BITE CLUB was chock a block with eager punters on Monday evening for the programme launch of this year’s Galway Theatre Festival, and once again festival manager Máiréad Ní Chróinín and her team have put together a mouth-watering array of exciting, challenging, and entertaining shows.
World premieres, fresh takes on familiar classics, circus, film, music, and dance are all part of the packed menu which gives playgoers plenty to savour over the festival, which runs from April 18 to 23.
Among the notable premieres is Emma O’Grady’s solo show What Good Is Looking Well When You’re Rotten On The Inside? The show is based on 15 hours of tape recordings made by Emma’s grandfather Paddy. A civil servant and man of few words, Paddy turned out to be a thwarted story-teller who finally committed his store of tales to tape just a month before his death. Drawing on this rich material, Emma’s show is an eloquent and moving celebration of her grandfather’s long-stifled gift and a meditation on themes of legacy, grief and creativity. I saw the ‘trial version’ of this show last year and it was riveting; it’s sure to be a highlight of this year’s festival.
A guest performer at the opening was Dubliner Fionn Foley with a hilarious song in praise of karaoke from his one-man musical comedy, Eamonn From Menswear. A big hit at the Dublin Fringe, the show is a stylish, provocative, tuneful and funny reflection on Irish identity and culture.
Also from Dublin is THEATREclub’s unsettling documentary drama about prostitution, The Game. It explores the act of buying sex and its attendant rules, language and power structures. It is a play that’s also a real-life ‘game’ with levels and consequences. Each night five men have volunteered to take part; they have never played ‘the game’ before. They are not given a script or any idea of what to expect. They are doing this to be part of an event – a symbolic act – that calls us all to consider, to think and to review.
Winner of a Total Theatre Award at Edinburgh Fringe, Brokentalkers’ Have I No Mouth is a powerful piece of theatre that explores the changing nature of the relationship between a mother and son in the aftermath of a family tragedy. Written and performed by Feidlim Cannon and his mother Ann, the production takes a brave, unflinching look at their past and attempts to piece together the truth, while exploring different ways we heal ourselves after the unthinkable happens. Ann and Feidlim are joined on stage by professional psychotherapist Erich Keller.
Galway company Thereisbear will present their bi-lingual vampire drama The Shadow Of Carmilla, adapted from Sheridan Le Fanu and relocated to 19th century Connemara. Other lively re-worked classics include Dorian Gray Remix from Simulacra Theatre which brings electro music and video to Wilde’s timeless tale, Tara Breathnach’s solo show Molly, based on Molly Bloom, and Candlelit Tales’ Shadows Of The Táin, featuring shadow puppetry, dynamic choreography and original songs.
Among the many other delights on offer, there’s 24-Hour Flash Theatre from NoRopes, where actors, writers and directors audition, combine and create four 20-minute plays in 24 hours. Cirque du Gaillimh is a circus extravanganza from Galway Community Circus, and there are sneak previews of work in development from both Druid’s Fuel programme and the festival’s own Made in Galway strand.
Aside from the excitement of the programme announcement, Galway Theatre Festival also invites applications for positions on the festival's advisory board. The current board includes members from a number of sectors, including hospitality, law, third-level and the arts. The board's role is to oversee the development, growth, and good governance of the festival: board members are asked to contribute four hours a month to attend meetings of the board and sub-committees, and to contribute an additional six hours a month working on specific areas.
The festival is inviting applicants from all sectors, including accounting and finance, company law, sponsorship, medical, insurance, property management, IT, digital media, and the arts. To register interest e-mail [email protected] before March 16.
For more on the festival see galwaytheatrefestival.com/