Each week, Stage Door Live’s Associate Producer Janice de Bróithe takes a look at theatre Beyond The Pale.
The sun is shining, the heat is rising and the fair winds bring with them an onslaught of angry pollen determined to make your nose run and your eyes itch. (Curse you, hay fever). It can only mean one thing: it’s exam season. Except that there are no exams this year so that’s good. It is also the dawn of festival season. Or it would be, if not for the whole global pandemic thing. So that’s bad.
Except, that it isn’t quite as bad as it could be, thanks to some very enterprising and clever people who have found ways to adapt their festivals for a Covid world. It is heartening to see my news feeds start to fill with events that are taking place, even if they are online. First up and leading the charge into this foray of online festivals is one very close to my Carlovian heart: Carlow Arts Festival.
Due to take place this weekend, it was one of the first festivals to cancel. This multi-disciplinary festival has been part of the fabric of Irish festivals for just over 40 years, and in the last number of years has become bigger, bolder and more ambitious than ever under the fantastic directorship of Jo Mangan and her team. Its cancellation was not just a blow to the hundreds of artists and event workers due to participate, but also to the town itself.
Thankfully, they are not a team to be completely outdone by a virus, and were quick to get their heads together to figure out how they could keep the festival alive, even if it couldn’t happen in the traditional way. You may remember I covered their re-imagining of their ARTWORKS exhibition in an earlier blog, and it turns out that was just the first step towards their re-imagining of the entire festival, which they have cannily named: SLICES.
Carlow Arts Festival #SLICES makes use of all the digital technology available to the team to create and present 6 events happening over the entire summer. ARTWORKS, which I covered earlier, is SLICE #5 and will take place later in the summer. There is also a Virtual Reality Cinema planned for July (SLICE #4) and an Augmented Reality /Live Performance (SLICE #6). I have no idea what that will be, and the only information we are given on that one is the name and that details will come soon but it sounds incredibly exciting.
However, the one I am here to talk about is SLICE #2 which is a live broadcast happening this Saturday 6th June. This live stream, taking place on what would have been the weekend of the festival, will feature an amazing line-up of national, international and native Carlow artists from a broad range of disciplines. There will be circus, dance, comedy, music, theatre, visual art and opera.
Going LIVE next weekend! Thanks to digital technology, we’ve been able to rethink, reset and reinvent what we do in 2020. This is the festival even we didn’t know could happen, and features acts from Argentina to Austria, the USA to Carlow. Taking place on what would have been the weekend of the Carlow Arts Festival, we will live-stream SLICE #2 of the festival to online audiences.The special broadcast at 8pm on 6 June will feature a stellar line-up of national, international and native Carlow artists from a diverse range of art forms from Circus, Opera, Dance, Comedy, Theatre, Visual Art, New Writing & Music – including newly commissioned and site-specific work.Featuring Louis Lovett (Theatre Lovett) as international art critic Villum Harsh (our festival host) a mix of live and pre-recorded content will be streamed as a live broadcast across our social channels and website.Find out more at www.carlowartsfestival.com Artists include:Crash Ensemble, Amanda Feery Theatre Lovett, Felispeaks, Exotic v. Baskin: The Micro-Opera Tom Swift Christina Zauner, Dana Kaufman, Ariana Lucas, Lucia Lucas, @Cecilia Irene Kuska, Cian Austin Jesus Kinsella, Emma Martin.Arts Council Ireland Carlow Arts Office Carlow Nationalist KCLR96FM Love Carlow group Love Carlow Carlow Weather Carlow Town & County – The Good News Good News Carlow Town Carlow County Library MyCarlow Carlow, Ireland Carlow College, St. Patrick's VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art and The George Bernard Shaw Theatre @Visual Artists Ireland, Ciara Gogarty Collette Máire Ní Abhartaigh Ferga Mo-ran, Lisa Nolan Williamson, Jo Mangan, Ed Cahill, Suzanne Morrissey Forde, Niamh Lunny, David Morgan, Fintan Phelan,
Posted by Carlow Arts Festival on Friday, May 29, 2020
There is a lot to be excited about this event, and I’m finding it hard to decide what I’m most looking forward to: Louis Lovett as art critic Villum Harsh serving as our host for the evening, Cian Kinsella (one half of comedy duo Lords of Strut) guiding us through his tips on isolation and gardening from a field, Felispeaks, a Nigerian-Irish poet & performer who has created a brand new piece for this event, THISCOMFORT, a circus/dance act with Christina Zauner & Sam Letch which promises to be breath-taking or (and hold your hats for this one) Exotic v. Baskin: The Micro Opera. Yes, a micro opera based on the true story of our favourite crazy big cat feud, Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin. If that isn’t worth tuning in for, I don’t know what is.
You can check out the full line up for Thursday’s event HERE. I promise you, there is something for everyone. The entire stream can be viewed live on their Facebook page and YouTube channel and will be available in its entirety for a full week. As always, Carlow Arts Festival is committed to accessibility and the broadcast will have Irish Sign Language Interpretation and/or subtitles throughout.
Two Circus Performers, Christina Zauner and Sam Letch, literally taking Circus and Dance "Hand in Hand" as part of our Live Stream – SLICE #2 of Carlow Arts Festival this Saturday night. THISComfort explores the possibilities of spontaneous movement, physical trust and creative cinematography. Tune in on Saturday evening to see the full thing… ****SLICE #2 of Carlow Arts Festival streams live at 8pm 6 JuneThe special broadcast will feature a stellar line-up of national, international and native Carlow artists from a diverse range of art forms from Circus, Opera, Dance, Comedy, Theatre, Visual Art, New Writing & Music – including newly commissioned and site-specific work.Featuring Louis Lovett (Theatre Lovett) as international arts critic Villum Harsch (our festival host), a mix of live and pre-recorded content will be streamed as a live broadcast on our website and across our social media.The broadcast will have Irish Sign Language (ISL) and/or Subtitles throughout.Full details at www.carlowartsfestival.comFunded by Arts Council Ireland****
Posted by Carlow Arts Festival on Sunday, May 31, 2020
#SLICES appears to be a very well-thought out and creative re-imagining of what a festival can be in this crazy Covid world, and I feel that they are very much setting the standard. What both strikes me and interests me in the festival is that they are not simply ‘putting some stuff online’ (not that there is anything inherently wrong with that) but rather they are utilising the technology and working with it in such a way that they are curating and creating a digital festival with content suited to that very purpose.
It will be interesting to see moving forward how this work will leave traces for future festivals. This kind of innovation leaves its mark, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
SLICE #2 broadcasts this Saturday at 8pm. Be sure to check it out, I know I will!
To check out the full line up Carlow Arts Festival #SLICES check out their website.
If you yourself are situated outside the ‘Pale’ and you have (or know of) some form of event or happening that you would like me to cover in this blog, please get in touch – I am interested in everything.