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Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon


Dundee Rep Theatre
Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB


7pm–11pm [last screening begins 10pm]

The History of the Present

About the Work

History of the Present is an experimental feminist opera-film about class and conflict. Co-directed by Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon, the work features new compositions by Annea Lockwood, libretto by Maria Fusco and improvisational vocal work by Héloïse Werner. 

This intersectional, intergenerational work forefronts working-class women’s voices to ask: who has the right to speak, and in what way? Layering sociological, cultural, and political themes from the recent history of Northern Ireland, the work exercises voice, breath and field-recording composition through a range of film techniques and operatic articulations, to amplify marginalised stories. 

Made on 35mm and video in the streets of Belfast, the Ulster Museum and the Royal Opera House in London, History of the Present observes how defensive architecture defines movement to enforce intersectional histories and identities within daily experiences in conflict and post-conflict zones on an international level.

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.

About the Artists

Maria Fusco is an award-winning working-class writer, born and brought up in Ardoyne, North Belfast, now living in Scotland. Her interdisciplinary work spans the registers of critical, fiction and performance writing; she has authored six books, and written and directed four major performance works. Her work has been commissioned by bodies including: Artangel, BBC Radio 4, Film London and National Theatre Wales. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, was writer-in-residence at the Whitechapel Gallery and The Lisbon Architecture Triennale and an Engender Fellow at the Royal Opera House. She is currently Professor of Interdisciplinary Writing at the University of Dundee, previously holding academic posts at the University of Edinburgh and Goldsmiths, University of London. Her new book of essays on working-class-ness, Who does not envy with us is against us, is published by Broken Sleep in Spring 2023.

Twitter: @fuscowriting

Instagram: @fuscowriting

Margaret Salmon is a New York born artist filmmaker based in Glasgow. Winner of the inaugural Max Mara Prize for Women in association with The Whitechapel, recent exhibitions include Monument at Secession, Vienna and the British Art Show 9. Salmon lectures in Fine Art Critical Studies and Photography at The Glasgow School of Art.

Twitter: @margaretOsalmon

Instagram: @margaretsalmon

Annea Lockwood is an acclaimed New Zealand-born American composer based in upstate New York. Her lifelong fascination with the visceral effects of sound in our environments and through our bodies—the way sounds unfold and their myriad “life spans”—serves as the focal point for works ranging from concert music to performance art to multimedia installations. She is the recipient of a SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award, and is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been presented internationally at institutions and festivals such as Lucerne Festival, Tectonics Athens Festival, Signale Graz, Counterflows International Festival of Music and Art, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and many others.

About the Venue

Dundee Rep has been a leading force in Scottish theatre and dance for over 80 years. Home to Dundee Rep Ensemble, the only permanent full-time company of its kind in Scotland, and Scottish Dance Theatre, one of the few full-time companies in the UK – Dundee Rep hosts a thriving community of practitioners, welcoming audiences to prize-winning performances, world-class tours, premiers and an array of opportunities to get involved and get up on stage.

Extra Info 

  • Runtime, 46 min, looping.
  • Dundee Rep has fully accessible entrances and toilets.

Image credits: Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon, History of the Present, film stills, 2023; Maria Fusco portrait, Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo; Margaret Salmon portrait, Jen Baille.



Art Night