Dublin Fringe Festival says it’s back with a bang this year, staging 586 performances at 27 venues over 16 days and nights this September, in its largest programme since 2019.
Running from Saturday, September 10th, to Sunday, September 25th, the 28th festival will “shine a spotlight on the weird, the hyperlocal and those who forge their own path”, according to the organisers, who say that more than half of the 430 artists will be presenting work at the fringe for the first time.
“There are after-dark adventures for the night owls, sunrise performances that reimagine the city centre, and plenty of the unusual, one-of-a-kind fringe experiences that you’ll be talking about for weeks afterwards,” says the festival’s chief executive, Ruth McGowan.
DFF 2022: A taste of what’s on
The festival is divided into eight strands, each with its own highlights.
‘You cannot teach where I teach, and be in my classroom and not feel uplifted, or have hope for the future’
Big Nights Out
“Championing the art that’s made after dark with glittering, unforgettable cabaret, clubbing and comedy.” Includes the premiere of Thisispopbaby’s Wake, “a rabble-rousing night of gut-punching theatre, soaring spoken word, stomping beats and outrageous circus”. Plus the cabaret artist Xnthony’s Oliver Cromwell Is Really Very Sorry, a night of pop anthems and bloody historical re-enactments centred around the daddy of democracy and total Taurus, and Anatomy of a Night, “a love letter to the queers, the weirdos, the trailblazers, the nightwalkers” that is part show and part club night.
“Adventurous live art, audio and interdisciplinary experiences where the setting tells part of the story.” Includes Thirst Trap, a 30-minute sound piece by Ray Young, part narrative and part meditation; for audiences to listen to in the bath, it sets out to heighten listeners’ awareness of their environment and their relationship with their bodies. Plus Remnant Ecologies, a meditative night walk in the National Botanic Gardens, in Glasnevin, where light and sound installations will let visitors explore the Dublin gardens anew.
Trailblazers + Mavericks
“Genre-bending, innovative performances and one-of-a-kind artists forging their own path.” Includes the Dublin premiere of Irish National Opera’s Out of the Ordinary/As an nGnách, billed as the world’s first virtual-reality community opera. Plus Coffee Kid, Síomha McQuinn’s freshly ground one-woman comedy romp examining the journey towards self-worth, the meaning of love and the impact of being the unwanted child of a megastar.
“Uproarious stand-up and alternative comedy experiences — so funny they’ll floor you.” Includes Colm O’Regan’s Climate Warrior, an hour of stand-up comedy, memoir and even hope as he tries to grapple with everything being broken and where he might start to help. Plus Oops, This Is Toxic, Julie Jay’s dark comedy love letter to Britney Spears.
“Playful and thoughtful visual art, theatre and interactive events made for audiences aged 0-18.″ Includes Of Bluebells & Butterflies, from Graffiti Theatre Company, an interactive dance-theatre performance “for babies and their adults, set in a fantastical garden full of wondrous creatures”. Plus Cracking Light Productions’ Rising Tide, a free interactive exhibition showcasing young environmental activists who, as residents of counties at high risk of flooding, including Dublin, Cork and Clare, have conjured up alternative futures.
“Performances, podcasts and parties in conversation with Dublin as it is and as it could be.” Includes Where Ye From, in which Growler, an 82-year-old drum-banging shamanic vulva from the Liberties, uses storytelling, song, spoken word and filthy jokes to “give voice to the voiceless — transmuting female collective trauma”. Plus Accents, in which the actor and playwright Emmet Kirwan, the musician Eoin French and Claire O’Reilly stage a journey through the city that explores the arrival of a new life, the families we try to create, the families we may never have, and a generation living a life delayed. And Zoe Ní Riordáin’s It’s all the Same, featuring members of Dublin Youth Theatre in a portrait of a woman on the edge where the national mood is her mood, all the time.
Plays Plays Plays
“Exciting new theatre from the playwrights you need to know.” Includes Dylan Coburn Gray’s state-of-the-nation play Absent the Wrong, a “blistering production” about adoptees in Ireland. Plus The Perfect Immigrant, by Samuel Yakura, “a story woven through prose and poetry that will make you shift in your seat as you are teased with the discomfort of this Nigerian immigrant settling into Ireland”.
Futures + Legacies
“Dance, live art, talks and performances that challenge inheritances and envisage futures.” Includes Cooking the Vegan Salmon of Knowledge, in which Bradán asks you to join the artist as they cook a vegan version of smoked salmon — accompanied by live music — using the ingredients to have a conversation about the history of food and our impact on the environment. Plus Test 1, a physical exploration of our complicated relationships with our avatars, augmented reality and our Instagram lives.
The full programme will be available on the Dublin Fringe Festival website on Thursday, July 21st; tickets go on sale at 1pm