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Beyond The Pale: Clonmel Junction Arts Festival

Each week, Stage Door Live’s Associate Producer Janice de Bróithe takes a look at theatre Beyond The Pale. This week she sets her sights on the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival and its yoga, military, cute whores, and more.
OVERLOOK – A Military Story. Part of the Clonmel Junction Arts Featival. Photo by John Kelly.

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

It has been a week of ups and downs, with every day seeming to bring another theatre or company closure in the UK. Every day my social media feeds were full of desperate pleas from friends and colleagues for the government to take action. At last, yesterday Johnson pledged a rescue package to the tune of £1.5bn, much to the relief of an industry on its knees. It may already be too late for some, but it does offer a glimpse of hope.

On this side of the pond, though I wouldn’t say things are fabulous, they are also cautiously hopeful. Fears of second waves brought on by ‘Covidiots’ aside, the world is opening up again, and with the Arts Council re-opening bursary applications there is a feeling in the air that things are looking up, and events can happen.

One such event that is happening this week is Clonmel Junction Arts Festival. Another brilliant festival finding a new way to exist during a pandemic. The Festival started out as a celebration of touring theatre and live music almost twenty years ago. It has grown in that time into a week-long festival during which national and international share the stage with the best local talent.

It is fitting that this year’s festival is called 2020: Visionaries, for that is what the team at the festival has had to become in order to reimagine its programme. Much like Cork’s Midsummer Moments which I covered previously, they have created a combination of online events alongside a series of visual arts events in the town itself.

The Festival launched on Saturday and continues until next Sunday, and here are my highlights of what’s on offer:

Be Creative Clonmel

This event is brought to us by Kevin Power and Niamh Curry from Colour Hive. It involves a series of filmed tutorials aimed at local primary and secondary school students in which they learn to, well, get creative!

This first series, ‘In the Abstract Art and Portrait Drawing’, taking place on Thursday the 7th July, Niamh will show students how to use everyday objects to create original works, and how to compose a portrait.
The second series, taking place on Friday 8th July will be led by Kevin Power. He will teach you how to use your phone to get creative. You will be guided through the best tips and tricks from composition to editing and special effects.

So go on Clonmel – be creative! Details on how to register here.

Move on the Blueway

If you’re anything like me, the last few months have been fairly full of anxiety and stress, which is why this event is on my highlights list. It sounds like a slice of heaven.

Move on the Blueway, which takes place every day of the festival, brings us the best of yoga, tai chi and mindfulness with an energising class direct from the gorgeous shores of the River Suir. What better way to start your day?

An added bonus if you have an interest in insects – this is followed every day by Albert Nolan’s Bug Safari! Join him as he explores the smallest inhabitants of the Blueway, and maybe get inspired to go on your own bug safari.

You can register for this event here.

The Cute Whore: Extracts from a play

Now this I am only dying to see. Tipperary born writer/actor Eve O’Mahony talks about writing the script for ‘The Cute Whore: Life and Times of Peg Plunkett’ and performs some scenes from the script. For those of you who don’t know, Peg Plunkett was one of Ireland’s most infamous prostitutes and brothel owners. She was a most remarkable and extraordinary woman who blazed a trail through Georgian Dublin. I am very excited to delve into this event to learn more about this fascinating woman, and to hear extracts from the play.

It takes place on Thursday 9th July. You can register here.

OVERLOOK – A Military Story

As any of you who saw last week’s episode of Stage Door Live will know, we had Clonmel native Jack Reardon on to talk about Stagecraft Youth Theatre and he was only brilliant. Aside from running Stagecraft, Jack has been busy working on this project which is my number one highlight of the festival and I can’t wait to tune in.

Originally devised as a flagship production for Kickham Barrack’s in Clonmel, Jack will now present three short scenes from the production with cast members Megan McDonnell, Éanna Grogan and Fionntán Larney. He will also talk about the creative process and design ideas, and the teams designs and sketches will merge with the actor monologues.

As a director, I am unendingly nosy about other peoples’ creative processes, and I love getting a look at design ideas. (Yes, I am one of those who always watches director commentaries and special features on films). Needless to say, I am very excited for this event and have already registered.

It takes place on Friday 10th July, and you can register here.

Those are just my personal highlights of what is an excellent programme, and I would urge you all to check out the full programme of events for yourself.

Though some events have already passed, some of them are available to watch back so be sure to check out their Facebook Page.

Hats off to the team at the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival for bringing a brilliant festival together for all to enjoy: you clearly have 20:20 vision.

That was a terrible joke. I’m sorry.

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