Spark Productions presents Granuaile later this month

Spark Productions presents Granuaile later this month

Granuaile is a new contemporary dance production, following one woman’s fearless quest for survival on both sea and on land. Granuaile tells the incredible true story of Grace O’Malley, a rebellious leader who challenged the turbulent political waves of 16th century Ireland, emerging as the infamous ‘pirate queen’.

Featuring an exciting collaboration of contemporary dance and live orchestra, Granuaile’s story comes to life on stage to inspire a new generation of young women and girls to follow in Grace’s trailblazing footsteps.

Performed by 11 young dancers aged 8-25 and accompanied by a live orchestra, Granuaile runs for 90 minutes and across three parts. It tells the story of Grace’s tumultuous life and her relationship to the ocean she so loved. Part three showcases Grace O’Malley’s special meeting with Queen Elizabeth I, a connection of two of the most powerful women of their time.

The show weaves in parallels between Grace’s life and the mood of the waves she sails on, exploring the psychological aspects of what it meant to be a woman in power in a world run by men.

Granuaile’s choreographer, Alexandra Dellaportas, found many empowering messages within Grace O’Malley’s life story.

“I became even more fascinated in Grace’s story after speaking with her biographer Anne Chambers via a Zoom call, who said Grace was literally written out of history because she was a woman.

Granuaile has an incredibly powerful message and working with a young cast to bring it to life has made it even more special, as many of our young cast members can personally relate to many of the emotional challenges that Grace faces.”

Granuaile has an all-female cast and is supported by a hybrid youth/professional orchestra, led by Music Director Kent Ross. The repertoire of music for the show also features an all-women lineup of composers – something rarely seen in the world of classical music.

Women are also in the spotlight in the production side – the costumes have been designed by dancers Sadie Russo and Francesca Grande, both aged under 18, and the sets have been designed by Melbourne designer Hayley James, featuring striking imagery of large sails and a broken-up ship.

Spark Productions is a company of youth dancers 8 – 25 years, who are accompanied by a live orchestra during performances. Founded in 2016 by Ms Dellaportas after finishing secondary school, Spark’s goal is to explore concepts, history, ideas, themes, issues and personal stories all through the minds and movement of young people.

Audiences can catch the premiere of Granuaile this September at Frankston Arts Centre on Thursday 29 September at 7.30pm and Friday 30 September at 11am & 7.30pm

For more information about Spark Productions and its work with young people aged 12-25, visit their website:

Tickets begin at $30. Click here to purchase.