Galway gets its second wind at this time of year. After the blur of the summer, there’s always a quick breather before we launch back into Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, Food on the Edge, the Comedy Carnival, Tulca Festival of Visual Arts, Galway Science and Technology Festival, Galway Christmas Market…and all other events and festivals that brighten the darker autumn and winter months here.
Hard to believe it, but just blink and it’ll be Christmas Market time again. Already the shops have Christmas lights up and festive decorations are jockeying for space with ghoulish Halloween terrors. But first, there’s the Macnas Parade.
The street theatre and performance group have been making their weird and wonderful dreams a reality for 30 years. From a shed in Fisheries Field, Macnas has put Galway on the world stage as a cultural capital.
Master storytellers, Macnas’ illustrious career includes touring the world performing with U2 and those massive heads, being part of the magic at the MTV Awards, performing in China, Australia, and San Francisco and most recently on the streets of Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Festival, becoming the first spectacle company in the world to do so.
Macnas also form a vital part of Galway’s plans for our year as European Capital of Culture 2020, when they will perform theatrical spectacle Gilgamesh. Described as one of Galway 2020’s most ambitious projects, it will see urban streetscapes and landscapes across
Galway City and County transformed, ‘making any site a stage’.
Striking in Galway 2020’s bid book is the aim to ‘remove physical and mental obstacles to audiences participating in cultural events by having as many events in non-traditional spaces as possible’. ‘Our goal is to overcome the common perception of citizens that ‘cultural institutions’ are simply not for them,’ they say, citing Macnas’ epic street spectacle as an example. It perfectly sums up what Macnas has been doing for 30 years, and will do for many more years to come. Happy Birthday Macnas.
See page 31 for a special feature celebrating Macnas’ 30th Birthday. This year’s Macnas Parade takes place this Sunday, 30 October, at 5.30pm.