Oona Doherty

Choreographer

Oona Doherty (born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, based in Marseille, France) is a choreographer working at the forefront of contemporary dance.

Her authentic, honest and fierce performances present real-life situations and relatable characters. “I attempt to build worlds through dance, text and sound”, she says.

“I want to bring honesty and sincerity into the body and the stage. I want to express the good, the bad, the ugly; the truth of being a complicated human”.

Doherty’s work has been performed globally for over a decade. Doherty made her Sadler’s Wells stage debut with Navy Blue (2022) during the Dance Umbrella festival. It followed the production of Hard to Be Soft: A Belfast Prayer, named Best Dance Show of 2019 by The Guardian newspaper. The performance’s precursor, titled Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus, was included as part of BBC Arts’ Dancing Nation series.

She was awarded the Silver Lion Award at the 2021 edition of the Biennale Danza in Venice. In 2023, she was the guest Artistic Director of the National Youth Dance Company in London.

She is currently an associate artist at the Pavilion Noir’s Ballet Preljocaj in Aix-en-Provence, France and is working on a new dance piece titled Specky Clark, which she describes as “a mixture of dance, theatre, and sound, riffing on Irish mythology and fragments of my genealogy”.

“I am very honoured to be chosen as a CHANEL Next Prize winner”, she says. “I am excited to see how collaborations, relationships and creations develop over the coming year”.

Lazarus, Hard to be Soft, 2017 © Luca Truffarelli.​
Ryan O'Neill, Navy Blue, Hamburg, 2022 © Sinje Hasheider.
Oona Doherty, Bangor Co Down, 2019 © Luca Truffarelli.​
Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus, 2019 © Florian Thevenard.​
Special thanks to La Friche.