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© Kinga Michalska

Lay Hold to the Softest Throat

Ellen Furey

Lay Hold to the Softest Throat is an invitation into a vibrating space that is both soft and rough; it sings, dances, plays, and swings from the spiritual to the frivolous.


Mixed Mystery and Vibrations

Lay Hold to the Softest Throat is the Shakespearean-sounding title of a choreography for voice with three performers, an affirmation of Ellen Furey’s interest in everything that emanates from the throat. Whether it’s a surreal text, a siren song, or a nasal voice, all things coexist in the harmony of dissonance, sidesteppping the logic of meaning, and together generating a space of quivering care.

By reviving director Jerzy Grotowski’s “holy actor,” a figure she heckles tenderly, Furey has some serious fun bringing together all the values and qualities she considers sacred, disparate though they may be. Lay Hold to the Softest Throat is lyrical communion, it is childlike play in adult bodies, it is cardboard props, committed physicality, medieval deities in 80s wigs…. The show is a mysteriously vibrant journey, guaranteed!


Produced by Ellen Furey
Choreographed and performed by Ellen Furey
Created with and performed by Romy Lightman + Alanna Stuart
Text Ellen Furey + Romy Lightman + Alanna Stuart
Sound Design Christopher Willes
Dramaturgy Hanako Hoshimi-Caines
Lighting Design Paul Chambers
Set Design Jeremy McCormick
Outside Eye Anni Spadafora
Technique Anthony Allan 

Songs We’ll Reach the Sky Tonight, Rita MacNeil + Take My Word, Ellen Furey

Surtitles translation Elaine Normandeau
Surtitles Operator Aris Keshav

Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines + DLD direction artistique Frédérick Gravel
With the support of La Nouvelle Scène (Ottawa) + Usine C + Cape Breton University

Creative residencies Annexe-A (Rouyn-Noranda) + L’Écart (Rouyn-Noranda) + Usine C + Studio 303 + Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique + CCOV – Centre de Création O Vertigo + La Nouvelle Scène (Ottawa)

Co-presented by La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines

Premiered at Festival TransAmériques at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines, on May 28, 2023

Written by Enora Rivière
Translated by Katia Grubisic


© Winnie Ho

Ellen Furey (Montreal)

Canadian choreographer Ellen Furey left Cape Breton to study dance, voice, and theatre in Toronto before moving to Montreal in 2010. She has since had an extensive career as a contemporary dancer while developing her own work and experimenting with collaborative ways of making.

Full biography