The Galway Fringe Festival is celebrating its sixth birthday this year and is set to be the largest the city has seen yet, with more than 100 events, including theatre, visual art, poetry, music, comedy, street spectacles, spoken word, and children’s events, across 18 venues.
Of the 27 theatre productions, highlights include Squinty, written and directed by Seamus Moran of Fair City. The play is set in a local pub where four old friends meet for ‘one or two’ for a 40th birthday. Squinty runs at Kirwan’s Lane Theatre @ Busker Browne’s from July 17 to 27.
Another highlight is the premiere of renowned Irish-American broadcaster John Farrell’s memoir, 3 Lies About Brooklyn. A child of the 1950s mother and baby homes, Farrell was adopted from the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage in Brooklyn. A candid recounting of childhood abuse, determination, and murder, this hour long monologue is guaranteed to shock, discomfort,and intrigue the audience. A must see.
Other notable productions include Shakespeare in Connemara, Perfidious Lion, Empty Beds, The Great Push, Life on the Inside, and Mad Cats and Divas at The Loft, Seven, Bridge Street; The Life Before Death and What Do You Mean She Doesn’t Eat Chicken Goujons at Kirwan’s Lane Theatre; Gefilte Fish & Chips and Just Guff at The Cellar Bar; 796/3400 at Nova Bar; Feminist Awakenings at 10 St Bridget's Terrace, and Telling Tales at Aras na nGael.
Music-wise, the Quays Music Hall and De Burgo’s will host some of Ireland’s finest folk and traditional musicians. Gerry Hanley accompanied by Sean and Irene Moloney will kick off two weeks of music in the Quays on July 18. De Burgo’s will be the setting for Songs From The West on July 21. The line up includes notable names such as Tony Reidy, Seamus Ruttledge and New Pope. Rock and indie enthusiasts can enjoy an array of acts in The Loft, including The Clockworks, who since their humble beginnings in Loughrea have toured across Ireland and Britain.
The Fringe Festival Band Showcase returns on July 23. The event has been a huge success over the last number of years and is a wonderful opportunity for the budding young musicians of Galway to step into the spotlight. Other musical highlights include Gerry Carthy, Fintan McHugh, The Invisible Jug Band, and The Wandering Mongrels at De Burgo’s; Fia Rua and Enda Reilly, Lucie Azconaga and Consuelo Breschi, Oisin Ó Scolai and The Virginia Slims, We Raise Bears and Jaskane at The Quays; Oh Boland, Dott, Martin’s Party, Thumper, and Ignition at The Loft. Also, Galway’s own Aimee Banks will be filling the pews of The Augustinian Church with her captivating voice on Friday July 21, with song choices that are suitable for all ages.
On Tuesday July 25 at 4pm, Galway writers Seamus Scanlon, Aoibheann McCann, Órlaith Foyle, and the Galway Advertiser's Kernan Andrews will read their crime and noir fiction at the Galway Mechanics Institute, Middle Street.
There is also an impressive range of visual and applied art. Kelsey Montague will be creating a mural at a mystery location in Galway city; follow Galway Fringe and Kelsey (@KelseyMontagueArt ) on Instagram to discover where it will be!
The Galway Fringe in conjunction with the Galway County Council will be running an art competition for young aspiring artists and the winning entries will be shown in the Galway City Gallery. Once again, the festival will hold its Visual Arts Open which remains an open call submission exhibition throughout the festival.
There is no denying that in its six-year existence the Galway Fringe Festival has gone from strength to strength. It is a vibrant community event; a coming together of artists, performers and volunteers. It is also now very much part of a worldwide fringe movement; there are 200 fringe festivals around the world and Galway’s fringe festival has made its mark on that circuit. International performers now include the Galway Fringe on their tours and perform here en route to appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe. This year there are three shows coming to Galway from the US, five from the UK, and one from France.
This year’s festival sees Compu B, Shop Street, come on board as headline sponsors while Bank of Ireland has also partnered with the event. If you would like to contribute to the festival’s fundit campaign, visit FundIt or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The festival is inviting the public to its launch party on Friday July 14 at the Compu B, Shop Street. The full festival programme is available on www.galwayfringe.ie See also Facebook and Twitter.