Galway International Arts Festival has just launched its largest, and most ambitious programme to date to mark its 40th Festival. The programme includes new opera and theatre, including four world premieres, Live at the Absolut Big Top, First Thought discusses Power, extraordinary visual art and street spectacle, and a special 40th Festival commission.
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 in Galway.
Speaking from New York, where Galway International Arts Festival is also currently on tour with its 2016 Festival co-production Arlington and its 2016 production Rooms, Galway International Arts Festival’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy said, “For 14 days and nights, visionaries, mavericks, dreamers and schemers from all over the world will descend on our city, joining with our homegrown artists to re-imagine the world and our place within it. It is a pleasure to deliver a programme of art and ideas by some of the world’s most brilliant minds and we invite you to join us in Galway for this our 40th Festival.”
Festival CEO John Crumlish added, “This will be our biggest year to date. We have a significant birthday to celebrate and we start our build up towards European Capital of Culture 2020. We have begun four months of touring, we are presenting a number of First Thought events outside the Festival and are now announcing our biggest Festival programme to date. With an increased number of theatre premieres, one of our biggest musical line-ups ever and a very exciting free programme we hope our audiences enjoy our birthday party and that it provides for a great July in Galway.”
Amongst the Irish highlights of Festival 2017 is the world premiere of Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival’s Woyzeck in Winter, an electrifying fusion of two masterpieces – Büchner’s Woyzeck and Schubert’s Die Winterreise adapted and directed by Conall Morrison with lyrics by Stephen Clark, starring an extraordinary Irish cast including Patrick O’Kane, Camille O’Sullivan, Rosaleen Linehan, Stephen Brennan, Barry McGovern, Rory Nolan, Peter Coonan, Shane O Reilly and Susannah de Wrixon, co-commissioned by the Barbican.
In a first for the 40-year-old Festival, this year’s programme includes the world premiere of The Second Violinist a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh, a Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera production. Aaron Monaghan plays The Second Violinist, joined by singers Máire Flavin, Sharon Carty and Benedict Nelson, together with a 16-strong chorus, and Crash Ensemble.
Other Irish theatre highlights include a new short text Bathroom by Enda Walshpresented in a gallery setting and featuring the voice of Tom Vaughan Lawlor, produced by GIAF; the Druid production of Crestfall by Mark O’Rowe directed by Annabel Comyn; Corn Exchange’s head-spinning and exquisite Dublin by Lamplight; the world premiere of Branar’s How to Catch a Star; Decadent’s production of Abbie Spallen’s Pumpgirl; An Taibhdhearc’s Dún na mBan Trí Thine by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, while the Abbey Theatre’s production of Two Pints attests to the comic genius of Roddy Doyle and is performed in a number of pubs in Galway city, county and the Aran Islands.
International theatre and dance highlights include two of the great British theatre companies – The Old Vic Theatre and Kneehigh. The Old Vic Theatre presents Cover My Tracks by David Grieg and former Noah and the Whale front man and songwriter Charlie Fink, while award-winning director and artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, the sensational Emma Rice, with writers Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy reinvent Tristan & Yseult. Hijinx in association with Blind Summit present Meet Fred performed by a company of ID and non-ID actors.
Thought-provoking First Thought Talks on Power
First Thought Talks 2017 features a series of conversations on power with academics, activists, architects, artists and authors with participants including Marwa Al-Sabouni, Emma Rice, Colm Tóibín, Rebecca MacKinnon, Maureen Gaffney, Tom Tomorrow, Carole Cadwalladr, Caitriona Perry and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State 1999–2001 Bennett Freeman, among an extensive number of leading international voices and journalists from around the world.
Spectacular Street Art
An action-packed international Street Art Programme features two shows from French masters of the spectacular Transe Express, with the high-energy interactive promenade show Chariot of the Sea and the large-scale aerial performance Mobile Homme. The Netherland’s Close-Act’s illuminated skeletal i-Puppets will invade the city street and Absolut Big Top, and from France the dazzling Olivier Grossetête’s architectural installation The People Build will astound audiences this summer.
World Music for GIAF 2017
Live at the Absolut Big Top (co-produced with the Róisín Dubh) features an amazing line-up of Irish and international musicians including Brian Wilson and a 15–piece band performing his legendary album Pet Sounds and many of Wilson and The Beach Boys’ greatest hits; the joyous and uplifting Ladysmith Black Mambazo; the endearing, singer-songwriter sensation that is Passenger; the sweet and soulful Gavin James; A Night at the Proms featuring the RTÉ Concert Orchestra celebrating some of the finest and most colourful orchestral music from the American continent; and Festival favourites The Coronas, and Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s Dance Anthems playing at GIAF’s 40th Anniversary Weekend Party.
Other music highlights include Songhee Pansori Lab, and Lankum in St. Nicholas’ Church; James Lavelle, The Soul Rebels, Lisa Hannigan, Loah, Saint Sister, Wallis Bird, Jófríður Ákadóttir aka JFDR, and Beoga amongst others at the Róisín Dubh; Badly Drawn Boy, Áine Cahill, Altan, Stockton’s Wing, and Traditional Music Showcases featuring many of Ireland’s leading musicians at Monroe’s Live; with DJ sets at Electric.
Visual Arts – A Feast for the Soul
Festival 2017 sees the return of the Festival Gallery at the former Connacht Tribune Print Works, home to a major exhibition Dark Night of the Soul by the acclaimed Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco, and an exhibition of new work Inscriptions by Ireland’s Ailbhe Ní Bhriain. The Festival also features a new commission Flag by Irish artist John Gerrard, After the Raft of the Medusa from UK/Australian artist John Beard and Nicola Gunwhy’s Can We Ever Really See Each Other? Exhibitions by other Irish artists include Memory Has a Pulse by Seán Cotter, Gary Robinson and Thomas Brezing at 126; Impressions’ Open Biennale and Golden Record presented by Galway International Arts Festival and Galway Arts Centre and featuring Dorothy Cross, Laura de Búrca, Susan MacWilliam, Lucy McKenna and Paul Nugent.
Commenting on behalf of Festival Leadership Partner Ulster Bank, Maeve McMahon, Director of Customer Experience and Products, said, “We work hard to create a culture of creativity and innovation at Ulster Bank, so we are proud to be involved in a programme that connects communities and audiences to a world-class arts festival such as this. We have a strong relationship with the Galway International Arts Festival and have worked side by side with them since 2011. We’re delighted to continue our support and look forward to watching the world of art and creativity unfold, as the 2017 Festival promises to be the most successful one to date.”
Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland and Festival Partners Ulster Bank, ABSOLUT and NUI Galway.
Get full programme details, Festival updates and previews here.