Galway Theatre Festival



That’s right blog enthusiasts – the festival spirit that Galway is famous for is starting to rear its wonderful head and with it, the first signs of summer are in the air! (yes, we get summer here. And no, the weather doesn’t improve much. Well apart from that one week where the sun will split the stones and you’ll see enough pastey Irish men to do you for a lifetime, other than that, I apologise for my country’s temperamental weather!). But what we lack in Mediterranean climate during the summer, we make up for in European bohemian vibes! The months of April to September are basically a litany of festivals for every possible discerning taste, but I have to admit, the arts festivals are my favourite amongst them! They bring a wonderful energy to Galway as well as people that want to explore and find out what makes the city tick. And what better way to do this than through the arts! That’s what makes travelling to the city for the arts so inviting, it’s like feeling the heartbeat of Galway all around you, and you can’t help but get swept up!Galway_Theatre_Festival_Kinlay_Hostel

This year’s Galway Theatre Festival, the 9th for those of you counting, is the perfect example of this. Galway’s own indigenous artists mingle with those from further afield to showcase an eclectic programme, full of the different varieties of the performing arts. But it is the situation and nature of Galway itself that allows for this diversity. Galway is basically as far west as you can go in mainland Europe (I’m looking at you Cabo da Roca, Portugal) and people from incredibly varied backgrounds settle here. It has become a melting pot of experiences and voices, and this makes it the perfect hub to nurture all these different forms of art and self-expression.

The Festival kicks off on 29th of April and runs until 7th May, and let me tell you, you’re not gonna be bored in Galway for those dates! A few shows pre-empt the festival on the 27th and 28th, one of which is The Blue Boy presented by the GTF guest artists, BrokenTalkers. The company has already toured extensively within and beyond Ireland with the show, but due to a huge demand the show is being mounted again. Although it deals with the experiences of men and women who were incarcerated as children in Catholic residential care institutions, the show is highly physical and multi-disciplinary, so it promises an unforgettable theatre experience. The opening bank holiday weekend of the festival further highlights a hugely diverse range of theatre and art, with productions such as My Poet Dark and Slender by MmmTheatre, TURF by The Rowan Tolley Company, Sisters of the Rising by Christiane O’ Mahony and Expectations by Sarah Hoover. These range from devised theatre based on a Padraic O’ Conaire poem, an installation art piece about, well, turf!, a play centred on two women’s involvement in the 1916 Rising and a durational performance art piece. These pieces are taking place in theatres and spaces all across Galway city, so check for all the details (as well as all the other shows I haven’t mentioned here!)

Featured during this weekend as well is the Dance Theatre Triple Bill that’ll be in An Taibhdhearc theatre on Middle Street. There are 3 shows on as part of this (in case you didn’t know what triple bill means :P), 2 of which your humble blog writer is involved in! I’m directing and choreographing a show called GHOSTS, a dance piece based on The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri, which is on the 30th April and 1st May at 4.30pm. We’re also performing it under the banner of #wakingthefeministswest, which if you haven’t heard of, go and look it up right now! I’m also doing it under the name of my new theatre company, Sonar Theatre, so if you’d like to keep up to date with what we’re up to, follow us on Twitter @sonar_theatre or find our facebook page! And then from directing and choreographing, I’m performing in a show called eXXcYpt (said like “except”) at 6pm on the same dates (I’m gonna be a busy man!). eXxcYpt is a movement piece created by Jérémie Cyr-Cooke and myself, about the Irish and English languages and their influence upon each other, both historically and culturally. Basically a great day of theatre altogether and you guys should all definitely come and support us and be great 😛
But everything I’ve mentioned here is just a tiny tiny taster of what the whole festival has to offer. Ones to look out for for the rest of the festival are Always Alone Together by Game Theory, Mary Mary Mary by Fregoli Theatre, Wasted by NoRopes Theatre Company, a series of events by #wakingthefeministswest and the show with my personal favourite title, What Good Is Looking Well When You’re Rotten On The Inside, by Emma O’ Grady. It’s set to be a wonderful few days in Galway and the first injection of summer festival fun! So please check out the website, support the artists and have a wonderful time while doing it! You can get tickets for the shows at, or just ringing The Town Hall Theatre on 091-569777. Hopefully I’ll be seeing your lovely faces in a theatre some time soon 😉 See you next week for regularly scheduled blogging!

– Martin at Kinlay Reception