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Making Wallflower: James Monaghan – Dancer (Part 1)

Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. Over the last 20 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...

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Making Wallflower: James Monaghan – Dancer (Part 1)

Posted: 24 January 2017

I always say I’m not a dancer.

I am told that this is NOT helpful.

But for me: it is.

For me the dances in Wallflower are not the most important

Maybe I would go as far to say the memories the performers are sharing are not the most important.

It’s the invisible dance, a dance of conversation.

A toing and froing 

A back and forth

A bloody circle

A glance, a shuffle, a doubtful laugh, joy, anger, confidence, embarrassment and indeed the deceitful, life affirming contributions…


It’s complicated, it’s pretty simple.

Everybody in that room is in what can feel like a pinball machine of cause and effect. Like when you’re meeting someone new and the energy is brilliantly high: you share anecdotes, intimate stories and tales of your past to learn about each other, yet each shift of the eye, tremble of a cheek, curved inches of the lips effect how you share this past. A past deeply connected to the present.

The only difference here is that the performers are doing most of the talking

Yet the conversation is equal.


We meet each dance halfway, we create it together.


The unspoken lines of communication within the space that detail and shape each moment.

The best and worst example I can give is how in conversation and during the performance I tend to externalise the process of my thoughts as they occur. This exposes and influences how I get to a certain position. For example, I often say, feel and think things I don’t mean or believe at all. But revealing this line of thought to another person allows them to see how I got there. Often they experience more clarity than I, and it’s through their clarity that I get a better understanding of what it is I am going on about.

Once someone told me, if a pin drops it changes my direction; I would argue that this is absurd and I was always heading towards the pin and beyond.

Memory and time does something funny in Wallflower.

A fusion of past self, current self and the evolving self, shaped by the present moment.


Wallflower is a Tango


James Monaghan is a theatre maker, performer, live artist, writer, occasional dancer, competitor, grandson, lover and human. 


Jo Fong lying on dancefloor_Wallflower_photo Kate Daley

Making Wallflower:
Jo Fong



Making Wallflower:
Greg Akehurst


Feet and cable_Wallflower_photo Kate Daley

Making Wallflower:
Jane Mason



Making Wallflower:
Hannah Hiett


Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Belgium 2013 - Day Seven

Making Wallflower:
Renny O’Shea


Wallflower_James Monaghan_Jo Fong_[Simon Banham photo]

Making Wallflower:
James Monaghan – Dancer (Part 2)


Making Wallflower:
Richard Gregory