An Irish festival returns – with live events back in the real world

Cork Midsummer Festival’s 12-day programme includes theatre from your garden

Cultural Lore, Day of the Straws: Marie Brett, in collaboration with Katie Holly, explore how social history surrounding the 1832 Cholera epidemic relates to Covid-19

Cultural Lore, Day of the Straws: Marie Brett, in collaboration with Katie Holly, explore how social history surrounding the 1832 Cholera epidemic relates to Covid-19

 

A travelling theatre going into communities, where people can watch from the safety of their gardens, is one of several innovative events planned as part of this year’s version of Cork Midsummer Festival, making it possibly the first live event since the coronavirus shutdown began, in mid-March.

With live culture locked down and some events moving online, the festival’s Midsummer Moments programme includes the first inkling of events back in the real, nonvirtual world. As well as Corcadorca Theatre Company’s Contact travelling into Cork communities, the festival’s outdoor “events and experiences” between June 10th and 21st include artworks in New Light, a series of billboard walks around Cork city with work by eight Cork-based artists commissioned by the Glucksman gallery, and a site-specific audio walk by Tom Lane, narrated by Mark D’Aughton and Olwen Fouéré.

Alternative festival events at home include Little Druids for Humanity, a long-distance game for children and their families and friends; a version of binge-watching TV in the virtual company of an artist; a Long Table Picnic at Home; and live streaming of DJs and music events from behind closed doors.

Festival artists-in-residence Leon Butler and Peter Power share lockdown experiences via 3D imagery creating hidden moments; and Day of the Straws, online film, sound and visual work from the artist Marie Brett and the writer Katie Holly, explores the social history of the 1832 cholera epidemic and Covid-19.

Nothing will replace the festival, director Lorraine Maye said, but the line-up aims to “keep the Cork Midsummer light shining in June”; “while social distancing continues, the challenge for the arts and other sectors is huge.”