Photography: Ros Kavanagh

Lian Bell works as an artist, set designer, arts manager, and artist coach. For over 25 years she has worked with some of the most significant arts organisations and contemporary performance makers in Ireland. She was Campaign Director of #WakingTheFeminists, the industry-changing grassroots campaign calling for equality for women artists in Irish

Lian Bell

These tabards are from a performance that took place on a bandstand in a park. There were two audiences – the people who paid for a ticket and became the participants, and the people passing by in the park who happened to see them.

The participant audience became the scenography over the course of the performance. Elements were introduced to them gently and bit by bit until, before they knew it, they were performing; on a stage, wearing costumes, moving collectively, and singing a joyful song about their failures to a big, vibrant backing track. With big smiles.

By making performances, aren’t we always failing? Trying something and it mostly not working out the way we thought. And then dismantling it all and trying something else. Isn’t that the point? If we face the future with fear we’ll never try anything.

Credits: Sing Your Failures by Louise White Performance. Premiered as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2022. Costumes realised by Deana Hedderman.