Gig of the Week: Imagine Arts Festival brings 10 days of music, literature, dance and more

October 11th-17th, 2021: The best of the week’s culture events, right around Ireland


Imagine Arts Festival
Friday, October 15th, to Sunday, October 24th; Waterford; various times and prices;
It's the festival's 20th anniversary, and boy are they glad to be back on the streets of Ireland's oldest city for this hybrid programme of music, literature, dance, visual art, theatre and history. Musical attractions include Aoife Nessa Francis, Nealo and Junior Brother, while theatre attractions include Marbleface, Yasmin Mello's dark, occult drama about vengeful witches; Spliced, in which Timmy Creed tackles sporty Irish male stereotypes; and The Little Robber Girl, an online audio drama for kids featuring seafaring bandits and buried treasure. A wealth of art exhibitions is also planned for around the city, by John Shinnors, Mick Mulcahy, Hannah Ní Mhaonaigh, Cassie Kirby and Janet Sibley, among others, not to mention workshops, talks, bookshops and online radio and film drama.

Tuesday October 12th, to Friday Oct 15th; Button Factory, Dublin; from €12;
In anticipation of the full reopening of, well, everything on Friday, October 22nd, the promoters Sense have teamed up with District magazine to stage four intimate gigs featuring a mix of upcoming and already-there artists, including Shiv, Gemma Dunleavy, Aby Coulibaly, Malaki, Paddy Mulcahy and R Kitt. The gigs will promote a "more sustainable, conscious and kind cultural landscape", with the Button Factory transformed into a beautiful green space, and a wild-flower seed pack for everyone in the audience.

Open House Dublin
Friday, October 15th, to Sunday, October 17th; various venues; free;
Dublin's biggest architecture festival returns, and no surprise to find that this year's theme is recovery. This three-day hybrid event will celebrate the revival of cultural events hit by the pandemic and of the city itself, through its architecture, its urban design and, most of all, the people who contribute to the creation of a built Dublin. More than 100 events are planned, all of them free; all Covid guidelines will be followed so everyone can immerse themselves safely in the architecture of the city. There'll be tours of such landmark buildings as the US embassy, Abbey Theatre, Heuston Station and Guinness Storehouse, and "architreks" including a Grand Canal cycling tour, and a walking tour of Cabinteely's historic parklands.

Dublin Arts & Human Rights Festival
Friday, October 15th, to Sunday, October 24th; various venues; times and prices;
In a world where human rights continue to be under attack, Dublin Arts & Human Rights Festival 2021 sets out to celebrate the people who have stood up for them around the world and throughout history, and highlight the role artists can play in promoting a more just society. Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders have partnered with Amnesty International, Fighting Words, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the National Women's Council of Ireland and others to bring together artists, activists and citizens under the banner of Hope, Courage and Resilience: The Story Continues. There will be site-specific events at Rathfarnham Castle and on the rooftop of the Chester Beatty Library, visual arts events at dlr Mill Theatre Gallery Space in Dundrum and a workshop on writing a protest song hosted by Fighting Words. Many of the events touch on sensitive themes, so all events are over-18s unless stated otherwise.


Pipeworks Organ Festival
Saturday, October l6th and Sunday October 17th, plus Saturday, October 23rd and Sunday, October 24th; Dublin; €12/€8;
What could be more stirring than the sound of a big church organ bellowing out a hymn to the heavens? This year the festival celebrates the works of Josquin des Prèz, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Marcel Dupré with performances at St Patrick's Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, St Michael's Church in Dún Laoghaire and St Philip's Church in Milltown. Its accomplished players from the UK, France and Ireland include Andrew Dewar, Vincent Dubois, Martin Johnson, Anne Marie O'Farrell and the Mornington Singers conducted by Orla Flanagan. This could get loud.

Irish Book Week
Saturday, October 16th, to Saturday, October 23rd, 2021;
Bookshops and libraries have become a haven for many of us, embattled by the day-to-day demands of living in a Covid world. Irish Book Week aims to celebrate the Irish authors and publishers who bring us the stories that keep us engaged through every crisis. This year the authors Liz Nugent, Rónán Hession and Chris Haughton have been announced as ambassadors for Irish Book Week, and if they have any diplomatic request it's that you shop with your local bookseller, whether that's in person, online or on the phone. Buying a book on Amazon is no substitute for visiting your favourite bookshop, picking out a title, then going for a coffee and a read. So grab your reading glasses and get on down to one of the events, which will be updated on Bookselling Ireland's Facebook page and Twitter feed.