‘Wild thing’ and lobsters kick off Galway festival

Galway celebrates two arts festivals in one fortnight

Western Correspondent

Giant inflatable crustaceans will cruise the streets of Galway today as the city kicks off its international arts festival, which runs over the next fortnight.

The "dancing lobsters" in personalised street carts are part of the festival's free outdoor spectacle programme, which includes circus acrobatic show Hallali tomorrow and Thursday, a "monumental moving Dragonus" next weekend, and an enormous roving "RedBall" from Thursday to Wednesday week.

World premiere

The cosmopolitan city became the claustrophobic village of



last night when award-winning

Enda Walsh

marked not only the world premiere of his new play but also the festival’s official opening.

"The most kinetically crazy, charged, wild thing I think I've ever done," Walsh has said of Ballyturk, which has sold out in the west but runs in Dublin's Olympia Theatre next month.

Walsh, who has also written the script for a festival visual arts installation, Room 103, was joined at the opening by his cast of Cillian Murphy, Mikel Murfi and Stephen Rea.

Actors Pauline McLynn, Olwen Fouéré, Brendan Gleeson and his son Domhnall, playwright Martin McDonagh, Druid artistic director Garry Hynes and artist John Kindness were among those due to attend the performance at the Black Box.

The festival has two more world premieres tonight, with Druid's Be Infants in Evil at the Mick Lally Theatre and Moonfish Theatre's Star of the Sea at the Taibhdhearc.

Chicago-based Northlight, with actors John Mahoney and Penny Slusher, and local companies Branar, Blue Teapot, Galway Youth Theatre and Galway Community Theatre are also staging productions.

Concerts by the likes of The National, The Waterboys and Imelda May will take place at the Big Top and other venues.

There is an extensive visual arts programme, with an exhibition of work by Brian Bourke and Jay Murphy being opened by poet Mary O'Malley at the Norman Villa Gallery in Salthill tomorrow night. The Connacht Tribune has provided its old printworks on Market Street for the main festival gallery, while sculptor Patrick O'Reilly is using the Shed on the docks. Janet Cardiff's Forty Part Motet sound installation is on show at NUI Galway's Aula Maxima.

On the fringe

Galway Fringe is hosting a plethora of events in venues provided by city businesses, including the Columban Hall on Sea Road, which has become the Galway Playhouse, and the Dominican Hall on the Claddagh, which is a visual arts hub.

The Fringe is also hosting workshops for children at the Galway City Museum.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times