Categories: Press Release

The world premiere of AFTER THE RAIN, a specially commissioned production featuring globally acclaimed French circus collective Compagnie XY accompanied by a 50 plus strong local ensemble of musicians, choirs and local acrobats will be taking place at 3pm on Sunday 27 and Monday 28 August in the Guildhall Square in Derry~Londonderry.

An Imperial War Museum (IWM) 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission in partnership with Ulster Presents at Ulster University, it is co-produced by In Your Space Circus in Derry City and delivered in association with Circusful and Institut Francais.

Inspired by the people and communities of the city in sustaining 25 years of peace-building since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, AFTER THE RAIN explores physical and spiritual resilience in the face of obstacles through a mass collective acrobatic act of lifting each other up. It is Compagnie XY’s first ever work produced on the island of Ireland and is one of only two new works produced by this 40-strong collective of acrobats. The other for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The production, two years in the making, included a visit by Compagnie XY to Derry in September 2022 where they delivered a surprise week-long series of pop-up performances across the city. Over five days, Les Voyages Derry-Londonderry interacted with thousands of city residents in their neighbourhood parks, shopping centres, pubs and local hairdressers before a moving reunion event in St. Columb’s Park.

Those acrobatic performances marked the beginning of a journey, getting to know the people of the city, building trust and collaborations; it involved the city’s citizens interacting with the troupe in a series of encounters during their everyday lives- being carried, lifted and falling into their arms - each interaction a unique and uplifting experience for those involved.

AFTER THE RAIN sees Compagnie XY, in collaboration with local artists, return to deliver a one-off performance inspired by the resilience of the people and the city like no other seen before.

Speaking on the project Cian Smyth, Ulster Presents Manager, Ulster University said: “After The Rain is the culmination of many years work to bring Compagnie XY to Ireland. It is a rare opportunity for Irish audiences to witness one of the best contemporary circus companies in the world perform with Northern Ireland’s best at home, for the first time. Ulster Presents is very excited to make that happen. As Ulster University’s new programme committed to celebrating ambition and excellence in the arts, this is a project that connects our work with communities neighbouring our campuses to the brilliant innovations of local and international artists.”

AFTER THE RAIN has been funded by the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national partnership programme of over 20 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict. Led by Imperial War Museums, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund was created following the success of 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Caro Howell, Director-General of Imperial War Museums (IWM) said; “The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund continues IWM’s longstanding and important tradition of supporting artistic responses to conflict. It has been a pleasure to work with Ulster University to produce this community driven commission with Compagnie XY and we look forward to sharing this uplifting and exciting experience with the broader Derry-Londonderry community.”

Antoine Billaud, of Compagnie XY, said: “Compagnie XY have always wanted to perform in Ireland and we could not have wished for a better first time than with the people and artists of Derry City. Our work is always centred around the idea of celebrating and building community and we have had a wonderful two years coming to Derry and this is going to be a thank you to our new friends in the city and a time to champion all of our brilliant collaborators there. This is for you, Derry, we hope you like it!”

Cath McBride, Director of In Your Space Circus, said; “This is a unique opportunity for In Your Space Circus to collaborate with Compagnie XY to deliver a show of this scale to our audiences in Derry. It will be something completely different and we have no doubt that those watching will be astounded by the experience. In Your Space Circus, with Circusful, is proud to be commissioning local artists alongside Compagnie XY. This will include some of the most talented acrobats, musicians and spoken word artists in Northern Ireland, performing in what will be two very special, moving and inspirational performances.”

The production forms part of Ulster University’s overarching arts programme to mark 25 years since the signing of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. For more information on this free and unticketed event and to sign up for Ulster Presents event news please visit After The Rain (


Photo Credit:

Samuel Buton. IWM and Ulster Presents host Compagnie XY's 'Les Voyages Derry-Londonderry'

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