Breaking Rainbows

International tour of Breaking Rainbows - a live performance/installation by visual artist Orla Barry
September 2016 – November 2017 

World premiere at Dublin Theatre Festival 2016

Exploring the boundaries of art and life, Breaking Rainbows uses the relationship between wo/man and animal, and the cannibalistic, symbiotic tension between [Orla Barry] the artist and [Orla Barry] the shepherd to reflect on the primal and poetic and unpredictable bond we have with the natural world. Presented as a live performance and video installation, Barry’s new work is a fascinating journey into the land of shepherding through the lens of ‘doing’ rather than ‘observing’ the job at hand. The tour will begin in Temple Bar Gallery & Studios as part of Dublin Theatre Festival, running from September 29th to November 5th 2016. 

Endearing, humorous and challenging, Breaking Rainbows reflects on both our interdependence and disconnection from the natural environment. Made up of a series of vignettes, Barry’s new work brings us into a journey through time, conceptualisations and effects: from the realms of sheep farming traditions, ancient Greek shepherd’s singing competitions, contemporary consumerism and gender roles, to the intimate relationship of caring for a sheep about to give birth. 

Interweaving live performance, video, a 300 kg pile of wool produced on Barry’s farm in 2015, and an aural landscape which touches many different forms of speech, Breaking Rainbows is congruous with Orla Barry’s multidisciplinary aesthetic. However, as in her most recent work, Mountain, it also marks a new step in her trajectory by introducing chance procedures and a collaborative approach to the development of the texts. This results in the stories being reinvented and reshaped, defying notions of ownership, authorship and authenticity, and thus also reflecting on the nature of oral storytelling as transferred throughout generations. This is played out in an unpredictable dramaturgy in which no performance or experience of the installation is the same.

Orla Barry is both visual artist and shepherd. She lived in Brussels for sixteen years and now runs a flock of pedigree Lleyn sheep in rural Wexford. A leitmotif running through her recent work is the human disconnection from the natural environment. Barry writes, and makes performances, video and sound installations. She has shown work at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, SMAK and Tate Modern, amongst others, as well as taking part in Manifesta 2. 

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

Thursday 29 September, 6pm and 8pm
Friday 30 September, 6pm and 8pm
Saturday 1st October, 6pm and 8pm

Booking: via Dublin Theatre Festival

Video installation of work open to public in gallery: Thursday 6 October– Friday 5 November
Free entry, Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm


written and directed by Orla Barry | with the collaboration of Einat Tuchman, Derrick Devine| assistant director: Noelia Ruiz | commissioned and produced by Wexford Arts Centre, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios | co-production Kaaitheater, ARGOS centre for art and media, Crawford Art Gallery| funded by Arts Council of Ireland | support Dublin Theatre Festival, Midsummer Festival Cork, Opera Festival Wexford, IMMA’s Residency Program

Breaking Rainbows is supported by an Arts Council Touring and Dissemination of Work Award.  

Breaking Rainbows tours to Crawford Art Gallery & Cork Midsummer Festival: Performance 22-23 June | Exhibition June - August 2017 | Kaai Theatre, Brussels & Argos Centre for Arts and Media: Performance 25-26 March 2017 | Exhibition 27 March - 30 April 2017 | Wexford Arts Centre: Performance: 19-20 October | Exhibition: 21 October-18 November 2017

For further information on Breaking Rainbows contact Catherine Bowe, Visual Arts Manager, Wexford Arts Centre, Cornmarket, Wexford on +353 (0)53 91 23764 or email catherine [at]

Breaking Rainbows Teaser from Orla Barry on Vimeo.