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Artist Spotlight – Maria Fusco

Up next for our artist spotlights is Maria Fusco, an award-winning working-class writer, born and brought up in Ardoyne, North Belfast, now living in Scotland. Art Night will be The Scottish premiere of “History of the Present,” an experimental feminist opera-film about class and conflict shown at The Rep. Written and co-directed by Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon featuring new music by Annea Lockwood.

Watch the trailer HERE!

Recently we caught up with Maria Fusco and got to ask her about the Scottish premier, read on for more…

⭐Place-specific, but a resonance that goes beyond Belfast – how does it feel to take History of the Present out to connect with audiences in Dundee?⭐

‘Irish author John McGahern wrote ‘the local is the universal’; that’s something I believe to be true. This work was always intended with national and international audiences in mind, for whilst it takes one specific place in Belfast as site of intention, it does this through abstraction and subjectivity, it’s not a documentary.’

Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon, History of the Present, film stills, 2023

⭐Whilst you grew up in Belfast, Maria, how important was it to you to introduce the voice and breath of those not connected to the city or the peace-lines, in the process of documenting and questioning of who has the right to speak, and in what way on the daily experience of conflict and post-conflict Northern Ireland?⭐

‘It’s unseemly to be ‘overdubbed’ out of your own collective history and something that we see happening to many peoples, often in conflict and post-conflict zones, like Northern Ireland. The piece certainly has elements of autofiction in it, and is written with authentic and lived experience. Central is the question of who has the right to speak, and crucially, in what way; that’s an open question and one that is not just about my voice, one voice.’

Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon, History of the Present, film stills, 2023

This project was funded by the British Council Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and the Royal Opera House, with R&D funding from The Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Partnered with Belfast International Festival, Glasgow Women’s Library, Global Women’s Narrative Project, The MAC, Belfast and Scottish Opera.

For more of Maria’s work look out for ‘Who does not envy with us is against us’, a new book of essays about working-class-ness, published by Broken Sleep Books.

Featured image credit: Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo

Art Night