GALWAY’S SECOND annual theatre festival takes place from October 20 to 25 and details of this year’s programme were announced at its press launch recently in Massimo’s Bar.
The festival takes place in venues across the town and building on last year’s success, it spills out of Nuns’ Island Theatre into the Town Hall Theatre and the Galway Arts Centre.
While it may be the last of the local festivals, the Galway Theatre Festival boasts many firsts with no fewer than three new plays, four rehearsed readings of previously unproduced works, and a British/Irish premier.
GTF’s Roisin Stack outlined some of the innovations that characterise this year’s offering.
“We have a website this year where a full programme is available to download, along with parking information, googlemaps venue links, and links to the webpages of all theatre companies involved,” she said.
“We’re also using more venues than last year and there’s an official festival club at Ard Bia. There are three new local companies featured in the programme; Suantraí, Anam and Danu, while Bluepatch are coming from Dublin.
“We put out a national call for submissions for this year’s rehearsed readings and got a good response to that, with 42 scripts sent in. As well as the plays and readings, the line-up also includes the screening of a feature-length documentary, Shtax; A Homecoming about local performer Aindrias de Staic.”
The festival programme features a strong combination of new plays and established works by the likes of Brian Friel, Harold Pinter, and Neil LaBute.
Starting with the line-up of premieres, Decadent Theatre Co present the latest play by Christian O’Reilly, Here We Are Again Still which was commissioned by the Galway City Council. It is a moving and funny play about two broken men trying to make their way back from the margins.
Mephisto stage Pat Hynes’ Wrecked, which was one of the scripts to receive a rehearsed reading at last year’s festival. Stack describes it as “a very contemporary fast-paced play about a group of lads crashing the afters of a wedding”.
Danu Theatre Company stage Dolores, the British and Irish premiere of American author Edward Callan Barker’s drama about spousal abuse, while Fregoli present Shane McDermott’s Dispersia, all about “a place full of lost things”.
Also featuring in this year’s programme is Moonfish Theatre Co with its adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic story, The Secret Garden. Zelig Theatre stage Geraldine Aron’s popular drama The Donahue Sisters; Brian Friel’s The Yalta Games is performed by Anam Theatre Co; Suantraí present Harold Pinter’s Ashes to Ashes; and Dublin company Blue Patch will perform Neil LaBute’s Medea Redux. There is also inspired tomfoolery and clowning from The Gombeens to look forward to in Donkey Feathers.
The four scripts selected for rehearsed readings at this year’s festival are Leopoldville by Jaki McCarrick, Mountain by Mick Mulcahy, The Quare Land by John McManus, and Snow by Ciaran Ruby.
Tonight the festival is running an arts-themed table quiz in the Galway Arms as a fund raising venture. There will be spot prizes and finger food, and a table of four costs €20.
On Monday, as Roisin Stack puts it, “we’re having a Ryanair-style ‘seat sale’ where a limited number of seats from each show will be sold at €3.99 to patrons who call in to the Arts Centre at 47 Dominick Street.”
All in all, plenty to look forward to then and Galway Theatre Festival looks well set to build on the success of last year’s debut offering.
Further details of the programme can be obtained from www.galwaytheatrefestival.com and the Galway Arts Centre on 091-65886.