The Irish premiere of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka; ‘Love/Hate’ star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Howie the Rookie; Brooklyn rockers Grizzly Bear; a concert performance of a new opera by Julie Feeney, and Galway’s first Night at the Proms with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at the Festival Big Top are just some of the highlights of the 36th Galway Arts Festival.
Running from 15-28 July, the festival features an action-packed street theatre programme which kicks off on the opening night with Barcelona’s Sarruga and their fire-breathing Dragons. The streets of Galway will come alive during the weekend of 20-21 July, opening with the outdoor flying trapeze show Les Pepones in Eyre Square performed on an aerial rig 35-feet above the audience.
Musical highlights at the Big Top include a double-bill that brings together two of Ireland’s most gifted songwriters and musicians, Glen Hansard and Damian Dempsey, a double-bill featuring Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band with Mick Flannery and support from the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra, as well as Brooklyn rockers Grizzly Bear.
Julie Feeney also returns to the festival stage with Bird, a concert performance of her new opera, in the 13th century St Nicholas’ Church, while Galway’s first Night at the Proms with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at the Festival Big Top features a programme of classic movie music.
A series of discussions, conversations and readings on creativity, First Thought, takes place over the weekend of 20-21 July, and will see leading social commentators, artists, broadcasters, directors, academics, architects, actors and playwrights discuss a wide range of topics from the creative use of public space to creativity in education and creativity and the Diaspora to the genius of young Irish creatives working in the digital world. Speakers will include Morning Ireland’s Aine Lawlor and Gavin Jennings, and Druid’s Artistic Director Garry Hynes interviewing longtime collaborator Marie Mullen.
This year’s festival once again sees the introduction of a temporary gallery, the ABSOLUT Festival Gallery, which features the Cuban School, a major new exhibition of large-scale digital projections by the Irish artist John Gerrard; an exhibition by one of England’s leading artists, Howard Hodgkin.
Comedy fans won’t be disappointed either; amongst the very best of Irish and international comics are Ardal O’Hanlon, Whose Line Is It Anyway? with special guest Greg Proops, Andrew Maxwell and David O’Doherty.