Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Niamh Lunny, chairperson of Carlow Arts Festival, speaking at the launch in Tully’s Bar in Carlow
Photos: michaelorourkephotography.ie

Shannon Basso-Gaule, Janice De Broithe and Sinead Cormack at the festival launch

EnCÓRe performing at the launch of the Carlow Arts Festival in Tully’s Bar

At the launch of the Carlow Arts Festival were Anna-May Timmins, Nine McCarthy and Fr John McEvoy

Derek Blanche, Claire Breen, Ferga Moran and Niall Scully

Mary Amond-O’Brien chats to Aoife Kelly and Alison Moran at the launch

At the launch were Fiach Moriarty (O’Hara’s Live and Local artistic director), festival chairperson Niamh Lunny and Benjamin Perchet, artistic director and CEO

By Suzanne Pender

CARLOW Arts Festival announced details of its upcoming festival last week, revealing a programme bursting with creativity.

Carlow will come alive over five days from Wednesday to Sunday 7-11 June with a truly eclectic mix of music, visual and performing arts, theatre, dance, spectacle, literature and more. The festival was launched last Tuesday evening in Tully’s Bar, Tullow Street, Carlow, with its programme immediately offering lots to look forward to.

“This year’s Carlow Arts Festival programme presents artists’ work that is vital and visceral, thoughtful and thought-provoking – as purposeful as it is joyful,” said Benjamin Perchet, Carlow Arts Festival’s artistic director and CEO.

“We welcome everyone from Carlow and beyond to share in this collective experience as we seek to open up a space for jubilation and concentration, entertainment and reflection.”

Carlow Arts Festival is excited to treat audiences to a vibrant and dynamic festival of multidisciplinary arts presented at its festival HQ in the grounds of Carlow College.

Festival highlights include Irish premieres of three works by European artists. From Belgium, Dag Taeldeman’s and Andrew Van Ostade’s electrifying BodyBodyBodyBody is a journey to the edge of trance, rooted in the folk traditions of the Italian tarantella. In MOS,  Greece’s Ioanna Paraskevopoulou appropriates everyday objects to live-score scenes from zombie horrors, nature documentaries and classic westerns.

Sorry, but I feel slightly disidentified is a provocative performance piece by Benjamin Kahn (France/Belgium) that explores themes of race, gender and status.

The festival has a packed programme of family-friendly events to ignite imaginations of all ages. Highlights include Bombinate Theatre’s charming show for little ones Goodnight egg and wires, strings & other things.

Cruinniú na nÓg, Ireland’s national day of free creativity for children and young people, coincides with the festival on Saturday 10 June, and that afternoon the second Carnival of Collective Joy, co-created with local children, will explode onto the streets of Carlow town.

Outdoor cinema also returns on Saturday with a sing-along screening of Encanto.

The O’Hara’s Quarter at Carlow College is again the place to catch performances from some of Ireland’s most acclaimed up-and-coming music artists over three days, including the genre-defying AE MAK on the main stage on 9 June, rising Irish hip-hop star Jafaris on 10 June, folk singer and multi-instrumentalist John Francis Flynn on 11 June and the best music talent from Co Carlow on the O’Hara’s Live & Local Stage.

Carlow College’s Orchard hosts two events where human interaction is at its core. ‘Without Sin’, created by an award-winning international team of designers and theatre makers, is a space that cultivates intimate conversations among friends and strangers.

Also in the Orchard, Poetry Ireland present Poetry SOS, a bespoke one-to-one consultation with a poet, who will prescribe a poem from Vital signs, an anthology of courageous responses to experiences of illness and healing.

‘Assembly’ is Carlow Arts Festival’s year-round arts participation and community engagement strand and several of its projects come to fruition at the festival. An exhibition titled The long and short of it is the culmination of a year-long project developed with older community members (65-plus). Participants collaborated with writer Darren Donohue, director Janice de Bróithe, artist Paul Bokslag and animator and sound designer Seán Parnell to create animated stories inspired by their community’s social histories.

Other Assembly events include Cycles: Spokes, a series of discussions and workshops about language and our sense of place within Co Carlow, which includes a sean-nós workshop with the acclaimed singer Inni-K, and Roots Shop, a workshop space for playful creativity.

World-class visual art features strongly, too. This year’s Artworks exhibition Remembering the future launches as part of the festival in Visual on 8 June and features work that explores memory and imagination as utopian tools for dreaming different worlds and for preserving the past.

For full programme details, visit www.carlowartsfestival.ie.



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