Galway International Arts Festival programme announced

Galway International Arts Festival has announced its programme for this year on Tuesday; a combination of digital and in-person events celebrating everything between ancient and modern Ireland.

The festival will surely be a huge hit for Galway this year, taking place in the closing of the Summer, between 28 August and 18 September. It represents another step in the reopening of Ireland’s dormant live arts sector.

However, the combination of digital and in-person events may signify the future with live performances on this scale for at least the rest of 2021.

Events will span across theatre, dance, art, music, performance, talks, and spectacle. Many of the events will be taking place outdoor also, to combine with the Irish government’s aims for an outdoor Summer.

Here are some of the events worth catching, either online or in-person, if you get yourself to Galway.

Medicine by Enda Walsh

Medicine is a dark and frequently absurdist work that shatters the boundary between cast and audience” — Galway International Arts Festival

Medicine promises a funny and Kafkaesque portrayal of how we treat people deemed ‘mentally ill.’ It comes from Enda Walsh, who The New York Times described as “one of the most fiercely individual voices in theatre today.”

Starring Aoife Duffin, Clare Barrett and Domhnall Gleeson, Medicine follows John Kane who the audience joins sitting in a hospital gurney sided by a jazz percussionist, an old man, two old women called Mary and a giant lobster. Who wouldn’t want to see what happens next?

Blindness by Simon Stephens

“Within hours it is clear that this is a blindness like no other. This blindness is infectious” — Galway International Arts Festival

Award – winning playwright Simon Stephens has adapted Nobel Prize–winner José Saramago’s novel Blindness as a sound installation, in one of the most immersive in-person events available at this year’s festival.

Directed by Walter Meierjohann with binaural sound design by Ben and Max Ringham, this performance is one that hits quite close to home. Juliet Stevenson voices this gripping story of the beginning and end of a global pandemic.

Other Voices

“For one night only, Other Voices Courage comes to the Festival to broadcast a one–off livestream from the fabulous setting of St. Nicholas’ Church in the heart of Galway City” — Galway International Arts Festival

No festival would be complete without Other Voices, a known staple of the Irish music scene. No Irish band would be complete without having played in the intimate settings that Other Voices has boasted. This year will be no different.

Performances will come from NewDad, Anna Mullarkey, Tolü Makay, Susan O’Neill and Mick Flannery in a genre-bend between soul, dreampop, shoegaze, and indie.

Mother and Baby Homes, a conversation

“The publication of the report of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes in January 2021 produced a storm of controversy, distress and anger” — Galway International Arts Festival

A year where sorrow had already overtaken the mainstream discourse wasn’t improved when Irish people reckoned with their past in the publication of the report of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes.

A report that woefully treated those who came from homes or were brought there, this talk promises to give a platform to those voices that the Irish government ignored.

A worthy experience to hear directly from the likes of Noelle Brown, survivor and activist, Maeve O’Rourke, lawyer and co–founder of the Clann Project, Conall O’Fatharta, journalist with the Irish Examiner, and Caelainn Hogan, author of the brilliant Republic of Shame. With Catriona Crowe as moderator.

Vinyl Hours 2021

“An intimate conversation with special guests, who play and speak about their go to playlists, a selection of eight songs, a soundtrack to their lives and what it stirs within them” — Galway International Arts Festival

One a bit close to my own heart — and the hearts of any Desert Island Discs fans — Vinyl Hours will bring listeners and attendees through some of the most important musical moments and influences across their lives.

First loves, first kisses to break-ups, and loss, music maestro Tiernan Henry will be joined by a number of guests in the O’Donoghue Theatre in NUIG. Expect to see award-winning and critically acclaimed musician and composer Philip King; diversity advocate, podcaster, and fashion influencer Sinead Burke; former Republic of Ireland football manager Brian Kerr, and Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan.

Find out more about the festival and check out more of the absolutely stacked programme here.

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