Ireland’s leading arts event, the Galway Arts Festival, is set to provide an internationally acclaimed line-up of music, dance, theatre, comedy, street events and art from July 12 to 25.
Artists from Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and Ireland all feature strongly in this year’s programme, which is to be launched tomorrow evening in Galway.
Highlights are the internationally acclaimed Hofesh Shechter Dance Company which will brings its new work Political Mother, straight from the Sadler Wells in London; the New York Theatre Workshop’s Irish premiere of Aftermath by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, the award-winning creators of The Exonerated; The National Theatre of Scotland’s Long Gone Lonesome, a dramatised concert of the life of Thomas Fraser in another Irish premiere; and a very first for Ireland and a major coup for the Galway festival, an exhibition by French painter Henri Mattise, Drawing with Scissors.
Artistic director Paul Fahy says this year’s festival will once again introduce Galwegians to a host of leading, international artists alongside spectacular collaborative partnerships and fresh, emerging, artistic talent.
Despite a budget cut of €100,000, he says the festival has become “more innovative” in order to ensure Galway “remains on the world map as a cultural hot ticket not to be missed”.
Ticket prices will remain the same as last year, while a new family ticket is also available.
“The festival is dedicated to the presentation of the performing and visual arts from all over the world, and this programme is both far-reaching and immediately accessible,” he says.
Among the highlights of this year’s theatre programme is the premiere of a new play Penelope by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, in a Druid production, while the Bristol Old Vic makes its Irish debut in Galway with the classic drama Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekov, directed by Andrew Hilton in a collaboration with the Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory.
The Corn Exchange bring the award-winning Freefall for their festival debut - a production that last year won the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for best director and best new play.
On the local front Decadent Theatre will present The Quare Land by John McManus, a satirical comedy based on developers and NAMA which examines greed and money, while the well-known Eileen Gibbons and director Fred McCloskey present The Grippe Girls with biting humour.
This year An Taibhdhearc takes its production, an exploration of the great Mairtin O Cadhain, to Indreabhan, while as part of the festival’s aims to reach out into the county, the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Long Gone Lonesome will also be held in Headford and Inishbofin following three days in the Claddagh Hall.
Sir Peter Hall
This year’s festival boasts an interesting series of talks and discussions, including Sir Peter Hall, one of the world’s most celebrated theatre and opera directors, in conversation with Michael Billington. Brett Easton Ellis, Ian Rankin, whose appearance at Cuirt was curtailed by volcanic ash, Niall O’Dowd and his new book An Irish Voice, and award-winning British journalist and Whitbread Book Award winner John Lanchester are also scheduled to appear.
In a new development this year the Galway Arts Festival is arranging a series of post show and gallery conversations - a platform to allow audiences to talk with various artists.
Paul Fahy says the Galway Arts Festival wants to ensure the 2010 festival is enjoyed by all the family. Two productions on the race for space will be staged - One Small Step by David Hastings presented by The Oxford Playhouse, and Space Panorama written and performed by Andrew Dawson, and suitable for both adults and children. In addition The Magnificent Mind of Daisy Dunne by Cups and Crowns will be staged for younger festival fans.
Once again the streets will be alive with the annual Macnas Festival Parade to be held on Sunday July 18. This year’s theme is The Wild Hunt directed by Noeline Kavanagh - a save chase through the streets of Galway beginning at the Spanish Arch and finishing at the Galway Cathedral, and for the first time in many years travelling through Quay and High streets. Also free for all the family is the delightful Tumble Circus production Up Above - performed around a seven metre high trapeze - and Australia’s Bruce Airhead - one man who transforms himself inside a six-foot balloon.
As always music features strongly on the programme with something for everyone. Virtuoso pianist Brad Mehldau, one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of our time, performs at the Radisson Live Lounge, which also hosts performances by Neil Hannon and The Divine Comedy, Teenage Fanclub, Michael McGoldrick, and Eddi Reader & the Alan Kelly Quartet.
Galway Arts Festival Live at the Festival Big Top features Human League, Heaven 17, Josh Ritter, Cathy Davey, Damian Dempsey and Rodrigo y Gabriella.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra will perform at St Mary’s Cathedral in Tuam directed by Anthony Marwood and featuring Katherine Hunka and accordionist Dermot Dunne, and also in the county there will be performances by Ari Hest and Yurodny live at the legendary Campbells Tavern in Cloughanover.
Roisin Dubh hosts a varied assortment of musical talent including local Galwegian Adrian Crowley, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Fred, Breakestra, O Emperor, Angus and Julia Stone and a series of traditional lunchtime gigs, featuring Caoimhin O Raghallaigh.
Other music events include The Endellion String Quartet; The Galway Music Residency Contempo Quartet with renouned percussionist Chen Zimbalista and Kevin Doherty’s late night intimate audio visual performance Telegraph live at the sublime St Nicholas’ Church.
Festival favourites Apres Match are back, and fresh from the World Cup, they will have an array of new material to present, while Irish and international comics showcasing new work are Reggie Watts, Reginald D Hunter, Scotland’s Danny Bhoy, Whose Line is it Anyway, and the lunchtime madness that is Laughter Loft live at Galway Arts Festival.
The ABSOLUT Visual Arts Programme is headlined by the spectacular show Drawing with Scissors from Henri Matisse, one of the 20th century’s greatest artists.
The programme also features a new commission by Alice Maher, co-presented with Galway Arts Centre, and the Irish premier of I’m Here a new film by Academy Award winner Spike Jonze.
Central to this year’s programme is the a new temporary gallery, the Festival Fairgreen Gallery, just off Eyre Square, which used to house Habitat. It will become home to one of two Brian Bourke exhibitions, the second taking place in Norman Villa Gallery. Bill Viola, one of the world’s leading artists and a pioneer in the medium of video art, also shows at the Fairgreen Festival Gallery with Angel’s Gate and Sodium Vapour. Galway artist and printmaker Lynne O’Loughlin blends the younger medium of digital arts with old traditional methods of printmaking in Virtual Eden also at the Fairgreen.
The programme features several other Irish artists including groups shows by Galway’s Engage Studios at the White Room Gallery, Liosban; the Graphic Print Studios at University College Hospital, Galway and a major exhibition of contemporary Irish sculpture, Seoda 2010, at the Kenny Gallery, Liosban and outdoors at the Terrace at the Born Store in Galway city centre.