Tuam Arts Festival takes place this weekend

John Cooper Clarke.

John Cooper Clarke.

THE 10TH Tuam Arts Festival opens tonight and runs each day up to and including Monday, with storytelling, music, theatre, and the legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

John Cooper Clarke, one of the best and most loved of all English performance poets, will take to the stage of the Correlea Court Hotel tomorrow evening.

From early club gigs in the 1970s - opening for the Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello - John rapidly established himself as the poet laureate of punk. His witty, street smart, often very humorous look at everyday British life, society, and culture, is best experienced through such classic poems as ‘Kung Fu International’, ‘You Never See A Nipple In The Daily Express’, and ‘Euro Communist/Gucci Socialist’. Today his poems are part of the British GCSEs.

The festival opens today with storyteller Eddie Lenihan in the library at 2pm. Sparkplug, the latest comic musical adventure by Little John Nee, set in the wilds of rural Donegal, can be seen in The Mall Theatre at 8pm.

Sparkplug Callaghan moves into his late uncle’s disused barn. His musical band has moved on and he is on his own faced with the eternal predicament: ‘How does a man make a living in the middle of nowhere?’

Jinx Lennon, agit-folk poet troubadour and performance poet, will perform in Canavan’s at 10.30am. Pat McCabe has described him thus: “If Kavanagh was a mystic on a five-bar gate, Jinx sits on a milk churn, wired to a beautiful industrial moon.”

Apart from John Cooper Clarke, tomorrow will see the theatre show, Opportunity Knocks, by local playwright and director Owen Ward. It stars Mary Ralph, Rory O’Connor, and Aidan Corless. Poet Wayne Dunne will makes his stage debut presenting his observations on everyday life in Canavan’s at 8pm.

In Canavan’s from 11pm there will be music from Nanu Nanu - duo Marc2 and Glitterface who use analogue and modular synthesisers to create heavy beats and otherworldly vocals - and performance artist Vicky Langan.

Saturday opens with Dog and String puppet theatre presenting Billy Holiday Shopping Centre at 1pm. That same day, the Cortoon/Lavally Drama Group will stage two new plays by writer/director Fred Williams, in The Mall Theatre - What’s That Noise Downstairs? about a father-and-son burglary at a ladies’ retirement home - and A Night Out With The Lads, about three city types out to enjoy a weekend in the country.

For electronic music fans there will be Ghost with support from Patrick Ryan from 9.30pm in Rustic’s. At 11pm in Canavan’s there will be Strange Boats, whose diverse influences include Bruce Springsteen, Sam Cooke, and The Clash. Support is from indie/alternative band Razz.

On Sunday at 12.30pm there will be a show with poet and singer-songwriter Seamus Ruttledge and poet Jimi McDonnell in the Abbey Coffee Shop.

Tickets for all events will be available from the box office in Tuam. For more information see www.earwigart.com

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