NEST is led by composer, Brian Irvine and writer/filmmaker/stage director John McIlduff.
As Artistic Directors of production and performance company Dumbworld they have created a number of stage works including the Irish Theatre Award nominated junk opera, 'Postcards from Dumbworld' and the award winning 'Rain Falling Up', an oratorio for children and gravity defying adults as well as producing documentaries, short films and a feature film.
Brian was born in Belfast. His body of work includes operas, large-scale orchestral
works, film scores as well as ensemble, solo, chamber and dance music.
His music has been performed all over the world and he has been commissioned by many international organisations and performers including Welsh National Opera, BBC Radio 3, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Joanna Macgregor, Boston Contemporary Music Ensemble, 4 mality percussion quartet, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre Company Ireland, Wexford Festival Opera, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Scottish Ballet, Bath International Music Festival.
Together with his own 12 -piece ensemble he has toured extensively throughout USA, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Scotland, Malta, Cyprus, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands to widespread critical acclaim. He has been the Associate Composer with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast and is currently Visiting Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Ulster.
He has won a number of awards for his work including: British Composers Award for Opera, BBC Radio 3 Music Award, Major Individual Artist Award (ACNI), Bass Ireland Award, MCPS Joyce Dixey Prize for composition, Allianz Irish Arts Award for composition and a PRS Foundation Award.
Originally from Belfast, John trained as an actor with Jacques Lecoq in Paris and for the last 15 years has worked extensively in theatre throughout Europe as a stage director and as a video artist. His productions range from a multi-lingual version of 'Crime and Punishment' to the visuals for a Bunraku puppet opera. He was also founding member of Belfast based theatre company, Shibboleth.
John's short films have been screened in festivals around the world from Tehran to Clermont-Ferrand and he has received the Prix de Qualité from the CNC, France. He recently wrote and directed his debut feature film, 'Behold the Lamb', which was screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and won Best Screenplay at the Thessalonaki International Film Festival and Best Director at the Arras International Film Festival.
As a writer, John has worked across film, television, opera and theatre. Most recently he has written for the upcoming series for French Television, 'Strictement Platonique' and the community opera, 'Shelter me from the Rain' performed in Carlow and winner of Allianz Business to Arts Award.