EVENT OF THE WEEK
2021 Galway Film Fleadh
July 20th-25th, galwayfilmfleadh.com
All attention is focused on the City of Tribes this week, as the Galway Film Fleadh launches a blended programme which takes in outdoor events, in-cinema events and online events. Covid notwithstanding, this year's Fleadh lives up to its reputation as a premier showcase for Irish film-makers, and will feature no less than 11 world premieres, along with 45 new films and more than 100 shorts. The outdoor film screenings take place on the Fleadh's main stage at Father Burke Park in the city's historic Claddagh, and each screening will cater to up to 200 audience members via wireless headphones in a safe setting under the sky, with all the facilities of an outdoor festival, including food, music and guest artists. Among the outdoor screenings will be the premier of the Irish language version of Oscar-nominated animated feature Wolfwalkers, plus a 30-year anniversary screening of Beauty and the Beast and a 20-year celebration of Miyazaki's Oscar-winning anime Spirited Away.
Most of this year's programme, however, will take place online, including film screenings, Q&As and discussions, but an exciting line-up is promised, including Generation Fleadh, an expanded section for young adults, children and families, featuring surf doc Ride the Wave and high school musical comedy Best Summer Ever. One of the most popular sections this year is bound to be the three "in conversation" events, supported by Screen Skills Ireland, and featuring veteran Irish actor Gabriel Byrne (Saturday 24th, 12pm ), Irish-Scottish documentarian Mark Cousins (Saturday 24th, 2pm) and Irish-American screenwriter Mark Fergus (Sunday 25th, 2pm). Byrne is starring in the sci-fi series War of the Worlds, and his new film, Death of a Ladies' Man, which earned him a best actor gong at the Ifta Awards, is featured in the Fleadh. All chats are free but booking is essential.
Inis Oírr, until September 12th, free, facebook.com
If you go down to the Aran island of Inis Oírr, you're in for a visual treat. Saturday saw the opening of a new open-air exhibition featuring 21 currachs, each one hand-painted by an artist from the west, and on display at strategic spots around the island and at the Áras Éanna arts centre. Currachs are a huge symbol of the Aran Islands, and this exhibition celebrates the 21st anniversary of the arts centre on Inis Oírr, but also celebrates the vibrant life of the small communities on these Gaeltacht islands. Among the artists taking part in this Covid-compliant exhibition are Dolores Lhyne, Alannah Robins, John Behan, Tom Meskell, Mick O'Dea, Kathleen Furey, Sadia Shoaib and local Aran Islands artist Sean O Flaithearta. Dara McGee, artistic director of Áras Éanna, got the idea for the exhibition when he realised that canvas was one of the materials used in making currachs. "I thought it would be amazing to make these currachs, cover them in canvas, and then distribute them to the artists."
Waiting for Poirot
July 19th to August 1st, People's Park, Limerick, limetreetheatre.ie
A play within a play within a pandemic – here's a whodunit with a difference, in which the main detective is notable by their absence. Waiting for Poirot is a new comedy by award-winning playwright Mike Finn, presented in an outdoor, family-friendly setting by Lime Tree Theatre and Belltable Arts Centre. We're promised a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud romp, packed with gags and every cliche in the book. This is a murder mystery, comedy and musical rolled into one, with a cast that includes Jessica Bray, Myles Breen, James Corr, Michael Anthony Greene, Pius McGrath, Eva O'Connor and an original score by composer Aine Doolan. It's 1925 and the newly formed Irish Free State is going through its teething troubles. But that's nothing to the problems facing a small travelling company as they prepare to stage a melodramatic murder mystery – barely has the curtain gone up on the production and one of the actors turns up dead. With gardaí Maguire and Patterson, two ex-IRA gunmen, in charge of the investigation, hopes are pinned on a certain famous Belgian detective who is due in town any day now...
Departures by Dublin Book Festival
Tuesday, July 20th, free, dublinbookfestival.com
The third and last of the Departures series of streaming films comes from scenic Cobh harbour in Co Cork, and features author Billy O'Callaghan and poet Alice Taylor in conversation with Manchán Magan. The interviews are filmed at Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, and there will be dramatic imagery from Spike Island, along with music from Cork musicians Jack O'Rourke and Aisling Fitzpatrick. Magan's guests will talk about how Cobh harbour and the surrounding landscape has inspired their work and actor Irene Kelleher will read excerpts from O'Callaghan's novel Life Sentences and a selection of Taylor's poems.
Festival of Curiosity
July 22nd-25th, festivalofcuriosity.ie
Dublin's annual festival of science, arts, design and technology is "going ahead in a curious way" this year, with a packed online programme of events over four days and nights, promising to transform your home space into a virtual playground where you can explore all sorts of amazing scientific and technological wonders. Take a virtual safari to Dublin Zoo or flutter by the butterfly house at Malahide Castle, learn all about rocket making, digital painting and clowning, and get some hands-on experience in a Cranky Toy Theatre workshop. This year's programme features such tasty sections as Future+, a virtual summit that brings together some top innovators to talk about the future of life, work and play, and to discuss big topics such as misinformation, climate change and AI; Playdate for the Imagination, a family film programme for children; and Prototype 2021, a Curiosity Accelerator in which artists and designers test out some wacky new ideas.
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Live: Eímear Noone's Electric Arcade
Friday, July 23rd, 7pm, rte.ie/culture
Here's a treat for fans of video-game music: a concert dedicated to the soundtracks of your favourite games, including Fortnite, Halo, Final Fantasy and Castlevania, performed by the RTÉ NSO under the playful baton of Eímear Noone. This livestreamed concert will take you on a wild sonic trip through the world's most popular video games, with classical scores you'll recognise from all those hours you've misspent shooting and racing and role-playing when you should have been doing your homework. Noone is one of the world's top composers of music for video games and her work can be heard on World of Warcraft and other top gamer titles. Last year, she became the first female conductor at the Academy Awards, and has conducted some of the finest orchestras from around the world. For this performance, she will bring together rock, classical and electronica to provide a mix of popular modern game scores and classic game tunes such as Tetris. Total geek heaven.