GIAF is jam packed for 2016

Galway International Arts Festival announced details this evening of its 2016 Festival Programme. The Festival, which takes place from 11-24 July, features an international programme of theatre, dance, music, visual art, discussion and debate, alongside a strong focus on home produced work.

Four world premiere productions, including a major new play Arlington [a love story] by Enda Walsh; an array of world-class Olivier and Tony Award-winning playwrights and directors including Ivo van HoveLee HallJim Culleton and Garry Hynes; an amazing line-up of Irish and international musicians from Elvis Costello to The Gloaming live at the Absolut Big Top; a major new exhibition, a Festival commission, from the internationally acclaimed Hughie O’DonoghueFirst Thought Talks a series of conversations on identity; and a sensational Street Art Programme featuring Francisco de Pájaro’s Art is Trash amongst others, are just some of the highlights of the 39th Galway International Arts Festival.

Amongst the Irish highlights of Festival 2016 are the world premieres of, Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival’s co-production, Arlington [a love story] written and directed by Enda Walsh, starring Charlie MurphyHugh O’Conor and Oona Doherty which reunites the creative team behind the acclaimed Ballyturk and Misterman both of which went on to international acclaim; Invitation to a Journey – Inspired by Eileen Gray, Ireland’s pioneer of 20th Century design and architecture, in a Festival co-production with Cois Céim Dance TheatreCrash Ensemble and FishambleThe New Play CompanyDeath at Intervals by Kellie Hughes starring Olwen Fouéré and Raymond Scannell; a new short text Kitchen by Enda Walsh presented in a gallery setting and featuring the voice of Eileen Walsh; Druid presents Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett directed by Garry Hynes.

International theatre and dance highlights include the Irish premieres of Song From Far Away directed by the sensational Ivo van Hove, who recently directed the acclaimed Enda Walsh and David Bowie musical Lazarus in New York; the undisputed theatre hit of the 2015 Edinburgh Festivals, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour by Lee Hall, a National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre production; and Australia’s awe-inspiring circus and acrobatic company Gravity & Other Myths with A Simple Space.

An action-packed international Street Art & Spectacle Programme features gigantic Insects from Spain’s Sarruga; a daring trapeze show, The Scent of Sawdust by Les P’Tits Bras from France, and contemporary street and urbanartist Francisco de Pájaro whose pop-up sculpture and installation Art Is Trash will delight audiences this summer.

Live at the Absolut Big Top (co-produced with the Róisín Dubh)features an amazing line-up of Irish and international musicians, including Elvis Costello and The Imposters with special guests The Undertones; Britpop icons Suede; the sublime Villagers with special guest Mick Flannery; and some of Ireland’s biggest-selling music acts of recent times –Bell X1 and Imelda May with special guest Damien Dempsey.

Other music highlights include Dan DeaconThe Souljazz OrchestraBrian DeadyGod Is An AstronautPleasure BeachMary Coughlan, amongst others at the Róisín Dubh; We Banjo 3 and Tommy Emmanuelin Seapoint Ballroom; Donal Dineen’s The Pipes, The Pipes at St. Nicholas’ Church; Stomptown BrassHothouse FlowersSharon Shannon BandThe Henry GirlsMundySéan Smyth and Traditional Music Showcases at Monroe’s Live; with DJ sets at Electric.

GIAF’s First Thought Talks has also been expanded this year, with discussions focusing on identity – what makes us who we are, as individuals and as a nation.First Thought 2016 examines the theme of identity across a wide platform, including talks on political, personal, cultural and digital identity. Are looks really everything? Is your gender determined at birth? What do our objects say aboutus? What are the implications for our identity in a digital world? What does our culture say about us? Why are we voting for individuals rather than parties?First Thought Talks will this year hear from supermodels, activists, constitutional lawyer, artists, politicians, academics, entrepreneurs, journalists, composers and poets, including The Guardian’s theatre critic Michael Billington; transgender actor Rebecca Root; top US model Cameron Russell; performer and activist Rory O’Neill; artists John Gerrard and Varvara Shavrova; scientist Prof. Abhay Pandit; and author David Berreby amongst an extensive number of leading thinkers, academics, journalists and artists.

Festival 2016 sees the return of the Festival Gallery at the former Connacht Tribune Print Works, home to a major new exhibition and Festival commission, One Hundred Years And Four Quarters, by acclaimed Irish artist Hughie O’Donoghue, which forms part of the official Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The Festival will also host exhibitions by Irish artists including Spectres of Modernity by Ruth McHughMaking Ireland Modern by architects Gary A. Boyd and John McLaughlinForeign Bodies by Elisabetta di SopraGiancarlo Marcali and Border Crossings presented by Galway International Arts Festival, Galway Arts Centre and SASA Gallery Australia.

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