The Galway International Arts Festival is Ireland's largest annual arts festival and celebrates it's 40th anniversary in 2017 from 17th to the 30th July in the city of Galway. Founded in 1978, the Festival collaborates with artists and companies throughout the world to produce and present an international programme of theatre, spectacle, dance, visual arts, music, literature & comedy involving hundreds of artists and performers. Galway International Arts Festival is at the heart of all aspects of life in Galway City contributing immeasurably to the economic, social and cultural life of the west of Ireland. Over its 40-year history, the Festival has become a vital showcase for Irish arts internationally and international arts in Ireland and is now firmly established as Ireland's leading arts festival.
Under the direction of Artistic Director Paul Fahy, Galway International Arts Festival will feature over 500 writers, artists, performers and musicians from America, Asia, Australia and Europe and of course Ireland. The Festival will highlight dance, physical theatre and spectacle from America and Europe illustrating the Festival’s continuing commitment to staging extraordinary, ambitious and innovative projects, the world premiere of new Irish theatre, site-specific visual arts commissions and the introduction of the new, specially commissioned Festival Big Top in the spectacular setting by the banks of Galway’s River Corrib to add to the magic and diversity of Galway in July.
2017 marks the festival's 40th festival and its largest and most ambitious programme to date. New opera and theatre, including four world premieres; Live at the Absolut Big Top; a First Thought programme that discusses Power; extraordinary visual art and street spectacle; and a special 40th Festival commission are among the highlights.
The line-up also includes world premieres of a new play by Conall Morrison, and a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh; Kneehigh and maverick director Emma Rice; a special 40th Festival commission from the internationally acclaimed John Gerrard, and a major exhibition by Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco.
Street events are a key part of what makes the Galway International Arts Festival work, and what accounts for part of its enduring popularity. These are events which take place among the people, where the public can interact with the performers, 'experience them up close and personal'. This is art for the people and this year's festival will see Galwegians getting really involved, by creating one of the events themselves.
The People Build will see the public invited to take part in a spectacular architectural event devised by the French artist Olivier Grossetete. Over four days in Eyre Square, thousands of cardboard boxes will be transformed into the building blocks of a democratically assembled building, created through human power and collective endeavour. Once the structure is completed, Galwegians will join forces in a massive celebratory demolition. Construction dates are July 22 (11am to 4pm ); demolition is July 23 at 4pm. There will be free workshops from July 18 to 21.
Big Brother is not an all-powerful computer keeping tabs on you. It is actually four tall and skinny beings with giant eyeballs for heads! These are the i–Puppets, they come from another time and place (Dutch company Close–Act’ to be precise ), in search of something...could that something be you? They will be stalking the region between St Nicholas' and the Big Top, Fisheries Field, on July 28 and 29, at 6pm and 11pm.
French masters of street spectacle Transe Express, who brought us the Giant Divas in 2015, return to Galway with Chariot Of The Sea and Mobile Homme. A high–energy interactive street show, Chariot Of The Sea will be a maelstrom of percussion, atmosphere, and colour, as its weaves its way from Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch (July 21, 10pm ). Mobile Homme will see a parade of drummers and percussionists meander between the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square (July 22, 4pm ). Joined by an acrobatic dancer, the performers will be lifted more than 100 feet into the sky on a giant telescopic crane.
Another intriguing element of the Galway International Arts Festival is the announcement of four world premiere theater productions, only one of which has been announced as yet. "Woyzeck in Winter" is described as a fusion of Büchner's "Woyzeck" and Schubert's "Die Winterreise" starring Patrick O'Kane and Camille O'Sullivan.
The critically acclaimed production of "Tristan & Yseult" by Kneehigh also promises to attract large numbers, as does the theater company Druid's premiere of "Crestfall."
At the Big Top
The Big Top will host performances by the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson presenting his 1966 "Pet Sounds" album, Gavin James and singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg (aka Passenger) will also perform, as well as special guests, the Irish duo Hudson Taylor.
Badly Drawn Boy, Stockton's Wing, Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, are among some of the musicians who will be performing at Monroe's Live as part of the 40th Galway International Arts Festival.
Highlights from the art section of the festival include a major sculpture exhibition by the internationally-acclaimed Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco, entitled "Dark Night of the Soul." The 19 figures in the exhibition were inspired by Pacheco's time spent in residence as the first non-European Associate Artist of the National Gallery, London.
Other main features of the festival's art lineup are four new commissions (in collaboration with the Thomas Dane Gallery, London) by John Gerrard, one of Ireland's most celebrated artists. Called "Flag," the collection features portraits of the rivers Amazon, Danube, Nile and Yangtze, draped with oil spills.
For more details see the festival website - www.giaf.ie
Galway International Arts Festival map
Book Sightseeing Tours
Connemara Day Tour
Discover Connemara, a beautifully scenic region just north of Galway City with Lally Tours. This tour includes stops at Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Gardens, Leenane Village, Killary Fjord and the village of An Spidéal overlooking Galway Bay.
Cliffs of Moher & The Burren Day Tour
The unmissable Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour with Lally Tours includes up to 2 hours at the cliffs and includes stops at the lunar-like Burren region, Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Caves & Birds of Prey Centre and the charming village of Doolin overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Cliffs of Moher Express Bus
A Non-Stop Express Shuttle Service to the Cliffs of Moher with Lally Tours. Experience Ireland’s natural, mysterious, 214m (702 ft) high cliffs and interactive visitor centre. You’ll have 2 full hours to explore on your own before heading back to Galway.
Galway City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Explore Galway with one of Lally Tours' friendly guides to learn about this colourful city and see it from the best vantage point: an open top bus! You’ll see everything from medieval walls in the city centre to the sandy beaches of Salthill. Hop on and off as much as you’d like and your ticket is valid for 24 hours.