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What's on: Galway International Arts Festival 2019

July is here, festival season is upon us, and Galway has become a truly magical place with the arrival of the 42nd Galway International Arts Festival

GIAF

With a busy two weeks in store, Galway is the place to be this July 15th to 28th.

 

Regarded as one of the top summer festivals in Europe, the Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) is the biggest multidisciplinary festival in Ireland and is a long established fixture in the Irish summer calendar.

Now on, until Sunday, July 28th, the 42nd GIAF will feature 200 events, 600 artists and is expected to see attendances of over 250,000.

View the full line-up on giaf.ie.

Some of the most brilliant artists from Ireland, and all over the world, will arrive in Galway for a thrilling fortnight where great art, ideas and good fun are available in equal measure. This year’s festival boasts a new Festival Gallery with an enthralling exhibition by one of Australia’s most renowned sculptors, Sam Jinks, a major new opera based on the life of Rosemary Kennedy (sister of JFK), the return of the Festival Garden, the best of Irish and international theatre, opera, dance and circus on stages throughout the city, 48 music gigs, talks and discussions on the big issues of the day, as well as free outdoor events.

Theatre

The Same, by Enda Walsh, starring Catherine Walsh and Eileen Walsh will appear at this year's Galway International Arts Festival
The Same, by Enda Walsh, starring Catherine Walsh and Eileen Walsh will appear at this year's Galway International Arts Festival

The 2019 theatre programme includes five world premieres and four Irish premieres, including an explosive new opera from Irish National Opera Least Like the Other, searching for Rosemary Kennedy, Epiphany from Druid and Moonfish Theatre’s Redemption Falls, adapted from the novel by Joseph O’Connor. The Abbey Theatre presents a new work by Dylan Coburn Gray, Citysong, and Rough Magic presents a visceral story of one family’s will to survive, Cleft by Fergal McElherron.

For two nights only, audiences will have a chance to get a glimpse of Breakfast on Pluto, a musical work-in-progress from Landmark Productions and GIAF, based on the novel by Patrick McCabe. Breakfast on Pluto will make its world premiere next summer at GIAF 2020.

Also featured will be an immersive video installation observing global conflict, Now is the Time to Say Nothing from Caroline Williams and Reem Karssli (England / Syria) and Until the Flood, based on interviews following the 2014 shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson (Dael Orlandersmith). Kneehigh, the company behind GIAF17 hit Tristan & Yseult, return with a new fiery, full-throttle musical, Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs).

Following the huge success of the GIAF Rooms series in London last month, the 2019 programme invites audiences to explore a new space, Waiting Room, where a young mother navigates the aftermath of a life ended. Written and directed by Enda Walsh, this sixth room in the series is designed by Paul Fahy, who has collaborated with Walsh on these works over the past five years. The Same, also by Enda Walsh (Corcordorca) starring Catherine Walsh and Eileen Walsh will run at the Galway Airport.

Browse the full theatre programme here.

Music

Macy Gray plays the Heineken Big Top on Sunday, July 21st
Macy Gray plays the Heineken Big Top on Sunday, July 21st

The Heineken Big Top is your music festival experience smack bang in the middle of Galway city.

Here are 10 reasons to check it out.

To hear some of the best music acts around, turn up the volume on summer and see some great music acts including the hotly tipped double-bill of the summer with Villagers and John Grant. There's also Macy Gray, Orbital, Two Door Cinema Club, The Academic, Bell X1, The Coronas, Burt Bacharach, world-music from Tinariwen (the soul rebels from the desert), and many more. In an extensive music programme across the entire festival that covers everything from trad to trance, GIAF has all music tastes covered.

Visual arts

Alice Maher and Aideen Barry will be showing at this year's Galway International Arts Festival
Alice Maher and Aideen Barry will be showing at this year's Galway International Arts Festival

For the 2019 programme, GIAF continues to commission new work in visual arts, and this year also sees the introduction of a new Festival Gallery in the centre of Galway city, which will be home to the centrepiece of the visual arts programme, a major exhibition on our fascination of the human figure from the renowned Australian artist, Sam Jinks. There’s also a sound and image fantasia from Alice Maher and Aideen Barry, and this year the festival commissions two artists; Olivier Grossetête (The People Build) and Sarah Hickson’s new work-in-development, inspired by people living in direct provision in Galway. The Paralleled Mind by Taiwanese artist Annlin Chao explores three different mindsets querying which is real and which is surreal. 

Browse the visual arts programme here.

First Thought Talks

Mary Robinson will appear at this year's Galway International Arts Festival
Mary Robinson will appear at this year's Galway International Arts Festival

The festival’s First Thought Talks looks at the big issues of the day and will include over 50 speakers including Mary Robinson, Kate Mulgrew (Orange is the New Black, Star Trek), Joe Brolly on the border and the GAA, Una Mullally, Diarmaid Ferriter, Marion McKeone, Fintan O Toole, The crew of the LE. Samuel Beckett on their experience in the Mediterranean rescuing refugees, Eamonn Ryan, leader of the Green Party, in discussion with some of the secondary school students who took part in the recent climate change protests, to name but a few from the 21 talks that make up the summer programme.

Explore the talks programme here.

Street spectacle and free events

Guru Dudu’s ‘silent disco’ power walk will bring you through the streets of Galway
Guru Dudu’s ‘silent disco’ power walk will bring you through the streets of Galway

Outdoor street performance has always been a beloved part of Galway International Arts Festival. For some good, old-fashioned fun (and some great exercise!), gather friends and family together and weave your way through the streets of Galway grooving to Guru Dudu’s hand–selected mixtape of 70s, 80s and 90s hits. A ‘silent disco’ power walk through Galway like you never imagined. Warning: your cheeks may hurt from smiling. This is serious fun!

This year's programme also offers plenty of free, outdoor, family-friendly options for all ages. The Festival Garden's Eyre Square location is the perfect place to soak up the festival atmosphere and it also means you're just a stone's throw away from major GIAF venues, including the brand new Festival Gallery on William Street

There’s also the hugely popular The People Build, which won the hearts of GIAF audiences over the past two years, there’s a free concert at Galway’s docks with French sailor, pianist and songwriter, Marieke Huysmans, who sails from port to port around the world giving free concerts everywhere she goes. Not to mention all the free exhibitions and heart-stopping acrobatics from Les P’Tits Bras during the middle weekend of the festival.

Browse the free events here, the kids' and family events here, and all the outdoor events here.

Comedy

Deirdre O’Kane will appear at this year's Galway International Arts Festival
Deirdre O’Kane will appear at this year's Galway International Arts Festival

Comedy includes Andrew Maxwell and the much-loved Laughter Loft with MC Gerry Mallon, whose guests include Foil Arms and Hog and Deirdre O’Kane.

View the full comedy line-up here.

With a busy two weeks in store, audiences can prepare to be amazed and intrigued by what they see and hear on stages, on the street and in the air. Galway is the place to be this July 15-28.


Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, Education Partner NUI Galway and Drinks Partner Heineken

For full programme details, visit www.giaf.ie or call the box office on 091 566 577.