nine months and the project culminated in a performance. This took place in the dark in the cinema in the UCD Student Centre and was attended by a capacity audience which was a mix of blind, visually impaired and fully sighted members.

Read an essay written by Ciarán Taylor about the making of this project in the writing section of the website.


This commission was a fully collaborative work with the participants from NCBI Services involved from the start of the work. The group met regularly over a period of nine months. The project aimed to empower people with sight loss as artistic collaborators and creators. 

The commission was featured in a segment on Morning Ireland on 18 June 2015; this included interviews with Ciarán Taylor and two of the participants. It was also included on Culture File on Lyric FM on 15 June 2015.


Ciarán Taylor is artistic director of Carpet Theatre and was Theatre Artist in Residence at Mermaid Arts Centre 2011/12. He studied directing at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and performance /devising at Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Paris. In 2002 Ciarán established Carpet Theatre (formerly BDNC Theatre) to create new and devised work. He has created four performance commissions for local authorities under the Per Cent for Art scheme. 

He has director-devised seventeen productions for Carpet, which have toured Ireland and abroad, including: Pigeon (2012) a wordless mask play about the effects of personal financial crisis on one family; bouffon comedy The Blanch (2008-2011) inspired by a shopping centre; Two for Dinner for Two devised with Concorde Contemporary Music Ensemble, featuring live cooking and live music in a domestic kitchen; Ferry Tales a site-specific performance at Dublin Port ferry terminal; and Wexford Fire Station Tour a performance to mark the new station. 

Other projects include Alien- Nation, a clown play for Kidding Ensemble, Tír Álainn Trína Chéile with comedian Kevin MacAleer and composer Rachel Ní Chuinn which uses artificial intelligence in a computer generated Irish language-mangle opera; and Pierrot 2000’s an outdoor physical comedy and music show. 

Ciarán’s acting credits include The Coleen Bawn (Project/Civic/Bedrock), which toured Ireland in 2010, and a lead role in A Cry from Heaven by Vincent Woods at the Abbey Theatre. TV roles include Corp is Anam, Ros na Rún , Rí Rá, (TG4), Fair City, The Clinic and Foreign Exchange for RTÉ. 

Rachel Ní Chuinn: (Radio Programme Maker and Composer)

Rachel Ní Chuinn has an MPhil in Music and Media Technologies from Trinity College Dublin where she studied composition with Donnacha Dennehy and Linda Buckley. 

As well as producing and hosting the weekly music show Cluastuiscint on Dublin's Raidió Na Life 106.4FM, for whom she produced the series Aerthonnta, combining music and the spoken word in an exploration of flight, she recently created The Shape of Sounds to Come a documentary on the sound and architecture for Lyric FM, both with support from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Her audio essay Littoral Living, developed as part of Dublin Fringe?s Radioactive workshop, was broadcast on RTÉ?s The Curious Ear.

Rachel has collaborated on sound art and radio programmes with CKUT 90.3FM (airing in Montreal, online and over the international Radia collective), including two live radio events for an audience in the dark. In 2010 and 2011 she created a number of small-scale installations for Culture Night, the Flatlake Festival and Transcolonia. Performance, gesture and the audience feature work such as the sound walk/performance In/Out (White Rabbit Arts Festival, Nova Scotia,2009/2011), and Floor It, a music and performance event for the ABSOLUT Fringe, where the audience took to the floor. 

As a founding member and co-director of the Dublin Laptop Orchestra, she has performed with Crash Ensemble, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and This Is How We Fly at venues as diverse as the National Concert Hall, Dublin Contemporary, Sligo Live, and the RHA.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Commissioning process Open Submission
Project commission dates August 31, 2014 - June 29, 2015
Artform Other
Art Practice Arts and disability
Funded By Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 31/08/2014
Project commission end date 29/06/2015
Location Stillorgan electoral area; performance took place in the UCD Student Centre Cinema
County Dublin
Town Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
Content contributor(s) Ciara King, Assistant Arts Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council; Ciarán Taylor
Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Máire Davey, Assistant Arts Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Project partner: NCBI Services-Working for People with Sight Loss



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