Reference Code: IE 2135 N45

Title: The Adrienne Brown Papers

Dates of Creation: 1976-2013 (predominantly 1987-2001)

Level of Description: Fonds

Extent and Medium: 7 boxes, 3 photographic boxes, 1 outsize box (420 files)



Name of Creator(s): Brown, Adrienne (b. 1956).

Biographical History: Adrienne Brown was born in Dublin and began her dance education with ballet classes.  She later developed an interest in contemporary dance and spent three years studying at London Contemporary Dance School.  Between 1991 and 1998, she attended the Martha Graham Center of Dance in New York, where she gained first place in her teacher-training certificate course.  She was co-founder with Anne Lise Schmitt of New Balance Dance Company in 1987, and a founding member of Dance Ireland, acting as its chair from 2008 to 2013.  Adrienne taught movement to actors at the Gaiety School of Acting for twenty years, developing a programme suited to the needs of the training actor.  Since 1994, she has been teaching technique and choreography at Inchicore College of Further Education.

As a choreographer, Adrienne has remained true to dance as a specific form of expression emerging from the mastery of the human body in motion.  For her creative work, Adrienne draws on movement, narrative, text, musicality, and compositional elements.  She has collaborated with several composers, including Paul Hayes, JJ Vernon, Michael Seaver, Mel Mercier, Trevor Knight, and Siobhan Cleary, and has taken inspiration from the writings of Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, Paula Meehan, Charlotte Mew, and Beth Ann Fennelly.  Her repertoire, which has been staged in Ireland, England, and France, comprises over 40 choreographies, including Fin de Siecle (1989), Of No Dreams Remember (1989), Six Women in Search of a Dance (1990), The Wounds of Art (1990), Two Into One Won’t Go (1991), Cry (1992), For Delia (1993), The Well (1994), The Sin Eater (1995), Meeting Points & Translations (1995), Four Points of a Circle (1995), Sculptura (1996), This Happened (1996), Mapping a Route Home (1996), Love is a Beautiful Bondage, Too (1997), You Who Have Never Arrived (2001), Voices (2002), Who Moves You (2004), A Study of Bach’s Musical Offering (I) (2005) and (II) (2006), Lumen (2010), One (2011), Arctic Birds’ Song (2012), and Exodus: A New Earth (2013).

In 1997, Adrienne was the first Irish choreographer to be invited to participate in the Righting Dance project at the Institute of Choreography and Dance, Cork.  This was a mentored research project, which took place over three years under Adrienne’s chosen mentor, the international choreographer Kim Brandstrup of Arc Dance.  This extensive creative process gave rise to a full-length dance work, Colmcille, which premiered in 2000 and toured Ireland in 2001.

Between 2002 and 2006, Adrienne completed a BA degree in University College Dublin, graduating with honours in Music and English, and an honours MA in American Studies.  Following her MA thesis in 2006, she was awarded an Ad Astra Research Scholarship from UCD to undertake a four-year PhD in Musicology and Dance, leading to the completion of a doctoral dissertation, Meaning Indicators in Twentieth-Century Music and Dance, in 2012.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Donated by Adrienne Brown to the National Dance Archive of Ireland in three instalments on 13 December 2011, 8 February 2012, and 3 October 2013.




Scope and Content: This collection comprises promotional material, photographs, recordings, correspondence, and grant applications illustrative of Adrienne Brown’s career as a dancer and choreographer.  The collection highlights not only Brown’s long and varied career but, on a wider scale, the financial and logistic difficulties faced by dance artists in pursuit of creative expression.

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: All records have been retained except for duplicates, blank application forms, and dated grant application guidelines, which have been destroyed.

Accruals: Accruals are possible.

System of Arrangement: Documents have been divided into four series according to the activities to which they relate.  Series 1 comprises material illustrating Adrienne Brown’s professional development, including her dance and choreographic training, the establishment of New Balance Dance Company, her academic pursuits, and her contributions to the debate on the role of dance and the arts in Ireland.  Series 2 comprises grant applications, highlighting the difficulties artists face in bringing their creative ideas to fruition.  Series 3 comprises programmes, promotional material, reviews, photographs, and recordings relating to Adrienne Brown’s choreographic works created by herself and in collaboration with other dance artists.  Series 4 contains material relating to Adrienne Brown’s teaching career and her involvement in dance residencies and other dance-related community projects.




Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to most items.  A small number of documents contain personal information and are closed until 2056 to protect the donor’s privacy.  These documents have been identified in the descriptive catalogue.

Conditions Governing Reproduction: Standard copyright regulations apply to all items.  For photocopying or reproducing material, please consult with the staff.

Language/ Scripts of Material: English, with a small number of documents in French and Italian.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Paper documents, photographs, and recordings in good condition.  Items 1/5/10, 3/1/4/4, 3/1/6/6, 3/1/7/6, 3/1/8/11, 3/1/10/3-5, 3/1/11/9, 3/1/14/5, 3/1/15/3, 3/1/16/10, 3/1/17/6-7, 3/1/19/7/1-22, 3/1/20/8-10, 3/1/21/2, 3/1/23/5, 3/2/2/10-11, 3/2/3/1/12-13, 3/2/4/1/33, and 4/2/4 require a video player.  Items 3/1/21/3, 3/1/22/1, and 4/2/16 require a video player and a video tape adapter.  Items 3/1/4/3, 3/1/5/2, 3/1/8/10, 3/1/10/2, 3/1/11/7-8, 3/1/16/8, 3/1/18/4, 3/1/19/7/23-24, 3/2/3/1/10, and 3/2/4/1/35 require a cassette player.  Items 3/1/16/9 and 3/2/4/1/34 require a Video8 player.  Item 3/1/20/7 requires a PC or a laptop with a VLC Media Player or similar.  Items 3/1/24/3, 3/2/3/1/11, and 3/2/4/1/36-37 require a DAT player.  Item 4/1/4/1 requires a MiniDV player.  Please note that at present the National Dance Archive of Ireland can only facilitate the viewing of video tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs.

Finding Aids: A hard copy of the descriptive catalogue is available at the Special Collections and Archives Department, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick.




Archivist’s Note: Papers arranged and described by Anna-Maria Hajba.

Rules or Conventions: This description follows guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd edition, 2000; Irish Guidelines for Archival Description, 2009; National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997; and EAP Guidance on Data Protection for Archive Services, 2018.

Date of Description: December 2013.  Revised September 2020.


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