Uachtarán na hÉireann praises 'crucial' arts festival as event turns 40

Festival has 'broadened and deepened Ireland's international reputation as a country and a people defined by its artistic work' says President

Pictured at this week's GIAF 2017 launch in Dublin are festival CEO John Crumlish, Hildegarade Naughton TD, and GIAF artistic director, Paul Fahy. Photo:- Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

Pictured at this week's GIAF 2017 launch in Dublin are festival CEO John Crumlish, Hildegarade Naughton TD, and GIAF artistic director, Paul Fahy. Photo:- Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

As the Galway International Arts Festival was launched this week with events in Galway and Dublin, the event, which also marks its 40th anniversary this year, was praised as "crucial" by Uachtarán na hÉireann michael D Higgins.

The festival programme was formally launched in Dublin on Tuesday and in the Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square, yesterday evening. This week also saw Uachtarán Higgins praise the work of the arts festival on reaching it's fourth decade.

"For its four decades the Galway International Arts Festival has reminded us that the arts are a crucial vehicle for citizen participation and that good artistic work is an essential part of being human," Uachtarán Higgins said. "The festival has enabled the showcasing and appreciation of such artistic work, in the process broadening and deepening Ireland's international reputation as a country and a people defined by its artistic work and enriched by its inventive, creative and original people.

"The Galway International Arts Festival, from the beginning, has sought to give witness to the power of creative exploration; a power that will be so greatly evident this year in the many works which are fuelled by collaboration, fusion or an intersection between different art forms, or between artistic expression and new and innovative forms of communication. Participants will be invited to venture into new territory, walk down different pathways, to question the world in which we live, and be invited to make new sense of the realities which define our lives."

The 2017 programme is the GIAF’s largest and most ambitious programme to date, with four world premieres, including a new play by Conall Morrison and a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh; a number of concerts taking place at the Absolut Big Top, including a show by Brian Wilson and Al Jardine of The Beach Boys; a First Thought programme on the theme of power; and visual art and street spectacle.

“2017 is a milestone year for Galway International Arts Festival," festival CEO John Crumlish said. "We present our most ambitious programme to date, will be touring for four months outside the festival and have started holding independent First Thought Talks. All in all, it’s going to be a special year, as we celebrate a significant birthday and start the countdown to Galway becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2020.”

Last week the festival enjoyed success on the New York stage with Enda Walsh's 2016 GIAF hit, Arlington, co-produced with Landmark Productions, opening at St Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, and the playwright's Rooms, a GIAF production, opening at the Cybert Tire. Both shows attracted good reviews.

The GIAF runs from July 17 to 30. For more information see www.giaf.ie #GIAF17

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