Solas Nua brings Luke Casserly’s ‘Distillation’ experience to DC

Multidisciplinary performance transports audiences to the Irish bog landscape through scent.

Solas Nua, Washington, DC’s premier contemporary Irish arts organization, presents Luke Casserly’s Distillation, a unique performative journey that takes audiences to the Irish bog landscape through scent.

Distillation is a response to the recent cessation of the peat harvesting industry in Ireland. Over the past year, Luke Casserly has collaborated with renowned perfume maker Joan Woods to create a unique distillation of the Midlands bog — the place where he grew up — as the starting point for an olfactory encounter that looks at our human relationship to place.

‘Distillation.’ Photo by Patricio Cassinoni.

Distillation is dedicated to the future of our broken landscapes — in the hope that by listening to them, we might be able to better understand them.

Part interactive lecture, part performance, Distillation features original text, video, sound design, and sculpture. The audience is seated around a large custom-made table and is gently invited to hold organic materials and smell parts of the landscape as part of the experience. The perfume featured as part of the project was designed by Joan Woods, who collected and distilled botanicals from the Irish Midlands as part of the creative process. Each audience member is gifted a small sample of the custom-made perfume as part of the performance.

Distillation premiered as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival 2023. A co-production by Solas Nua and Abbey Theatre, commissioned by Solas Nua. Distillation is supported by Goethe-Institut Irland, with additional development support by IMMA, Druid FUEL, Axis Ballymun, and Backstage Theatre’s Activate Residency program, and developed through the support of an Arts Council Theatre Project Award.

Solas Nua is thrilled to be back at Eaton DC, where they previously performed The Smuggler (New York Times “Best theater of the year”) and its groundbreaking theater-listening experience, One Moment Now. Eaton DC, listed by Time magazine as “One of the World’s Greatest Places,” is delighted to offer Solas Nua patrons a special rate on hotel rooms.

Use the code NHOUSE for 20% discount on Eaton DC hotel room reservations (promo code can be applied at

Distillation runs April 11 to May 12, 2024, on Thursdays through Sundays at Eaton DC, 1201 K St NW, Washington, DC. Additionally, it runs May 15 to 19 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD. For tickets ($45, with limited pay-what-you-can options for select performances) and further information, visit Solas Nua’s website.

Luke Casserly. Photo by Patricio Cassinoni.

Created by Luke Casserly
Perfume by Joan Woods
Sculpture by Ger Clancy
Dramaturgy by Rex Daugherty
Costume by Doreen McKenna
Additional Costume by Síofra Caherty
Video by Robert Higgins
Sound by Sam Hardiman
Stage Management by Grace Carter
Artistic Documentation by Fergal Styles
Production Photography by Patricio Cassinoni


Solas Nua — “new light” in Irish, acts as an ambassador and advocate for Irish arts in the U.S., promoting contemporary, multi-disciplinary Irish arts and culture. By offering new opportunities for artists based in both Ireland and the U.S., Solas Nua provides access and inclusion for artists and audiences to connect and participate on both sides of the Atlantic. They present, produce, and commission thought-provoking and ground-breaking work across the arts, and are recognized for making a substantive, unique contribution to the artistic and cultural richness of the city of Washington, DC, and beyond. Solas Nua presents cross-cultural work representing today’s Ireland — a globally diverse society. Their programming reflects a conviction that Irish arts travel across borders, cultures, and socio-economic lines. Solas Nua is the recipient of the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, has received multiple Helen Hayes Awards and nominations, and has garnered international acclaim with features in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Irish Times, RTE National Broadcast, on the cover of American Theatre Magazine.


Luke Casserly is a multidisciplinary performance maker from Longford, Ireland.

His work weaves together environmental research, documentary, sound art, and site as a way of carving out space for new possibilities to emerge between live performance and physical landscape. His projects have brought audiences through city streets, back gardens, train stations, beaches, and a bog in the Irish midlands. These works have led to the creation of a network of Irish wildflower meadows across Ireland (1000 Miniature Meadows, 2020) and the planting of 1000 indigenous trees in the Irish Midlands (Root, 2021). Often using autobiography as a starting point, Casserly’s work attempts to stretch out new conversations around our human impact on the environment. He is interested in making work that has a positive environmental legacy beyond the moment of live encounter with an audience. He is driven to create gentle, subversive interventions in response to the climate crisis – and avoid leaning into the anxiety, greenwashing, and didacticism that often revolves around this topic in contemporary society.

In 2023, Casserly was awarded the Arts Council’s Next Generation Bursary. He was recently selected for the Norman Houston Multidisciplinary Commissioning Award with Solas Nua in Washington, DC, in addition to being chosen to participate in the International Forum as part of Theatertreffen (Berlin Festspiele) 2023.

He holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, and a Certificate in Art and Ecological Practice from the National College of Art & Design, Ireland.


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