Beckett Unbound 2024: 'Sentient' (World Premiere) at the Everyman, Liverpool

30 May 2024 19:30 - 1 June 2024 19:30


Photo by José Miguel Jimenez

Sentient is a Beckett: Unbound 2024 Festival commission from choreographer Liz Roche
Made in collaboration with saxophonist Nick Roth and ondes Martenot player Nathalie Forget, featuring a cast of exceptional dancers, with the voice of actor Adrian Dunbar. Premieres in Liverpool, running from 30 May - 1 June, followed by performances at La Ménagerie de Verre, Paris on 5 & 6 June. 

A major new full-length work for six dancers, saxophone and ondes Martenot, the piece responds to an innocuous-seeming passage in Samuel Beckett’s Molloy where the author explores his wonder, and ‘unknowing’, for the bees – “I often thought of my bees...and I thought above all of their dance, for my bees danced…in a different way.” (Les Éditions de Minuit, 1951)

Fascinated by German-Austrian ethologist Karl von Frisch’s Nobel-prize winning description of the precise way in which bees communicate orientational information through movement, Beckett was one of the first writers to include this groundbreaking discovery into a work of fiction. Angela Moorjani in ‘Beckett and Animals’ (Cambridge, 2013) notes that “the decoding of the honeybee genome in 2006, the year of the Beckett centenary, continues to leave neurobiologists awed by the unexplained cognitive abilities of these highly social hymenopterans. The rapture has not subsided.”

In a space somewhere between social urgency and urgent sociality, Sentient offers a new interpretation of what it is as a human being to be only one part of our natural world in its vast communicative complexities. The dance travels through different atmospheres; exploring vibration, language, and group communication, with the performers collectively in adaptation to these changing environments.

Sentient by Liz Roche, is commissioned by Unreal Cities for Beckett: Unbound, Liverpool/Paris 2024, in association with the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool and the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris.

A Liz Roche Company production funded by The Arts Council/ An Chomhairle Ealaíon, in partnership with the new all-Ireland national dance company, and supported by Culture Ireland.


Performers: Sarah Cerneaux, Emily Terndrup, Mufutau Yusuf, Conor Thomas Doherty, Grace Cuny, Inez Berdychowska, Nick Roth, Nathalie Forget

Choreographer: Liz Roche

Composers: Nick Roth and Nathalie Forget

Set and Costume Design: Katie Davenport

Lighting Design: Sinead McKenna

Production Manager: Síofra Nic Liam

Stage Manager: Lisa Krügel

Producer: Gwen Van Spÿk for Liz Roche Company

Producing Associate: Emer McMahon

Photographer and videographer: José Miguel Jiménez


£11-21. Tickets available from the Everyman Theatre & Playhouse website.



Hope Street L1 9BH
United Kingdom

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