Al Porter launches himself into a thrilling New Year

Dublin comedian proves 2016 wasn’t bad for everyone, finishing year on a career high

Al Porter launching ‘Luminosity’ at the Custom House, part of the three-day Dublin New Year Festival. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Al Porter launching ‘Luminosity’ at the Custom House, part of the three-day Dublin New Year Festival. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Many people cannot wait to see the back of 2016, but for the comedian Al Porter it has been a very good year.

He turned up to launch the New Year Festival Luminosity projection at the Custom House in Dublin wearing his panto dame outfit from the Olympia Theatre.

Despite his tender years (he is just 24), he has played the dame every year for the last 10 years. This year it is in The Ugly Sisters And Yer Wan – The Story of Cinderella, which he also produces.

It has been a busy end to a busy year. “I had a half-an-hour window to come from the theatre to come here to help out and then to go back,” he said.

In 2016, Porter gave himself a platform for international success by getting a nomination for comedy show of the year at the Edinburgh comedy festival. He also won an IFTA Rising Star award and embarked on his first national tour.

Hat in the ring

Just as importantly, he made a series of agenda-setting appearances on RTÉ’s Cutting Edge programme in which he spoke about his depression. “I know there are all sorts of opinions contrasting to mine, but at least I threw my hat in the ring.”

Porter says that, as good as 2016 has been – and it is not all about Trump and Brexit for a lot of people – 2017 is looking even better.

“I’ve got some stuff recorded for the BBC with Sue Perkins and Patrick Kielty. I want to write a book and see where it goes from there.”

New Year frolics

Dublin’s New Year Festival has gone from being a one-night event to three days. It now incorporates 100 events.

Fáilte Ireland Dublin head Keelin Fagan said some 20,000 overseas visitors were expected over the three days.

There are likely to be two highlights to the festival, both on New Year’s Eve: Sky Dance at the Custom House, which will feature illuminations, aerialists and abseilers (5pm-midnight), and a Countdown Concert (from 8pm) in College Green featuring Walking on Cars, with guests the Blizzards, Brian Deady and Little Hours.

The last act of the commemoration year will be an event in Iveagh House in front of invited guests which will be broadcast on RTÉ One as part of its New Year’s Eve coverage.

It will be hosted by Claire Byrne and will be simulcast from New York and London with Bryan Dobson and Kathryn Thomas.

Guests will include a panel from the Paralympics, Fionnuala Sweeney, Deirdre O’Kane, Louis Walsh, Andrew Maxwell, Vogue Williams and David Mitchell.