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Galway Independent


GIAF officially launches programme

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017 1:01am

Fresh from its success on the New York stage last week, Galway International Arts Festival officially launches its 2017 Festival programme at a reception in Hotel Meyrick, Galway this evening, Wednesday 17 May.

While the Festival team were in NY recently details of this, the 40th Galway International Arts Festival, were announced, but the official festival brochure launch was held off until they returned home. Copies of the programme will be made available this evening at the reception in Galway.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins paid tribute to Galway International Arts Festival on the launch of its 40th anniversary programme: “For its four decades the Galway International Arts Festival has reminded us that the arts are a crucial vehicle for citizen participation and that good artistic work is an essential part of being human.

“The festival has enabled the showcasing and appreciation of such artistic work, in the process broadening and deepening Ireland’s international reputation as a country and a people defined by its artistic work and enriched by its inventive, creative and original people.”


This will be GIAF’s largest and most ambitious programme to date to mark its 40th Festival, which takes place from 17-30 July. New opera and theatre including four world premieres; Live at the Absolut Big Top; a First Thought programme that discusses Power; extraordinary visual art and street spectacle; and a special 40th Festival commission are among highlights of the 2017 programme.

The world premieres of a new play by Conall Morrison, and a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh; Kneehigh and maverick director Emma Rice; a special 40th Festival commission from the acclaimed John Gerrard, and a major exhibition by Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco; new theatre productions from Druid, the Abbey and London’s Old Vic; Beach Boys’ legend Brian Wilson at the Absolut Big Top; JFDR, the latest project from Iceland’s Jófríður Ákadóttir; First Thought Talks’ series of conversations on power; Syrian architect and author Marwa al-Sabouni; and a Street Art Programme featuring Olivier Grossetête’s The People Build are just some of the highlights of the 40th Festival.

Artists and companies from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Iceland, UK, USA, Sierra Leone, South Korea, South Africa, Syria and The Netherlands join forces with artists from Ireland to create what promises to be an unforgettable Festival of Extraordinary Experiences this July.

Commenting on this year’s programme President Higgins said: “The Galway International Arts Festival, from the beginning, has sought to give witness to the power of creative exploration; a power that will be so greatly evident this year in the many works which are fuelled by collaboration, fusion or an intersection between different art forms, or between artistic expression and new and innovative forms of communication.”

Festival CEO John Crumlish said: “2017 is a milestone year for Galway International Arts Festival. We present our most ambitious programme to date, will be touring for four months outside the festival and have started holding independent First Thought Talks. All in all, it’s going to be a special year, as we celebrate a significant birthday and start the countdown to Galway becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2020.”

Galway International Arts Festival’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy stated: “Artists and audiences are at the heart of everything we do and creating a space for artists to make and present work while engaging audiences is key to who we are. Festival 2017 features the very best of Irish and International artists from all over the world and a spotlight will shine on Galway for two incredible weeks this July as we celebrate our 40th Festival.”


As well as presenting the renowned two-week festival each July, GIAF now also produces and tours its own theatre productions and exhibitions nationally and internationally. The Festival team are just back from New York with two productions, both currently wowing critics and audiences.

Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival’s hit production from the 2016 GIAF, Arlington written and directed by Enda Walsh with choreography by Emma Martin is taking New York by storm at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. Arlington was also chosen as The New York Times Critics Pick, by Ben Brantley.

Following hot on the heels of the Arlington opening, and in collaboration with the Irish Arts Center in New York, Enda Walsh’s Rooms, a Galway International Arts Festival production, opened last week at Cybert Tire, the future home of the new IAC, and will also run until 28 May.

While in NY, GIAF also presented the First Thought Talk event in the US to a rapturous reception at the Irish Consulate. Adventurer and solo transatlantic rower Gavan Hennigan was in conversation with author and journalist, Belinda McKeon, during an inspiring and engaging talk.

For full Programme details, Festival updates and previews, visit

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