Cork Circus is organising various workshops as part of this year’s Cruinniú na nÓg. Isabella Dogliani from Cork Circus tells us about her life and work
Tell us about yourself;
My name is Isabella, or Izzy for short. I’m an artist and creative producer working in Cork city. I recently created an exhibition about dyslexia called Alphabet Soup at Cork City Library as part of the Rebound Arts Festival and Lifelong Learning Festival. I help run community art projects and am currently the Youth and Social Circus Coordinator at Circus Factory.
I love playing a part in helping kids express their creativity and Circus is so good at allowing kids to have fun in a welcoming environment.
I like working on multiple things at the same time to keep my day nice and varied! I also help behind the scenes at IndieCork Film and Music Festival.
Where were you born?
My dad is from Turin and my mum is from Birmingham originally but I grew up in London. I was born at home in Hackney, which was much anticipated as I’m an IVF baby. My dad played Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder whilst I was probably still in the birth pool!
Where do you live?
After growing up in London, I studied in Glasgow and Berlin. Now I’m based in the real capital of Ireland - Cork city!
My family have always encouraged me to pursue my passions in the arts. My dad works in public libraries and my mum is an opera singer who runs projects in prisons. I also have two brothers, all of whom live in the UK.
Having lived in a few different cities, I have a lot of friends scattered in different places across the world.
When I first moved to Ireland, it was during the pandemic so I found it a bit hard to meet people.
As cheesy as it sounds, my partner Hugh is my best friend. He’s kind, funny, supportive and probably my favourite person to be around.
Person you most admire?
Where was your most memorable holiday?
My most memorable holiday was probably inter-railing with a few friends for a month after finishing school. It’s a train ticket that works across Europe at a reduced rate. We went on a long trip, passing through Prague, Venice, Rome, Nice, Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam. It was the year before the Brexit referendum, but I think the experience helped me develop my sense of European citizenship.
I had already spent a lot of time in Germany through school exchanges which left a big impact on me, encouraging me to move there later on. Inter-railing was a big step on that journey, providing me with the confidence and independence to do that and I would recommend it to anybody.
Favourite TV programme?
At the moment, I’m binge watching Downton Abbey. My favourite series ever though would have to be The Bridge, which is a Swedish crime series.
Your signature dish if cooking?
For savoury food, I’d go for a carbonara. The trick is to take the pasta off the heat before adding the sauce. For dessert, my signature is banoffee pie. Can you tell I’m half Italian and half English?
I absolutely love Spitjacks on Washington Street. I struggle to deviate from my usual order - a Smoked Royale and a lavender latte. My favourite dessert in Cork would have to be the coffee cake at Izz Cafe.
Last book you read?
The last fiction book that I read was The Rosie Project. It’s a very funny, romance novel that I finished it in about two days!
I’ve also been dipping in and out of Sascha Roos’s book At Home With Dyslexia: A Parent’s Guide to learn more about my dyslexia. I love the illustrations and it’s great hearing the Cork voices coming through the book.
Best book you read?
The Circle, by Dave Eggers.
Last album/CD/download you bought?
I bought a Vinyl copy of CMAT’s album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead. She’s my most listened to artist on Spotify. At the moment, I’ve been listening to her song Peter Bogdanovich on repeat.
I would struggle to choose! I would probably put Girls Just Want To Have Fun as the soundtrack of my life. I also love Vincent or American Pie by Don McLean. The song that I think about most regularly though would be CMAT’s song Rent that I saw her perform at Live at St Luke’s. It was very moving and the whole atmosphere of the venue was just incredible. I’m still waiting for it to be released!
Your proudest moment?
My proudest moment would be creating a play that was performed in Glasgow at Platform Theatre in Easterhouse.
It was quite amazing seeing something that I wrote go from paper to the stage and seeing all of the elements coming together.
Since then, I’m also very proud of myself for taking a chance and moving to Cork city for my postgraduate course. My original degree was in Sculpture and Environmental Art so it felt a big jump to go into more of the management and administrative side, but I’m proud of myself for rising to the challenge.
Spendthrift or saver?
Ever since working with budgets, I’d have to say saver! Although I would always advocate for spending more on a quality product or service.
Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?
I would introduce a universal basic income. When I initially saw this question, my mind went to introducing a rent cap, however that only helps the people who are already in a position to be renting. Having a universal basic income would help level the playing field in society and support people to pursue what they love.
What makes you happy?
Personally, spending time with the people that I love and seeing the people that I love succeed. Professionally, I love working on collaborations and projects where I get to learn from different people. I find the feeling after finishing a project very fulfilling. Lots of other things make me happy: making art, writing, fancy dress, singing in the shower, going to the beach, the list goes on!
What else are you up to at the moment?
Currently, at Circus Factory, we are working towards our youth show and doing a lot of social outreach workshops in Direct Provision Centres and in schools. We are running free taster workshops in tight wire and aerial on June 11 as part of Cruinniú na nÓg. We’re super-excited about welcoming people into our space to give every child a chance at trying youth circus. We’re also part of the national project Circus Explored, organised by ISACS, where you can sign up for free juggling balls.
I’m in the process of finishing off my MA in Arts Management and Creative Producing at UCC.
I’m also looking forward to working on the 10th year of IndieCork Film and Music Festival and getting back into the festival buzz!
For more on Cruinniú na nÓg see www.corkcity.ie/cnn