Standing ovations for Cillian Murphy in Misterman and Propeller’s Shakespearean productions, and numerous sold-out shows mark this year’s Galway Arts Festival as among the most successful in the event’s 34 year history.
According to Galway Arts Festival artistic director Paul Fahy, audience figures increased by more than 30 per cent on last year.
“We had an ambitious box office target this year so we needed to increase our audience numbers,” he said, “but we were confident in the programme and thankfully visitors from all over the world helped make this year’s festival a great success. The festival proved to be a great boost for Galway again and we are very grateful for all of the support from our audiences.”
Misterman, written and directed by Enda Walsh, and featuring Cillian Murphy in a tour de force performance, was the hottest ticket in town over the past three weeks with lines of people queuing outside the Black Box Theatre nightly for returns and tickets selling for €100 on eBay.
“We are absolutely delighted at the response to Misterman, which is one of the most successful shows ever staged by the festival,” said Mr Fahy.
Other sold-out shows which brought audiences to their feet over the closing days of the festival included the Propeller’s inspired productions of The Comedy of Errors and Richard III, Australian Physical Theatre’s acrobatic comedy show Controlled Falling Project; Request Programme starring Eileen Walsh; and the readings by Roddy Doyle, Emma Donoghue, Colm Tóibín, and novelist and singer-songwriter Willy Vlautin.
The Festival Big Top which played to full houses also came to a close over the weekend with US hip-hop legends De La Soul and brass/funk/hip hop band, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, bringing the house down on Saturday night and delivering one of the best music events and party nights the city has ever enjoyed.
Street spectacle shows drew gasps of joy and excitement during the festival. France’s Les Philébulistes performed acrobatic feats on giant moving wheels while Australia’s Erth caused madness and mayhem for children and adults alike with their Dinosaur Petting Zoo show in the city centre. The Macnas Parade This Fierce Beauty was a huge success and attracted an estimated 60,000 onto the streets to see it.
The specially commissioned 40,000 square feet ABSOLUT Festival Gallery in the Galway Shopping Centre also enjoyed enormous attendences to see the marvellous exhibitions, including the stunning The Road, by Hughie O’Donoghue.
“We are delighted with how the festival went,” said festival CEO John Crumlish. “It is a great credit to all of our funders, sponsors, and friends that in a difficult economic environment they chose to invest in Galway Arts Festival in 2011. I would like to thank all the artists who appeared in the festival programme and the festival audience who as always are at the heart of what we do”