Imaginative storytelling of Islandmagee Witch Trials, highlight of the Bounce Arts Festival


Song of the Bones is a dark, immersive storytelling experience featuring the mystical electronic songs of VOKXEN’s Claire McCartney and Beccy Henderson, the haunting puppets of Claire Roi Harvey, who worked on Star Wars and Dark Crystal, and the earthy percussion of David McLaughlin of iconic performance art group, The Blue Man Group.

Alice McCullough, who recently caused a stir at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after receiving praise from Stephen Fry, said she used her experience of being bipolar to put her own spin on the story of Ireland’s latest witch trial.

“The story is from the point of view of madness and otherness. I myself have been interned in psychiatric hospitals several times. Song of the Bones tells the story of Mary Dunbar who came from Scotland and brought with her the hysteria about witchcraft that was prevalent in her native country.

Performance artist Alice McCullough (bottom row center) with the rest of the performers of Song of the Bones which premieres at the Lyric Theater October 7-8 as part of the Bounce Arts Festival. To book tickets, visit lyrictheatre.co.uk.

“Mary accused eight women of witchcraft and they were imprisoned in Carrickfergus for a year. I had empathy not only for the accused women, but also for Mary. One version of the story was that Mary heard voices and felt possessed and believed that these eight women had put a spell on her.”

Song of the Bones uses elements of traditional Irish storytelling, mysticism and feminism to tell the story. It was created by Claire McCartney and Beccy Henderson, whose lush musical arrangements and lyricism have been compared to artists such as Kate Bush and Billy Eilish.

The show, which is one of the centerpieces of the Bounce Arts Festival organized by the University of Atypical, premieres at the Lyric Theatre’s Naughton Studio on October 7 and 8.

The intoxicating mix of music, puppets and poetry marks a change of course for Alice.

“I’ve been performing at Bounce and with Atypical University for years, but I’m just doing a one-woman show. It’s been great to collaborate with all of these incredibly talented people on such dark and thought-provoking work,” she said.

Tickets for the evening shows are selling out so fast that they’ve held an additional matinee show on Saturday, October 8 at 3 p.m.

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