BY KERNAN ANDREWS
THE WORLD premieres of a new play by Conall Morrison and a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh; a major exhibition by Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco; new theatre productions from Druid; Beach Boys’ legend Brian Wilson at the Big Top; and Syrian architect and author Marwa Al-Sabouni, are just some of the highlights of the 40th Galway International Arts Festival.
The festival takes place from July 17 to 30. “This will be our biggest year to date,” said festival CEO John Crumlish. “We have a significant birthday to celebrate and we start our build up towards European Capital of Culture 2020. With an increased number of theatre premieres, one of our biggest musical line-ups ever and a very exciting free programme we hope our audiences enjoy our birthday party and that it provides for a great July in Galway.”
Among the Irish highlights is the world premiere of Landmark Productions’ and Galway International Arts Festival’s Woyzeck in Winter, a fusion of Büchner’s Woyzeck and Schubert’s Die Winterreise adapted and directed by Conall Morrison with lyrics by Stephen Clark, and starring Patrick O’Kane, Camille O’Sullivan, Rosaleen Linehan, Stephen Brennan, Barry McGovern, Rory Nolan, Peter Coonan, Shane O’Reilly, and Susannah de Wrixon.
A first for GIAF will be the world premiere of The Second Violinist, a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh. Aaron Monaghan plays The Second Violinist, joined by singers Máire Flavin, Sharon Carty, and Benedict Nelson, together with a 16-strong chorus, and Crash Ensemble.
Other theatre highlights are Bathroom by Enda Walsh, to be presented in a gallery setting and featuring the voice of Tom Vaughan Lawlor; Druid’s production of Crestfall by Mark O’Rowe; Corn Exchange’s Dublin by Lamplight; the world premiere of Branar’s How to Catch a Star; Decadent’s production of Abbie Spallen’s Pumpgirl; An Taibhdhearc’s Dún na mBan Trí Thine by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne; while the Abbey Theatre’s production of Two Pints by Roddy Doyle will be performed in pubs in Galway city, county, and the Aran Islands.
London’s The Old Vic Theatre presents Cover My Tracks by David Grieg and former Noah and the Whale frontman and songwriter Charlie Fink. Award-winning director and artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Emma Rice, with writers Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy reinvent Tristan & Yseult. Hijinx present Meet Fred performed by a company of ID and non-ID actors.
Live at the Absolut Big Top, co-produced with the Róisín Dubh, features Beach Boys’ composer Brian Wilson and a 15–piece band performing Pet Sounds and Beach Boys’ hits; Ladysmith Black Mambazo; singer-songwriter Passenger; the soulful Gavin James; A Night at the Proms with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra performing American music and another show of dance anthems with DJ Jenny Greene; and The Coronas.
Other music highlights include Songhee Pansori Lab, and Lankum in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church; James Lavelle, The Soul Rebels, Lisa Hannigan, Loah, Saint Sister, Wallis Bird, Jófríður Ákadóttir aka JFDR, and Beoga, among others at the Róisín Dubh; Badly Drawn Boy, Áine Cahill, Altan, Stockton’s Wing, and a traditional music showcase at Monroe’s Live; and DJ sets at Electric.
The Festival Gallery returns to the Connacht Print Works, Market Street, with a major exhibition, Dark Night of the Soul, by acclaimed Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco, and an exhibition of new work, Inscriptions, by Ireland’s Ailbhe Ní Bhriain. There will also be a new commission, Flag, by Irish artist John Gerrard, After the Raft of the Medusa from UK/Australian artist John Beard, and Nicola Gunwhy’s Can We Ever Really See Each Other?
Exhibitions by other Irish artists include Memory Has a Pulse by Seán Cotter; Gary Robinson and Thomas Brezing at 126; Impressions’ Open Biennale and Golden Record presented by Galway International Arts Festival and Galway Arts Centre and featuring Dorothy Cross, Laura de Búrca, Susan MacWilliam, Lucy McKenna, and Paul Nugent.
Street art and talks
Street events at this year’s festival include two shows from France’s Transe Express, with the high-energy interactive promenade show Chariot of the Sea and the large-scale aerial performance Mobile Home. The Netherland’s Close-Act’s illuminated skeletal i-Puppets will invade the city street and Absolut Big Top. France’s Olivier Grossetête’s will stage his architectural installation The People Build.
The First Thought Talks features a series of conversations on power with academics, activists, architects, artists, and authors with participants including Marwa Al-Sabouni, Emma Rice, Colm Tóibín, Rebecca MacKinnon, Maureen Gaffney, Tom Tomorrow, Carole Cadwalladr, Caitriona Perry and Bennett Freeman, the US deputy assistant secretary of state 1999–2001.
Tickets are on sale now from www.giaf.ie