Galway International Arts FestGalway International Arts Festival has announced details  of its 2015 Festival Programme.

The Festival, which takes place from 13-26 July, features an international programme of theatre, dance, music, visual art, discussion and debate, alongside a strong focus on home produced work.

A 100ft long flying Skywhale; five premiere productions including new work by Frank McGuinness, Hofesh Shechter, Amy Conroy and Enda Walsh; Brett Bailey’s powerful theatre/installation Exhibit B; a weekend of orchestral and chamber music masterworks featuring the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with conductor John Wilson and RTÉ Contempo Quartet; an amazing line-up of Irish and international musicians Live at the Festival Big Top; exhibitions by the internationally acclaimed Patricia Piccinini, Louise Bourgeois and Sophie Calle; First Thought Talks a series of conversations on creativity and design; and a sensational Street Spectacle Programme are just some of the highlights of the 38th Galway International Arts Festival.

Artists from Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, and the U.S.A. join forces with artists from Ireland to create what promises to be an unforgettable Festival of Extraordinary Experiences this July.

Commenting on this year’s programme, Galway International Arts Festival’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy stated, “Festival 2015 features a truly international programme of artists from all over the world, with a spotlight on Irish work and home-grown productions at the heart of this year’s programme. The Festival offers the very best of the performing and visual arts for two fantastic weeks this July.” The Festival’s Chief Executive John Crumlish added, “We are very excited about this year’s Festival. I think it will build further on the success of last year and deliver some stand out Festival experiences for our audiences.”

Amongst the highlights of Festival 2015 is the Irish premiere of a Festival production The Match Box written by Frank McGuinness, starring Galway’s Cathy Belton who makes her long-awaited Festival debut, directed by Joan Sheehy; the world premiere of HotForTheatre’s Luck Just Kissed You Hello written by and starring Amy Conroy, a Festival co-production; and the world premiere of A Girl’s Bedroom written and directed by Enda Walsh, a theatre installation in a gallery setting. Lessness by Samuel Beckett starring Olwen Fouéré, reunites the creative team behind the acclaimed riverrun. A Festival co-production with TheEmergencyRoom and Cusack Projects Ltd., Lessness premieres at London’s Barbican in June as part of its International Beckett Season prior to Galway performances. A new development this year sees the Festival joining forces with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Contempo Quartet and stellar guest artists.

International highlights include the Irish premieres of Exhibit B a deeply moving and powerful theatre/installation created by South African artist Brett Bailey; the much anticipated return to the Festival of the Hofesh Shechter Company with the spell-binding deGeneration, while Live Live Cinema’s Little Shop of Horrors see live performers work at breakneck speed to re-voice multiple characters while playing a new score and creating live sound effects to the infamous Roger Corman cult film. In what promises to be one of the most talked about events of the summer Patricia Piccinini’s magnificent 100ft long and 75ft tall flying sculpture Skywhale will take to the skies above Galway. A phenomenon since it premiered in Australia, Skywhale is sure to capture the hearts and minds of Festival audiences this July.

Other theatre includes Pat McCabe’s The Dead School from Galway Youth Theatre and Galway Community Theatre, and An Taibhdhearc’s world premiere production of Maum by Sighle Ní Chonaill starring David Heap.

An action-packed international Street Spectacle Programme features The Giant Divas & Les Tambours from French masters of circus Transe Express; Belgium’s Collectif Malunés with Turned Upside Down; George Orange from the US performs The Man on the Moon; while French artists Tac O Tac bring heart-stopping acrobatic stilt performers to the streets of Galway in The Sky Conquest.

Galway International Arts Festival

Live at the Festival Big Top (co-produced with the Róisín Dubh) features an amazing line-up of Irish and international musicians including US sensation and 2015 Grammy Award winner St. Vincent with special guests Little Green Cars; the sublime Sinead O’Connor in a special Big Top double-bill with John Grant; and two of the biggest-selling Irish acts of recent times Kodaline and The Coronas.

Other music highlight includes Music for Man Ray from Italy’s Teho Teardo who created the music for last year’s Festival production of Ballyturk; former Crowded House member Tim Finn in White Cloud an evening of story, song and film; Chuck Prophet, Mick Flannery, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Newton Dunbar, Jape, Declan O’Rourke, All Tvvins, The Young Folk, The Lost Brothers, Damien Dempsey, Jerry Fish, Aldoc, Irvine & Lunny, O Emperor, John Spillane & Band and Scullion. A new strand to the programme features European electronic music at the newly-imagined Galway club Electric.

Traditional Music Showcases at Monroe’s Live include Blackie O’Donnell and Cyril O’Donoghue; Dermot Byrne, Brendan O’Regan and Floriane Blancke; Brid Harper and PJ McDonnell; Liz and Yvonne Kane and Mick Conneely; Passage West; Jim Talty and John Blake.

First Thought Talks is a platform where a broad range of ideas and topics are explored through a series of conversations, one-to-one interviews and discussions. First Thought 2015 features conversations on creative cities, creative people and Cities of Culture, while also celebrating the Year of Design. Guests include journalists and authors Jo Ellison, Dr. Rick Robinson, Dr. Sorcha O’Brien, photographer Kadir Van Lohuizen, conductor John Wilson and authors and BBC presenters Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Mark Miodownik. The Laureate for Irish Fiction presents the Long Night of the Short Story with Anne Enright and guests including authors Kevin Barry, Mary Costello and musician Camille O’Sullivan amongst others. First Thought Play Readings features three new works in development including two Druid Debuts.

Festival 2015 sees the return of the Festival Gallery at the former Connacht Tribune Print Works at Market Street, which hosts a major exhibition, Relativity, by acclaimed Australian artist Patricia Piccinini, whose startling sculptures examine the connections between science and nature, art and the environment. The Festival will also host exhibitions by the internationally acclaimed French American artist Louise Bourgeois and French conceptual artist Sophie Calle. Bourgeois shows two print portfolios from the latter part of her career, while Calle shows two films including Double Blind her premier video project, a voyeuristic tour de force.

Varvara Shavrova’s paintings and films examine the lasting imprint that borders contribute to our notion of freedom with this exhibition set against the longest border in the world between China and her native Russia. Cleary Connolly and Neil McKenzie’s Meta-Perceptual Helmets are an extraordinary series of helmets, that help us explore the mysteries of visual perception, while Primary Resources sees Galway’s 126 collaborate with Glasgow based artist-led collective Transmission. Other exhibitions include Terrain by Irish artist Martin Healy; Sioban Piercy’s striking sculptural prints; and the Impressions Biennale, Ireland’s leading open submission print exhibition curated by David Ferry.

Amongst the very best of Irish comics are The Rubberbandits and Al Porter and the daily lunchtime madness that is Laughter Loft with Gerry Mallon.

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland and Festival Partners Ulster Bank, ABSOLUT and NUI Galway.

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