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Give Me a Reason to Live

In a starkly beautiful work of transcendence and trial,  Claire delves into the work of medieval painter Hieronymous Bosch, to explore religion, religious art, and the judgment of souls and bodies.

Through tests of both body and faith, Give Me a Reason to Live draws upon imagery of disabled people in Bosch’s apocalyptic paintings to question our present perspectives on “otherness” and “difference”.

Powerfully physical, visually striking, and set to a mesmerising score, Give Me a Reason to Live invites us to consider our own empathy, sympathy or indifference, in a work of both generosity and brutal immediacy.


“There is so much heart and intellect, courage and integrity here: Cunningham pushes boundaries not just for disability rights, but for us all” ★★★★★ The HeraldFull article
“her work is delving further into politics, taking lessons from history to attempt to understand what is happening now” Disability Arts OnlineFull article
“shocking and immediate” ★★★★ The ListFull article
“Give Me a Reason to Live is a quietly intelligent work that manages to be both devastating and full of joy.” ★★★★ BachtrackFull article
“an extraordinary performance piece to witness…” Australian StageFull article
“unflinching, brave … a journey as courageous as it was confronting” Yahoo News AustraliaFull article
“This is a piece that – without literally speaking – speaks for itself. As in all great religious art, there’s no sentiment here, and no false sense of martyrdom or redemption.” Daily Review, AustraliaFull article
“strange beauty and incredible strength” Sydney Morning HeraldFull article
“the festival highlight was…Give Me a Reason to Live…the work is incredibly beautiful… its great strength is its simplicity of composition and its air of self-sufficiency” Real Time Arts, AustraliaFull article
“devastatingly powerful, unsettling and moving... as emotionally expressive and communicative as only the best dance can be.... The impression is that you have seen something unique and extraordinary, and afterwards you are left with an unsettling sense that your own attitudes have been challenged – and hopefully reset.” ★★★★ Salford NewsFull article


Running Time: 40 minutes
Recommended for ages 12+

Choreographed and Performed by Claire Cunningham
Lighting Design Karsten Tinapp
Sound Design Zoë Irvine
Cello Matthias Herrmann
Additional music Nesciens Mater: Jean Mouton, Den Tod .: JS Bach
Costume Shanti Freed
Mentors Kristin De Groot (Bosch Project), Janice Parker (Scotland)
Production Manager/Re-Lighting Gregor Knüppel
Publicity Photo Ben Nienhus

Give Me a Reason to Live has been created through B Project, an artist-development initiative which invites European choreographers to research and create new dances inspired by Bosch. B Project is one component of the Bosch 500 Foundation’s major celebration of the visionary painter and his work.

Project Partners :
Jheronimus Bosch 500 Foundation (NL), Comune di Bassano del Grappa (IT), Dance Umbrella London (UK), La Briqueterie/CDC du Val de Marne (FR), D.ID Dance Identity (AT).  Associated partners: Festival CEMENT (NL), Dansateliers Rotterdam (NL)

Additional support: The Work Room (Glasgow), Dance House (Glasgow) and //Buzzcut//.