New shows from Enda Walsh and Hughie O'Donoghue are at the heart of this year's Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF).
Arlington [a love story] is Walsh's new show with GIAF and Landmark Productions, and stars Charlie Murphy, Hugh O'Conor and Oona Doherty. The show will take place in a specially built theatre in Leisureland in Salthill. Walsh will also present Kitchen, the latest in his Rooms installation series, along with the previous works in the Shed venue. It features the voice of Eileen Walsh.
"Enda is moving into another territory with [Arlington]," says Paul Fahy, the festival's artistic director. "I want the festival to be a playground or a lab for artists who trust us as part of their creative process, and to help them deliver their vision.
“We shifted from being a presenting-led festival five or six years ago to being much more producing-led. Artistic relationships have developed and people become almost artistic associates in a way. To be able to work with the likes of Enda Walsh on a regular basis is a very special thing.”
Also returning to Galway, for the third time in a decade, is artist Hughie O'Donoghue. The festival approached him two years ago for One Hundred Years And Four Quarters, which will be in the former Connacht Tribune Print Works.
Two other visual art shows, by Ruth McHugh and Gary A Boyd and John McLaughlin Architects, look at modernity in Ireland. Spanish street artist Francisco de Pájaro will also be in Galway, looking for objects and rubbish to turn into “spontaneous sculptures” that will then appear around the city.
Song From Far Away, written by Simon Stephens and directed by Ivo van Hove, will get an Irish premiere, as will Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour by Lee Hall. It was one of the hits of the 2015 Edinburgh Festival.
Invitation to a Journey is a new show by CoisCéim, Crash Ensemble and Fishamble, and is inspired by designer Eileen Gray. Olwen Fouéré and Raymond Scannell will star in Death at Intervals, and Druid Theatre will present a new production of Waiting for Godot, directed by Garry Hynes.
Most of the musical highlights take place in the Absolut Festival Big Top. On this year's roster are Suede, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Dan Deacon and the Souljazz Orchestra, along with Irish acts Villagers, Mick Flannery, Imelda May, Daithí, God Is an Astronaut, Brian Deady and The Gloaming.
There will also be promenade performances from Spanish company Sarruga; The Scent of Sawdust by Les P'Tits Bras, in an art nouveaux structure in Eyre Square; and Australian circus company Gravity & Other Myths.
The First Thought talks will this year focus on identity, with contributions from transgender actor Rebecca Root, US model Cameron Russell, activist Rory O'Neill, author David Berreby, and more. A panel on stem cells will discuss what's in store in the near future from the sector; NUI Galway was the first facility to be licensed in Ireland to manufacture stem cells for human use.
The festival runs from July 11th to 24th. See giaf.iefor details.