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GAMMY- The Play

May 13, 2024

Gammy is a portrait of an Irish contemporary rural female, fuelled by unbearable pain and vicious rage. Developed at FRINGE LAB with the support of Dublin Fringe Festival, GAMMY is the love child of Andrea Arnold’s ‘Fish Tank’, Mark O’Halloran’s ‘Garage’, with a dash of Stephen King’s ‘Misery’. The story is set with all puppy fat, pimples, missing teeth at 31 and working in the same old shop. GAMMY is stuck. GAMMY never grew up. GAMMY got left behind. But today is different, today something is finally going to happen.

Lisa Regan provided excellent PR for GAMMY, a new play that premiered in The Project Arts Centre in Dublin. She expanded our audiences by publicising the play across national print and also radio interviews. We would highly recommend Lisa for her engagement, detailed approach and care she gives to her projects. Kate Finegan Writer

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Global reach of local event honoured at Fáilte Ireland Awards

November 27, 2023

Wexford native FRESH Street conference brought 21 countries to Inis Oírr Galway

Fáilte Ireland celebrated the outstanding contributions of 104 conference ambassadors, including renowned academics and industry leaders, at an award ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Wexford native and ISACS (Irish Street Art, Circus and Spectacle Network) Director Lucy Medlycott was there to receive the Fáilte Ireland CARA award for bringing a conference, FRESH Street 2019, to Galway and for its contribution to the region’s economic impact.  The event took place from 22 – 24th May 2019 in Galway City and Inis Oírr and brought together over 280 delegates from 21 different countries and from 4 different continents. Making it a local event on a global level which examined the incredible power of making artistic work for public spaces.

“ISACS are beyond thrilled to receive this award out of the blue for the wonderful FRESH Street event which we held in partnership with Circostrada and Galway 2020 back in May 2019. ‘It feels particularly special to get this kind of recognition for an event whose significance was slightly eclipsed by the ensuing pandemic. We are super grateful for the acknowledgment of the value of these art forms in our cultural landscape by Minister Martin and Failte Ireland and especially the Meet in Galway team,” said Lucy Medlycott Director of ISACS network.

“Every year we bring professional international programmers, festivals, and arts managers to Ireland to meet with the ISACS membership. This year alone we hosted over 15 arts professionals with the support of Culture Ireland. And next year we have some exciting plans once more for the international development of this most democratic of art forms. ISACS will in fact be hosting Circostrada – the European Network for Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Arts – in Ireland once again, during summer of 2024, with their DIVE programme. Details will be released soon.”

FRESH Street brought over 260 delegates attended from 21 different countries, across 4 continents. In advance of the seminar, a 2-day private meeting was hosted by the Arts Council of Ireland for policymakers across the world. Over 12 policymakers arrived from the UK, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Latvia and France to share and discuss topics of mutual interest. The Circostrada Network facilitated this, and it was highly influential in mapping out means to establish data and to grow knowledge of this rapidly developing art form across the territory.

The ambassadors were acknowledged for their expertise, industry knowledge and unwavering commitment to successfully hosting an international conference in Ireland between 2018 and 2022. Collectively these conferences have contributed €125 million to the Irish economy and have made a positive impact on our nation. 

Fáilte Ireland’s Conference Ambassador Programme was developed to support individuals who want to host an international conference in Ireland. The programme provides assistance and financial support at every stage of the event, from the initial bidding, through to the marketing and promotion of the event. Ambassadors are sector leaders or influencers in their field and since the programme was established in 2009, Fáilte Ireland has supported almost 3,000 ambassadors in their bids to host conferences and events worth more than €2 billion.

To find out more check out www.isacs.ie.

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Dive into the playful and thought provoking programme of Baboró 2023

September 18, 2023

27th Baboró Festival is officially launched ahead of October 

Every child from 0 to 16 years is invited to let their imagination run wild over ten days in Galway this October. Artists and performers from as far as Australia, across Europe and closer to home will bring captivating, enchanting and exhilarating theatre, dance, art and more to Baboró this year. Experience the magic of Baboró throughout venues across Galway City and County with family, friends, and your school.

For the youngest audience (0-2 years), Universe at the Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane is a sensory experience for babies and their grown-ups, full of visual poetry, live music, and movement.

In this gentle interactive performance, the audience is invited to explore the universe in order to find their place in it. People and objects are in constant motion as they seek balance and harmony amongst the chaos. Each inhabitant in this cosmos, each sound, each movement, is bound together as we are guided in a playful exploration of the surrounding universe.

Dance, fashion, and live music meet the magic of origami to whisk you away on a spirited and inspiring adventure in a land made purely of paper and play. Children from 2 to 5 years are asked to join Club Origami as they rip, fold and scrumple a single square of paper, at the O’Donoghue Theatre at the University of Galway. This immersive and interactive dance show invites audiences to create, imagine and explore whole new ways of thinking, playing, and moving.

Back on campus at the University of Galway, an immersive, multi-sensory dance theatre performance titled ‘Making Waves’ has been made especially for children aged 8-13 years with mild to complex needs. The audience members are seated in pods representing boats on stage, which enables everyone to become part of the adventure. This performance is non verbal and suitable for wheelchair users.

At Nuns Island Theatre it is time to Fall and Float. With playful energy, impressive acrobatics, comic timing, and a joyful soundscape, two dancers create a magical world through the clever manipulation of simple balloons. Their imaginations seem to know no bounds – resulting in a hypnotic, funny and uplifting performance full of falling, lifting, throwing, catching, stumbling, floating … and sometimes maybe even a little bit of flying.

At the Town Hall Theatre children from 5+ years will be presented with a show celebrating difference and the power of friendship in Polar Bear & Penguin. This is a quirky tale of our time, infused with humour, friendship and fish! The tender and heartfelt show follows a polar bear and a penguin as they get to know one another and learn how to survive in a world that is melting beneath their feet…paws…flippers.

In An Taibhdhearc an honest, funny, and heartfelt journey through the trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia and seeing things differently is told in Little Murmur. This dance theatre show is based on the true story of a child who one day realises they have been misspelling their own name. Defined by his learning difficulties, not his abilities, dance became Aakash’s mode of expression.

The University of Galway Concert Orchestra and Music Generation Galway City join forces to present an interactive cushion concert in The Wildlife Orchestra Experience. From the smallest piccolo to the largest tuba – a spectrum of orchestral sound tells a story of Galway’s wildlife, green spaces, and seascapes. Listen to the fluttering butterflies, buzzing bees and the caw of the crow, alongside other characters from the natural world around us. This relaxed event for families will take place on Saturday 22 October in Galway Community College on Wellpark Road and it’s for children of all ages.

The reality of the world in which we all exist is addressed through soft questioning in The Shape of Quiet Feelings. Baboró artist-in-Residence Maisie Lee and Jessica Wilson (Australia) asked Galway children to use their imaginations to respond to their feelings about climate change. Their ideas and imaginings are reflected in an immersive experience through an atmospheric and sensory world, where children’s imagined stories and creatures take on myth-like qualities. By giving story and form to something that can sometimes feel scary and intangible, The Shape of Quiet Feelings at Blue Teapot Theatre will empower children and their families to consider new approaches to some of the big challenges presented by climate change. The Shape of Quiet Feelings is a Baboró commission and part of TRACKS Touring Network.

The Baboró art trail is a way in which people can enjoy free exhibitions around the city. Asking questions through art is a creative and different way of us seeing each other. Have you ever wondered how your child sees you? Well, the answer might lie within the ‘I See You Like This’ exhibition. With our ever-growing appetite to document our lives through photos and selfies, children are often the reluctant subjects of adults’ cameras – asked to smile, look natural and come in closer. In I See You Like This, Australian artist Jessica Wilson, flips the camera around giving the children control while their significant adults become their subjects. 

Facilitated by Jessica in a private session the week before the festival begins, children will design and direct a creative photoshoot of their significant adult, captured by photographer Julia Dunin. The resulting portraits will create the exhibition. If you would like to be part of this exciting exhibition you can book an appointment for you and your 7 – 14 year old child with Jessica via baboro.ie. In the appointment Jessica will ask the child questions about how they see their adult’s personality and then design and direct their own photoshoot using unusual objects to express how they see their adult.

This unusual, fun, and intimate process gives adults an experience of being ‘seen’ as more than just a parent or guardian to their child, whilst making space for a playful surrender to their child’s thoughts and ideas, giving them real agency. The adult subject will see their portrait for the first time when they are hung in Galway Arts Centre and gifted to the families at the end of the festival.

At Engage Art Studio in Salthill, There Are Little Worlds exhibition explores moments of curiosity and joy through detailed miniature paperworks. Local artist and educator Paula Henihan has constructed illustrative scenes made from brightly painted paper cut outs that are positioned carefully in layers within tiny boxes. Paula’s work contains scenes that capture pleasant moments, brave moments, quiet and calm moments. You are invited to peer into these little worlds of wonder. Come with a curious eye and you may find some hidden details.

Irish companies, Fidget Feet & Ceol Connected, return to the festival with When the Moon Spun Round for children aged 6+ years. Galway audiences will be enthralled by this enchanting show featuring a playful mix of contemporary aerial dance and traditional music performed by tricksters in the moonlight. Come on an imaginative journey of joyful movement in this charming and uplifting performance.

From Australia Slingsby will perform The Boy Who Talked to Dogs for anyone aged 12+. This rough-and-tumble tale fuses shadow puppetry, live music, and stunning physical performance to bring this epic true story to the stage. Based on the best-selling memoir by Martin McKenna, and beautifully adapted by playwright Amy Conroy, The Boy Who Talked to Dogs is a magical and mischievous tale of hardship, transformation, redemption, and what happens when the underdog finds his pack.

A new show from Moonfish Theatre, The Crow’s Way is a thrilling and unpredictable tale of friendship and self-discovery for children 8+ years and anyone who loves adventure, brought to life with Moonfish’s signature brand of theatre magic. A co-commission with Baboró in partnership with the Town Hall Theatre.

Whatever the weather: Pictured at the launch of the 27th Baboró Festival is Artist Fernanda Ferrari who will perform ‘What to do on a Rainy Day’ as part of this year’s festival with children Sadhbh Chang, Eoghan Chang, Theo Adlaon, Faye & Elliot Nicholls Sames. With an exhilarating lineup of art, theatre, dance, literature and music for families and children of all ages, Baboró will unfold across various venues throughout Galway city and county this October (Friday 13th to Sunday 22nd). Tickets are available now at www.baboro.ie. Photo Declan Colohan.

Galway City Museum will host two hands-on events. Superhuman, developed by CÚRAM, is an exciting new exhibit that invites children to explore the creativity and innovation of medtech research. While Cultivating Curiosity from Toodlelou Creativity Lab is an opportunity for children and their grown ups to experience the joy of discovery together. 

As part of the literature focus, Máire Zepf and Mr Ando, author and illustrator of the ‘Rita’ series of books will introduce Rita’s latest adventure, Rita agus an Dineasár. There will be storytelling, music, chat, live illustration and…. DINOSAURS! This lively interactive session is for Irish-speaking children from 1st class onwards. This will take place on Monday 16th October at 10am and 12 noon in An Taidhbhearc. 

Families can join Máire Zepf and Mr Ando, for a hands-on creative session to celebrate Rita’s latest adventure, ‘Rita agus an Dineasár’. With storytelling and art, the children will create their own fantasy pets, just like Rita! Suitable for Irish-speaking children and their grown-ups. This will take place on Sunday 15th October at 2pm in the Portershed on Market Street.

The full programme, workshops, adult events and tickets are now online at www.baboro.ie.  Follow Baboró on social media or sign up to their newsletter on www.baboro.ie for the latest programme and box office announcements.

Whatever the weather: Pictured at the launch of the 27th Baboró Festival is Mufutau Yusuf, Christine Kandiwa & Jeanne – Nicole NiAinle.. With an exhilarating lineup of art, theatre, dance, literature and music for families and children of all ages, Baboró will unfold across various venues throughout Galway city and county this October (Friday 13th to Sunday 22nd). Tickets are available now at www.baboro.ie. Photo Declan Colohan.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is Ireland’s flagship festival devoted exclusively to children and families and a registered charity. Baboró is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland and Galway City and County Councils. This year’s festival is supported by our Irish Language Partner, Cúla4; Literature Partner, Charlie Byrnes and Sustainable Print Partner, iSupply. Baboró is also supported by the businesses and venues of Galway City.

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Magical Dragon to roam the streets of Galway

July 19, 2023

This Friday….. Dragon

As part of Galway International Arts Festival The Kings Head are delighted to support the Irish premiere of Dragon, a fantastic creature that will pass through the streets of Galway. This free street performance will allow us to dive into this extraordinary world, as an enormous Dragon wanders the medieval streets of Galway!

Dragon will run 3 times during the festival – Friday 21 July 9.30pm, Saturday 22 July 2pm and 9.30pm. The route is Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch via the O’Brien’s Bridge & Dominick St. Lower.

Look at the fire, witness the shadows dancing in the night. Let the Dragon make your forgotten dreams come true!

Artistic Director and producer Pierre Povigna created Planète Vapeur in 2006. Having studied architecture, Povigna was always passionate about complex mechanisms and giant biomechanical machines. Working with a team of technicians and artists, Planète Vapeur bring fantastic and magical worlds to life.

“Galway International Arts Festival is the highlight of our year at The Kings Head. We have been involved as a venue since the late eighties and look forward to hosting Lunchtime Comedy with the ‘Laughter Loft’ again this year. This year is extra special, as we are lending our support to this amazing, family friendly, free event. Dragon will give that sense of magic on the streets of Galway that we have come to expect every July from Galway International Arts Festival,” said Paul Grealish of The Kings Head.



Check out https://www.thekingshead.ie/ or https://www.giaf.ie/festival/event/dragon for more.

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Lessons in Kindness

April 3, 2023

Curator, producer, writer, and educator, Dani Gill’s, second poetry collection, Lessons in Kindness that explores identity, sexuality, strength and vulnerability is going to be on book shelves across Ireland this April.

I chose Lessons in Kindness as my title because that was the mission of writing the book. While it sounds like a nice phrase, it is something borne out of great pain and forced overcoming. The title comes from the poem ‘Shingles’ and relates to the idea of having to learn to be compassionate with yourself and with others, in situations that could make us harden. The collection is an unraveling of stories. There is the central story of a woman (Dani) going through stages in life such as losing family members (both through death and estrangement), navigating gay relationships, and finding peace. The book is broken into four sections,” explained Dani.

Some of the themes in the collection explore the ideas of relationships, identity, sexuality, compassion, learning and faith. 

Writer Elaine Feeney on Lesson in Kindness, “It is a meditative collection on the importance of the people who make us, and the kindness they leave behind. Gill writes with such a light touch, beautifully done.” And Michael Harding remarked, “Here are reflections as fragile as egg shell. They are sparse and opaque, and work like a lens, allowing the reader to be the object of their own reading. There is a sense of selfhood here which is as transient as gossamer. And what shines through is a kind of soul light. A beautiful and uplifting book.”

The collection will be officially launched in The Mick Lally Theatre on Sunday 2nd April 2023, where Dani will be Interviewed by Writer Edel Coffey.

Here Dani goes through emotions and themes within the collection surrounding Grief, Contracts, Mirrors and Truth.

Grief

Grief begins with a childhood poem featuring my grandmother and going to church with her. It begins a section of poems dealing with the loss of my grandmother (she passed away from a degenerative brain disease in 2021) and the idea of faith. My grandmother was a very kind woman, she was also a staunch Catholic. The poem deliberately brings in the imagery of faith, something that is explored throughout the collection in terms of personal journey, what we believe, right and wrong, asks, navigating. 

Water Angels, Breath, Silence, Hollow are all poems set at the time or shortly after my grandmother’s death. They involve both her and my mother; the intergenerational process of grieving women. 

Contracts

Contracts deals with the idea that we are often subscribed / ‘contracted’ into relationships and certain behaviours. It deals with how these are broken and interrogated. The section ends with ‘The Uprooted Tree’. A poem about becoming; the constant possibility of breaking a definition to emerge as something different. 

Mirrors

The poems in Mirrors are all about the roles of others in our lives and what they mirror back to us as well as the lessons they teach us. Friendships, romantic relationships and our wider identity in the community are explored. Poems like ‘Night Walk’ and ‘Stranger on the Beach’ are about the idea that we are all connected in the fabric of humanity, that we can and should help each other. 

The ‘Perspective’ poems are poems written while doing drone photography. They are about the search and capture of moments, and how the world looks through a different lens.  

Truth

Truth is the final section of the collection. It discusses personal truth, spirituality without labels and a type of call to action for active allyship of the LGBTQ community. It opens with ‘For Those Who Believe in the Unseen’, a poem about our connectedness with nature. It features the sea, something I’ve written about a lot in my poetry. As a sea swimmer it is something  I’ve learned from massively throughout the past decade. ‘Masks’, ‘Raise Your Spear’, ‘Power’ and ‘Choose Your Weapon’ are poems about being part of the LGBTQ community and the challenge that it brings. They are a call to action to be aware, to be active in what you believe in, and to be brave in what matters. This section is about finding my own personal truth, but also the wider context of truth for us as a community. Who are we? What do we stand for? What world do we want to live in and how do we build it?  

 Publication Date: April 2nd 2023. Publisher: Salmon Poetry. Lessons in Kindness, €12 will be available from all good bookstores and online via the Salmon Poetry website: www.salmonpoetry.com. For more information on Dani get social @theedanimagic (Instagram and Twitter)

 PRAISE FOR THE COLLECTION:

Here are reflections as fragile as egg shell. They are sparse and opaque, and work like a lens, allowing the reader to be the object of their own reading. There is a sense of selfhood here which is as transient as gossamer. And what shines through is a kind of soul light. A beautiful and uplifting book. -Michael Harding

A beautiful account of the lives, loves and losses of three generations of women. The poems explore how interconnected those experiences are, in love, in grief, and how they move between generations like the ebb and flow of the tide. -Edel Coffey

A meditative collection on the importance of the people who make us, and the kindness they leave behind. Gill writes with such a light touch, beautifully done. -Elaine Feeney

Fast paced, challenging, truthful, in this her second collection, Dani Gill explores the demanding landscape of personal love and loss. -Mary Dorcey

Lessons in Kindness is a finely-wrought collection exploring identity, love and loss. Whether writing about the relationships that have shaped her, the experience of coming out or how to live mindfully each day, Dani Gill’s poems are imbued with a sense of rootedness in nature.

– Jane Clarke

This gentle collection orbits grief, looking for a safe place to land. The wearing and removing of masks, the fragility of life, the stillness therein. – Rita Ann Higgins.

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Macnas introduces CON MÓR 

October 4, 2022

Macnas Are Back with CON MÓR, The Giant  at Macnas HQ, Fisheries Field, Galway on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th October 2022  from 12 noon to 8pm.
 
And they are inviting kids and grown-ups to join them in welcoming
this special visitor to Galway!
 
 29th September 2022 – This year, Macnas are back with something big and different! Come down to Macnas HQ at Fisheries Field, Galway to see CON MÓR, The Giant situated on the banks of the River Corrib on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th October 2022.   
 
Noeline Kavanagh, Artistic Director said – “Con Mór celebrates the Macnas tradition of conjuring Giants into being… Who can ever forget Gulliver on the beach?!  
 
This year we are inviting the public to see Con Mór at Fisheries Field, our home in the centre of Galway city, where he will be for 48 hours only… It’s a rave, it’s a pilgrimage, it’s the Bank Holiday Weekend! Pop up performances on site across the two days. Bring your feathers, your messages of hope and your wellies and we’ll see you there…”
 
Adding – “For fans, devotees and lovers of another great Macnas tradition… The Halloween Parade… Macnas will reclaim the streets of Galway next year, October 2023. And we can’t wait!”
 
A stellar team of local and international talent have come together to bring CON MÓR, The Giant to life, with Director Noeline Kavanagh joined by Co-Designers Paul McDonnell and Dave Young, Lighting & Special Effects Designer Richard Babington, Costumer Designer Cherie White and Composer & Sound Designer Mathew Berrill, as well as local structural steel engineers Pat Rynn Engineering Ltd.
 
The Bank Holiday weekend will also see pop-up performances from the Macnas Drummers, Macnas Brass, Macnas Youth Theatre and Macns Stilt Ensemble across the city, made up of performers and participants from Macnas’s year round education and public participation programme.    
 
Famed for making giants in both familiar and unexpected landscapes around the world, this year Macnas will bring the magic to their own doorstep with Con Mór emerging for the first time at Fisheries Field in Galway city, the company’s home for over 35 years.    
   
And one for the diary! The spectacular storytellers will light up the streets of Galway once again in 2023, with the world-famous Macnas parade scheduled to make its return at Halloween next year.  
 
The Story of CON MÓR, The Giant
 
Inventors and explorers from all over the world are baffled by evidence of an ancient giant living underneath the Macnas workshop at Fisheries Field in Galway city. Macnas called on Professor Marjorie Morrigan, an expert on Giants & Where They Come From for help.
 
Marjorie told them – “This giant seems to have been here for centuries. There is a very large iron nose, so big and rusty, you could park a car in one of the nostrils.”
 
Marjorie Morrigan went on to confirm that this big fella belongs to the legendary Tuatha Dé Danann tribe. His name is CON MÓR and he comes from an ancient Island of Giants off the coast of Connaught. CON MÓR was so famous across Ireland for his love of birds and nature, his friends used to call him The Bird King!   
 
To help welcome him to Galway, Macnas is asking kids to make or find a feather – with a message of hope for the future – and deliver it to CON MÓR at Macnas over the Halloween Bank Holiday Weekend.  Visit www.Macnas.com for more information.
     
 
CON MÓR, The Giant is made possible by support from the Art’s Council, Galway City Council, University of Galway, Smyth’s Toys Superstores, Connacht Hospitality Group, AIB, Acorn Insurance, Galway County Council, The Latin Quarter and PWC.

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MACNAS BRASS AND WIND WORKSHOPS

June 27, 2022

Macnas are starting a spectacle music troupe lead by Matthew Berrill, brass/wind musical wizard!  If you are a  brass/wind musician who has an interest in improvisation, experimental sounds, performance, and play and is excited about being part of outdoor spectacular events then come join their weekly workshops happening in September 2022.

Brass has been an integral soundscape within  Macnas’ epic works over the last decade and as part of their ongoing artistic program they are excited to work with the next generation of musicians for spectacle Theatre.

Open to musicians 14 – 20yrs

How to get involved:

Email victoria@macnas.com with an expression of interest, let us know what instrument you play and how many years you are playing. There is more info here https://www.macnas.com/works/macnas-spectacle-youth-theatre