Young people wanted to Fly the Flag for Human Rights

A unique dance project is calling on young people aged 12-21 to ‘Fly the Flag for Human Rights’, as part of a UK-wide collaboration produced by Fuel Theatre with the MAC, Eden Court, Sadler’s Wells and Wales Millennium Centre.
Pictured: Rosie Mullin & Oona Doherty (R-L) with dancers Michael McEvoy, Carl Harrison & Jade Adamson in background (L-R); Image credit: Chad Alexander

Scroll down for application details.

Filmmakers will be following the process, creating a documentary which will be broadcast on national TV later in the year.

The MAC, Belfast is charged with recruiting local 12-14-year-olds who are willing to share their aspirations to change the world and express their experiences through dance. Describing the mounting excitement for the project, Elaine Forde, Creative Learning Manager at the MAC said:

“We are delighted to be part of Fly the Flag, a project which enables people to realise their right to express their ideas and opinions freely, without fear of discrimination. This is an exciting opportunity for young people to take part in a project led by some of the world’s leading choreographers and dancers, including Oona Doherty and Rosie Mullin, while having a lot of fun.

“We are looking for young people who are passionate about bringing about change in the world - whether environmental, societal, political or basic human rights - and who want to contribute to a fairer society where people’s opinions are respected and valued. If this sounds like you or a young person you know, we want to hear from you.”

Launched in 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Fly The Flag is a unique collaboration between arts organisations and human rights charities that aims to raise awareness of the UDHR amongst young people and enable them to exercise their right to express themselves.

Internationally acclaimed dancer-choreographer, Oona Doherty will be leading the project, which will create a physical response to UDHR’s Article 19, the right to freedom of expression and opinion. Oona's work includes Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (2015), which won awards at Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival and Edinburgh Fringe, Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer (2017), which was voted UK dance show of 2019 by the Guardian, and Lady Magma: The Birth of a Cult (2019).

Oona created Sugar Army, a tribal-style dance, as part of Hard To Be Soft, a four-part episodic dance work inspired by Belfast. The dance is for young people, to inspire confidence and strength. We are inviting young people (aged 12-14) to join Oona’s new sugar army, a group of young people who will explore their Human Rights of freedom of opinion and expression through the power of dance. Two of the original Sugar Army dancers Zara Janahi and Caitlin Shaw will mentor and teach the new recruits, along with O.D Works associate Rosie Mullin. Oona has created sugar armies all over Europe for the Hard To Be Soft tour. This year sees the sugar army come home to Belfast, to be part of a UK-wide Dance Documentary for Fly The Flag.

The award-winning performance artist from Bangor said:

"This year's Fly The Flag project will be an expansive piece of choreography by dance crews from all over the UK from all different backgrounds made up of young people who have something to say and want to express that through dance.

We will learn a dance designed to ignite confidence and will. The Sugar Army crew in NI will develop our own original material in response to freedom of expression which will be filmed and broadcast along with the rest of the UK-wide army of young people who will be dancing, shouting and expressing all that is important to them and what needs to change.

This is the future. The good the bad and the ugly truth of it. And we're dancing about it."

Submissions will strictly be accepted on Thursday 22nd July only from 10am onwards, and will close after the first 40 submissions have been received. Early and late entries will not be considered and places are limited, so applicants are advised not to apply before or after this date. Thirty applicants will be invited to an audition which will take place at the MAC on Thursday 29th July. Auditions will comply fully with COVID restrictions including social distancing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those taking part. 15 participants will then be chosen to be part of the Sugar Army.

How To Apply

If you are 12 – 14 years old and want to change the world then we want to hear from you.

Application Criteria

This opportunity is open to all young people; everyone is welcome.

No dance experience is necessary. If you are a dancer then we invite those who have not performed professionally with a licence in the last year.

Application Process

Simply send us a one-minute film telling us ‘What you most want to change in the world, and why’.

Upload and send the film via alongside an email stating your: (1) name, (2) address; email address and phone number (3) your parent or guardian’s phone number (4) age.

Email your submission to [email protected] on 22nd July (only) from 10am (we will not select applications before or after 22nd July).
The first 40 applications to be submitted with the correct information will be assessed.
We will invite the applicants who are most passionate about changing the world to an audition.

To be considered for the project you need to be available on the 29th July as you may be invited to attend an audition at the MAC. You also need to be available throughout September as rehearsals will take place each weekend and from 20th – 25th September.

The MAC is able to subsidise transportation costs for applicants living in Belfast. For more information contact Elaine Forde, Creative Learning Manager at the MAC.