Galway International Arts Festival 2016

Everything that's coming to Galway in July

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Photo:- Manuel Harlan

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Photo:- Manuel Harlan

Theatre and dance

A new Enda Walsh play premiering at the GIAF has become something of an annual theatre highlight in the city, and 2016 will be no different with the world premiere of Arlington [a love story]. However this will be a play with a difference, incorporating dance as well as drama.

Written and directed by Enda Walsh and choreographed by Emma Martin, it tells the story of Isla, who is stuck in a tower, waiting for her number to be called, and a young man who faces a stark decision. It stars Love/Hate's Charlie Murphy, along with Hugh O’Conor, and Oona Doherty in a Landmark Productions and GIAF co-production in Leisureland, Salthill, from July 7 to 24 at 8pm, with previews from July 7 to 10.

A trilogy of Enda Walsh short plays, Rooms, alsos take place at the festival, including Kitchen (world premiere ); A Girl's Bedroom, and Room 303. Each runs for 20 minutes in The Shed, Middle Pier, The Docks July 11 to 24 July, from 11am to 6pm and 11am to 8pm, depending on the day.

Simon Stephens, author of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, and Mark Eitzel, singer-songwriter and leader of the acclaimed band American Music Club, join forces to co-author Song From Far Away, which receives its Irish premiere in the Town Hall from July 12 to 17.

On a winter’s day in New York, Willem gets the call. It’s Mum. Pauli’s died. She wants him to come back to Amsterdam. It's time for Willem to deal with his estranged family, a lost love, and an unexamined life.

Sure to be one of the most popular shows at the festival, the British theatre hit, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour - written by Lee Hall, the Tony and Olivier Award–winning author behind Billy Elliott, Shakespeare in Love, and War Horse - gets its Irish premiere in the Town Hall from July 19 to 23. A Catholic schoolgirl choir trip to the Scottish capital goes badly wrong in this funny, sad and raucously rude tribute to being young, lost and out of control!

Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot will be performed by Druid Theatre Co. Directed by Garry Hynes, and starring Garrett Lombard, Aaron Monaghan, Rory Nolan, and Marty Rea, it runs in the Mick Lally Theatre, from July 7 to 23.

A disillusioned sculptor called Pearse questions the legacy of Patrick Pearse and whether his spirit and ideology are a force for good or evil. This is Fornocht do Chonac/Naked I Saw You by Eoghan Ó Tuairisc, which comes to An Taibhdhearc, from July 7 to 16.

Death at Intervals, starring Olwen Fouéré and Raymond Scannell, adapted and directed by Kellie Hughes from the novel by José Saramago, asks what would happen if death stopped and people never died. See it in An Taibhdhearc from July 19 to 24.

Invitation To A Journey, a dance/theatre show from CoisCéim Dance Theatre, Crash Ensemble, and Fishamble, which looks at the life of Eileen Gray, the innovative Irish modernist architect, who is largely unknown in Ireland. See this world premiere in the Black Box from July 9 to 16.

In A Simple Space, seven acrobats push themselves to their physical limits in an awe–inspiring display of strength, skill and creativity. It gets its Irish premiere in the Black Box from July 19 to 24.

Big Top and other concerts

This year sees more Big Top concerts in the Fisheries Field than ever, with concerts by Elvis Costello & The Imposters (Friday July 15 ); Bell X1 (Saturday July 16 ); Villagers, led by the gifted Conor J O'Brien (Tuesday July 19 ); Imelda May and Damien Dempsey (Thursday July 21 ); The Gloaming (Friday July 22 ), and British alternative rock legends Suede (Saturday July 23 ),

Other arts fest concerts will take place in the Róisín Dubh with American singer, composer and electronic music iconoclast Dan Deacon (July 20 and 21 ); Mary Coughlan, in her first festival performance in more than a decade (July 11 and 12 ); Popical Island vs Citóg Records, featuring bands from each label playing live (July 13 ); The Choice Prize nominated Pleasure Beach, with Orchid Collective, and later rock-electronica band King Kong Company (both July 14 ); The Souljazz Orchestra (July 16 ); Irish post-rock pioneers God Is An Astronaut (July 22 ); Irish electronica acts Daithí, Mmoths, and Toby Kaar (July 23 ); Irish soul singer Brian Deady, who has been praised by Chic' Nile Rodgers (July 24 )

Concerts in Monroe's Live include the Sharon Shannon Band (July 12 ); Trad with Seán Smyth, Alan Kelly, Jim Murray, Jim Higgins (July 13 ); New Orleans style jazz/funk band Stomptown Brass (July 15 ); Mundy (July 16 ); Donegal folk/roots trio The Henry Girls (July 21 ); and The Hothouse Flowers (July 22 ). Monroe's also host the annual Traditional Music Showcase of lunchtime gigs throughout the festival.

Other shows to note are We Banjo 3 with Hermitage Green, and Jim Jam for a night of folk, trad, bluegrass, and Americana (Seapoint, Salthill, July 13 ); The Pipes, The Pipes, a music and live art performance devised by Donal Dineen, featuring Padraig McGovern, Leonard Barry and Maitiú Ó Casaide (St Nicholas' Collegiate Church, July 16 ); guitar genius Tommy Emmanuel (Seapoint, July 23 ); and Optimo, Tama Sumo, Nightmares on Wax, DJ Stingray, and Sleezy Mcqueen (Electric, July 21 ).

Street events, talks, and comedy

Fire–breathing insects, beautiful butterflies and giant dragons will stalk the city streets in Insects by Sarruga (July 10 and 11 ) while The Scent of Sawdust features acrobatics performed on an enormous art nouveau structure (July 16 and 17 ).

The major theme for this year's talks will be identity, looking at the term in its broadest sense to cover national, political, personal, sexual, and gender identity, through the politics and economy of Iceland, Irish rebel songs, and fashion along the way. Well known people will be interviewed about their favourite alums in the Vinyl Hours public interviews. For more see

There will be plenty of laughs at the festival too with Irish sketch trio Foil Arms and Hog, with Steve Bennett (Róisín Dubh, July 15 ) and leading Australian comics Sammy J & Randy (Róisín Dubh, July 19 ); and the annual treat that is Gerry Mallon's Laughter Loft in The King's Head, throughout the festival.

Visual arts

A highlight of the visual arts programme is Francisco de Pájaro, a street and urban artist from Barcelona who turns bin bags, boxes, broken furniture and rubbish into human figures, monsters, and animals. See them around the city streets during the festival.

Another highlight will be Hughie O’Donoghue's One Hundred Years and Four Quarters, an exhibition of new paintings, painted constructions, and sculpture in the Festival Gallery, Connacht Print Works, Middle Street, exploring four lives in 1916. The exhibition forms part of the official Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

Other exhibitions are Donnacha Cahill's The Gramophone, with a gramophone popping up at various locations, with the public able to connect it to mobile devices to share sounds; In Spectres of Modernity (NUIG Gallery ), Ruth McHugh explores the Ballymun flats; in Making Ireland Modern (Bailey Allen Hall ), Gary A Boyd and John McLaughlin Architects looks at 10 infrastructural episodes spanning 1916 to 2016.

In Foreign Bodies (126 Gallery ) Italian artists Elisabetta di Sopra, Giancarlo Marcali and Ilaria Margutti, in a multi–disciplinary exhibition of textile, video and photography; for The Savage Loves His Native Shore (University Hospital Galway ), explores the west of Ireland.

Impressions - Art Books (Cluain Mhuire, GMIT ) is an art book exhibition and showcase experimental and innovative artists’ books; Creative Wave (Galway City Museum ) explores the growth and energy of the creative movement associated with Galway and the west; while Border Crossings (Galway Arts Centre ) brings together curators and artists from Ireland and Australia to investigate ethnic conflict, the legacy of colonialism, and reconciliation.

For booking see


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