HOW THEATRE and performance is made, presented, and experienced has changed dramatically over the past 12 months, and the 2021 Galway Theatre Festival will explore this new relationship with creativity and space.
The Galway Theatre Festival runs from Friday April 30 to Sunday May 9 as a digital event, bringing theatre shows, works-in-progress, workshops, talks, and a music based event featuring the acclaimed ConTempo Quartet, streaming live into living rooms, home offices and bedrooms around Ireland.
Shows at the festival
A highlight of the festival could prove to be Mona, a GTF commission, and a work-in-progress by Mairead Ni Chronin and James Riordan. Mona is a meditation on the changing nature of business, our passion for human connection, and how our actions as consumers are transforming our shopping experiences, and informing where we might go next.
The Made In Galway strand will also focus on work currently under development. Eileen Gibbons invites readers to get involved, to participate, to read, to perform, to comment or simply to observe, in The Common Good. Beluga Theatre and international collaborators Hyemin Han and Bright Ong, will present Borders, a piece for audiences aged eight upwards, exploring borders in our lives, visible and invisible; while one man’s struggle with alcohol forms the basis of Kevin Murphy’s Shakes.
GTF’s Galway2020 project InterAction returns in part, with two artists presenting the next phase of their digital work. Genre.ReWork by Tara Jaye Burke is an interactive blog based experience questioning our relationship with technology and media as consumers, while Eszter Nemethi invites audience members, and theatre practitioners to discuss what it means to be an audience member in our own homes, with Asking the Audience.
Music fans can look forward to a 15 minute oasis of art with Embodying Glass, a music and dance theatre collaboration between Contempo Quartet, Galway Music Residency and dancer/actor Jérémie Cyr-Cooke, responding to the music of Phillip Glass
Other shows include the award-winning audio play, GirlPlay by the Rampant Collective; Dragon, Fizz and Chips Theatre’s musical theatre about toxic masculinity and Tinder; Spontaneous Theatre People’s Sweet Rock Cáll, a multi-lingual, multimedia international improv theatre piece, exploring what happens when truth, technology, and hackers collide; and work created for, in, and about our experiences of the pandemic.
Talks and workshops
Choosing to work in the arts is choosing a life of adventure and unpredictability. Psychologist and bassist with The Blizzards, Louize Carroll, will lead a session about creativity, vulnerability, and how to better look after our mental health.
Despite the restrictions on travel, Cathal McGuire will bring an international element to the programme, in Writing for Objects - a conversation with Canadian theatre maker Francis Monty. There will also be a lighting design workshop and a panel discussion on theatre as Gaeilge.
This year’s festival will also see GTF’s new Dramaturgy Programme, funded by the Arts Council. Three dramaturgs - Claire Mullane, Sarah Hoover, and Marina Ní Dhubhain - will work with Gavin Kostick, of Fishamble: The New Play Company and will each be paired with a Mentor - Maisie Lee, Davey Kelleher, and Pamela McQueen.
For the festival’s opening event, Discovering Dramaturgy, the dramaturgs and mentors will discuss this new project, and their work with the 2021 festival artists. Gavin Kostick will also lead a dramaturgy masterclasses.