Arts Festival launches cracking programme

World, European, and Irish premieres in theatre and dance, leading international rock bands, the best in Irish comedy, and an array of international street theatre will all feature in this year’s Galway Arts Festival which takes place from Monday July 15 to Sunday 28.


A highlight of this year’s programme will be the Irish premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring, from Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, choreographed by the brilliant Irish choreographer Michael Keegan Dolan. During its London run The Times called it “inspired...exhilarating”. This production will also feature Keegan-Dolan’s new interpretation of Petrushka. See it in the Black Box from July 13 to 20 (excluding Sunday 14 ).

Following sensational reviews in Edinburgh, New York, and London the multi-award winning Mies Julie makes its Irish debut in the Town Hall from July 22 to 28.

This new adaptation of Strindberg’s play is by acclaimed director Yael Farber and sets the drama in a remote South African farmhouse 18 years after the end of apartheid, and the love affair between a black farm labourer and his white employer’s daughter.

The Outgoing Tide was a hit at least year’s festival and its writer, Bruce Graham, and production company, Northlight Theatre, return with Stella & Lou, for its European premiere in the Town Hall from July 16 to 21.

In a Philadelphia bar, lonely bartender Lou; nurse Stella, who has endured a failed marriage; and Donnie, who is uncertain about his upcoming wedding, help each other face up to the challenges of their respective futures.

The world premiere of Riverrun, written, performed, and directed by Olwen Fouéré, and inspired by James’s Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, takes place in the Druid Lane Theatre from July 18 to 20 and 22 to 27.

Howie The Rookie, written and directed by Mark Rowe (Intermission, Perrier’s Bounty ) and starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Love/Hate ) is a wild, urban odyssey through a nightmare landscape – hilarious and grotesque by turns. See it in An Taibhdhearc from July 22 to 27.

Geraldine Aaron’s A Galway Girl, charting a one couple’s incompatible but enduring marriage, takes place in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway, from July 16 to 20 and 22 to 27.

Blue Teapot brings its outstanding production of Christian O’Reilly’s Sanctuary, dealing with the difficulties and discriminations disabled people face in forming relationships, to the Blue Teapot Theatre, Munster Avenue from July 17 to 20 to July 24 to 27.

If Stuart Little was a wild Irish rodent from the midlands he might be like Shay Mouse, the titular character in Pat McCabe’s The Adventures of Shay Mouse - The Mouse From Longford, a family show in the Nuns Island Theatre from July 15 to 28.

Tom Murphy’s The Last Days Of A Reluctant Tyrant has been reimainged as An Tíoránach Drogallach, an as Gaeilge production from An Taibhdhearc from July 16 to 20.

Using traditional and contemporary circus techniques, Knee Deep promises to be a spectacular display of choreography, acrobatics, trapeze and aerial stunts, full of physical skill. See it in the Black Box from July 22 to 28.

Hyperactive, a new work for five virtuoso male dancers, choreographed by John Scott, and featuring frenetic falls, athletic jumps, and physical extensions, takes place in the Absolut Festival Gallery, Galway Shopping Centre, from July 16 to 20.


The ‘Big Four’ concerts for the arts festival take place in The Big Top in the Fisheries Field. That Grizzly Bear - one of the most exciting indie rock bands at work today - play the Big Top on Friday July 19 at 7pm. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood reviewing their Manchester gig for The Guardian, described their performance as “mesmerizing...nobody makes music quite like this”. It has the potential to be the Galway gig of the year.

Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, who this year released his fine new album, The Beast In Its Tracks, plays on Saturday July 20 at 7pm. Two of Ireland’s leading singer-songwriters Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey play a double headline show at the Big Top on Thursday July 25 from 7pm. Ireland’s Queen of rock’n’roll, Imelda May is in the Big Top on Friday July 26 at 7pm.

Classical music fans can look forward to the RTÉ Orchestra hosting ‘a night at the proms’ in the Big Top (July 27 ) and there will also be the Big Top Silent Disco (July 27 ).

The Róisín Dubh will host a number of gigs. Galway soul, funk, and r’n’b fans will enjoy - the exciting new blue eyed soul singer Matthew E White (July 17 ), soul legend Lee Fields (July 23 ) and the Hot 8 Brass Band (July 21 ).

Also playing the Róisín Dubh are indie-rock singer-songwriter and comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis and his band (July 16 ); Irish singer-songwriting sister duo Heathers (July 15 ); folk-pop duo Hudson Taylor (July 22 ); and Jerry Fish (July 27 ).

Monroe’s Live will host singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy (July 18 ); Donegal folk/trad trio The Henry Girls (July 25 ); and Donal Lunny with Pádraig Rynne and Sylvain Barou (July 24 ). Monroe’s and the Radisson Live Lough will also host a series of trad lunchtime gigs throughout the festival.

Athenry’s Julie Feeney, presenting her new opera Bird in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church (July 28 ); Jack L will stage his acclaimed The 27 Club in Seapoint, Salthill (July 24 ); Seapoint will also host Tubular Bells For Two (July 27 ); while Kaleidoscope (ConTempo Quartet and accordionist Dermot Dunne ) play St Augustine’s (July 21 ).

Concerts in the Radisson Live Lounge are Beausoleil & Michael Doucet, who will bring the sounds of Louisianna’s traditional music (July 24 ); Frankie Gavin & De Dannan (July 18 ); and a new line up of Arcady (July 16 ).

Street events

Barcelona street theatre company Sarruga will bring their pet dragons to Galway. Watch out for these fire breathing beasts in the city centre on July 15 and 16. France’s Les Pepones will stage The Flying Trapeze, a breathtaking comic tale with astonishing acrobatics, swings, catches, hangs, and somersaults in Eyre Square on July 20 and 21.

England’s The Dream Engine Heliosphere will see an enormous, light-filled, helium balloon glides through the city centre on Saturday July 20, suspending a balletic aerialist below who tumbles and turns from ground level to twenty metres above the audience. Also keep an eye out for the Lightwalkers between Eyre Square and Spanish Arch on the same day.

Catalan Max Calaf Seve will present Any Day on the city streets on July 20 and 21. Featuring a trampoline, this show mixes physical theatre and comedy.

First Thought talks

The First Thought talks return this festival and will cover subjects such as the role of creativity in education; the challenges facing traditional media in the face of digital media; young creatives; the creativity of the Irish Diaspora; and urban environments.

Playwright Enda Walsh will give a public interview in NUI Galway (July 21 ); acclaimed author Colum McCann will read from his new novel Transatlantic (Hotel Meyrick, July 16 ); Druid’s Marie Mullen and Garry Hynes will be in conversation (NUIG, July 20 ); and Belfast punk impresario and subject of the film Good Vibrations, Terry Hooley will also be interviewed (NUIG, July 21 ). There will also be play readings by Michael Marshall and Brian Martin.

Other events

Comedy at this year’s festival features Ardal O’Hanlon, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Andrew Maxwell, David O’Doherty (all Róisín Dubh ) and Gerry Mallon’s Laughter Loft in The King’s Head.

Artists exhibiting at this year’s festival are Howard Hodgkin, John Gerrard, Nathaniel Mellors, Richard Gilligan, Róisín Coyle, Shifting Ground, Derrick Hawker, SDebi O’Hehir, Levi Hanes, Brian Kenny, Pat Collins, and Kathleen Furey.

For more information and online bookings see The festival box office opens on June 17 at the Galway Tourist Office, Forster Street.


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