Beyond The Pale: Midsummer Moments

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Each week, Stage Door Live’s Associate Producer Janice de Bróithe takes a look at theatre Beyond The Pale.

As the summer rolls on and restrictions are tentatively eased, there is a feeling of cautious hope in the air. Hope that we will soon be able travel beyond our county lines, hope that we can hang out with our friends and family again, even if we can’t hug them, (yet), hope that the world is returning to some sense of normalcy, and even, hope that the theatre we love may yet live. This week’s announcement that the Dublin Fringe Festival is going to go ahead in (within socially distant parameters of course) was a very welcome one, and this week the Cork Midsummer Festival, (which announced its cancellation in March) comes to life in the form of ‘Midsummer Moments’.

Since its establishment in 1997, the Cork Midsummer Festival has been a highlight of the Irish festival calendar. With offerings of theatre, site specific works, music, circus, street theatre, visual art, debate and dance the 16 day festival is known for being bold, ambitious and full of ideas. With mass free events, an eye to public participation and engagement and at its heart, always, a sense of playful joy that relishes in the spectacle of culture, the Midsummer is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s best multi-disciplinary festivals. Having lived in Cork, and experienced that festival buzz first-hand, it’s cancellation was most definitely a blow. However, like Carlow Arts Festival finding a way forward with its #Slices, Cork hasn’t let Covid crush its spirit. They have created ‘Midsummer Moments’ and, lads: it’s DEADLY!

Join us for Midsummer Moments, 10 – 21 June

We're delighted to announce Midsummer Moments, 10 – 21 June, an exciting programme of events including travelling theatre, billboard walks and online events to be experienced outdoor, at home, with artists in residence and through online discussions. For details, visit corkmidsummer.com #MidsummerMoments

Posted by Cork Midsummer Festival on Thursday, May 28, 2020

The team of the Cork Midsummer Festival have created such an incredible programme of events for Midsummer Moments, you could almost be forgiven for thinking they’ve barely cancelled anything and I am hard set to pick a favourite. From ‘audio walks’ to a city-wide ‘picnic at home’ and some witchcraft for all the family (yes, witchcraft) there is something for everyone. As hard as it was, I have chosen three highlights. Warning: this may give you the urge to travel beyond your 20km to visit Cork, resist the urge!

AUDIO WALKS BY TOM LANE

I love walking, and I love listening to an audio book or podcast while I do so. It has been one of my saving graces over the last few months of lockdown. Audio Walks takes that notion, and turns it into your own personal theatrical journey. With two versions to choose from The Shakey Bridge Listening Project (with narration by Mark D’Aughton) which takes 15 minutes and Hidden Currents (with narration by Olwen Fouéré) which takes 30 mins, all you need is a smart phone, headphones and your own two feet to follow the path. If it were me, I’d go for it at either sunrise or sunset, that way I’d get the beauty of sun rising/setting over the Lee, and the quiet calm of early morning/late evening to fully lose myself in the experience.

More details HERE.

LITTLE DRUIDS FOR HUMANITY

This is the witchcraft I was on about and honestly, makes me wish I was currently a child living in Ballincollig. As part of Cruinniú na nÓg, Chilean theatre makers Teatro Container in association with Cork Midsummer Festival and Cork artists Francesca Castellano and film-maker Linda Curtin have created this magical virtual arts project. Over the last few weeks, children have been working away in their homes, brewing up ancient magical potions, performing neighbourhood enchantments in their bedrooms, kitchens and homes. The aim: making the world a better place. They have filmed their magic, and on the 13th June, a short video of their work will be shared with the world. I think this is amazing, and I can’t wait to see the sorcery unfold.

More details HERE.

CONTACT

Now this, dear readers, is something that literally made me squeal with excitement. Why? It’s real, actual in-person theatre. Corcadorca has always been a central part of the festival, and this year, thank the theatrical gods, is no different. Eschewing the current trend of creating work for online dissemination, Pat Kiernan and his incredibly talented team have found a way to do what they do best within the confines of the pandemic.

This will be a travelling theatre performance. The highly visual piece will be brought to different locations around the city and performed for the residents of those areas. Audiences will be able to view the performance from their very own gardens, socially distant from one another. This is beautifully simple and rather genius: you can’t come to theatre, so let’s bring the theatre to you. It will be a shared, lived in the moment experience, and no doubt every performance will be slightly different, as theatre should be. Best of all, there will be no screens involved.

Truthfully, this gives rise to such a bubble of hope in my chest that, even though I won’t be able to see this show, I am so glad it is happening. Thank you and well done Corcadorca.

More details HERE.

So there you have it, my three picks from Cork’s Midsummer Moments. It all kicks off this Wednesday 10th June. As I said, it was incredibly hard to narrow it down to just these three highlights, so I highly suggest you take a look at the entire programme – there is a lot on offer. It is taking all my will-power not to throw caution to the wind, hop in my car and relocate to Cork for a few days, but I will resist the temptation.

You can find the full programme here on Cork Midsummer’s website..

If you are living in Cork, and are fortunate to enjoy some ‘moments’ do let us know! Sure we’re only gagging for it, and more than happy to live vicariously through you lucky Corkonians….

If you have a programme, event or initiative that you would like covered in my ‘Deep Dive’ or Beyond The Pale series please get in touch, I’d be happy to talk!

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About Author

Janice de Bróithe is a freelance theatre director, writer and facilitator hailing from Carlow. A self confessed nerd addicted to learning, she holds both a BA in Drama & English an MA in Theatre Performance from UCC. To top it off, she graduated with a PG Dip in Theatre Directing from LAMDA in 2013. Having cured herself of the notions of city living she now happily creates theatre in the wilds of the Irish countryside.

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