As Galway Theatre Festival heads into its ninth year, it is gearing up to showcase the vibrant theatre scene that exists in the City and County and across the region.
Over six days next week, from Tuesday 18 to Sunday 23 April, it will showcase talented Galway theatre makers. Over the course of the six days, it will host 17 shows and 12 works in development across all of the city’s venues, including the new performance space in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway, which was officially opened on Monday.
Festival Manager founding member of Moonfish Theatre Company, Máiréad Ní Chróinín, says that the festival is giving opportunities to young and emerging theatre makers to bring their work to audiences. “This festival is very much rooted in the community and in particular fostering new talent that is out there. We are providing opportunities so these can be in a position to become the next Druid.”
Galway native Máiréad, who has been festival manager for the past three years, says that Galway’s theatre scene is thriving. “It is very much a vibrant scene in Galway. There is a strong tradition here and it is getting stronger. Young artists are being inspired from theatre they see elsewhere and are coming through from NUI Galway. They are being inspired by things that have never been seen in Galway before. They are creating new work that is really exciting and cutting edge.”
She adds, “Young theatre makers are willing to take risks and experiment. They are interested in pushing what theatre can be.”
This year the Galway Theatre Festival is celebrating the “wild, weird and wonderful energy of Galway and the West and the difference it makes in all of our lives”. Mairead says that this energy that Galway has is often referred to but “it’s hard to put into words”. “Galway has an incredible energy that everyone loves. It is an energy that keeps people here. This is great for theatre and we are starting to see some really high quality work coming through.”
This year’s line-up features the premiere of ‘What Good is Looking Well When You’re Rotten on the Inside’ by Emma O’Grady. In a riveting meditation on wasted creativity, Emma explores the unpublished writing of her grandfather, Paddy O’Grady, a civil servant who wrote plays, short stories, and humorous articles, but who kept his creative passion hidden from his family and the outside world.
Other new work by Galway-based artists includes ‘Blood on the Moon’, a virtuosic one-man telling of the trial of James Patrick Whelan, a Galway-born emigrant accused of assassinating one of the fathers of Canadian independence.
Eastern tea ceremonies meet Irish tea-making customs meanwhile in ‘Tea’, a meditative show by theatre maker John Rogers and musician Aengus Hackett.
Elsewhere, in ‘Molly’, IFTA-nominated actress Tara Breathnach brings James Joyce’s character Molly Bloom to earthy, sensual life, liberating her from the weight of literature in a fresh and revealing portrayal.
Oscar Wilde’s classic tale of vice and innocence will also be remixed for the stage using electronic music and mind-bending video-mapping technology in Simulacra Theatre’s ‘Dorian Gray. Remix.’
Comedy and music feature strongly in the festival too this year. One of the shows is titled ‘Marilyn Monroe Airlines: Always Late and Unreliable!’, a comedy about flying and reaching for the stars. It will be performed in the Cava Restaurant and will include a special serving of ‘in-flight’ tapas!
The line-up also features strong new Irish writing. Máiréad says, “We are incredibly lucky to have young and emerging theatre makers and companies creating such high quality work and we provide the place for audiences to see it.”
For the full festival line-up and online ticket sales go to www.galwaytheatrefestival.com
Tickets can also be bought online, by phone, or in person through the Town Hall Theatre Box Office on www.tht.ie or 091-569777.
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