What do a dragon, aliens and a giant red ball have in common?

Galway International Arts Festival announces programme for July event

A dragon, aliens and a giant red ball will be used to launch Galway’s annual

invasion of culture in July. The Galway International Arts Festival has announced its programme, and its new name, with a glittering line-up and a strong emphasis on new writing.

Adding "international" reflects where the festival is at now, says artistic director Paul Fahy. "We present a huge amount of work internationally, and then also in terms of our ambition of what we are producing, it's is a more accurate reflection of where we see ourselves." The festival is also building towards Galway's bid for European Capital of Culture 2020

Fresh productions New Irish theatre writing is centre stage this year. The festival had earlier announced Ballyturk, a new work by Enda Walsh starring Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rea and Mikel Murfi. The show, which has sold out,will also tour to Dublin, Cork and London.


Druid is producing new work with Be Infants in Evil, written by Brian Martin. Chicago's Northlight theatre will present the European premiere of Chapatti, by Galway playwright Christian O'Reilly.

Walsh is also working on a theatrical installation called Room 303, and Moonfish Theatre presents an Irish and English version of Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea. Lisa Dwan will star in a trio of Samuel Beckett plays – Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby – directed by Beckett collaborator Walter Asmus.

The giant dragon comes courtesy of La Compagnie Malabar's street spectacle Dragonus, which will parade through the city. Hallali will take over Eyre Square, featuring a new freestyle acrobatic show. New sculptures This year, the Absolut gallery will be in the former Connacht Tribune printworks on Market Street. It will host the first Irish show since 2006 by artist John Kindness and Eduardo Paolozzi's pop art touring show General Dynamic FUN.

Sculptor Patrick O'Reilly is working on new pieces as part of a wider show called Prelude. US artist Kurt Perschke will be squeezing his giant RedBall Project into locations around the city, and the pink aliens come from Slovenia, as part of street show The Invasion.

The National headline the music bill, with other concerts from The Waterboys, Owen Pallett, The Coronas, Declan O'Rourke and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Janet Cardiff will take her The Forty Part Motet to NUI Galway's Aula Maxima. The sound installation uses 40 speakers to play back 40 voices aroud the room.

Fáilte Ireland estimates the direct economic spend during the two weeks of the festival will be €20.1 million. The festival receives €700,000 in funding from Fáilte Ireland and the Arts Council. The festival runs from July 14th to 27th.