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  • Writer's pictureMegan Routledge

Galway International Arts Festival Announces Programme For 2024 Featuring 7 World Premiere's


Galway International Arts Festival

Galway International Arts Festival takes place from 15-28 July 2024 with a packed programme of theatre, circus, music, visual art, street art and spectacle, comedy and talks, that looks at who we are and what concerns us.


The Festival includes 7 world premiere's, a new visual arts Festival commission, the biggest music line-up to date and continues to present exciting new theatre co-produced by GIAF, with long-time partners Landmark Productions and this year, Once Off Productions. 


Theatre is certainly amongst the highlights of this year’s Festival and audiences can look forward to the world premiere of a breathtaking new play Reunion by Mark O’Rowe, who turns his laser focus on the deep currents of family life with biting humour and insight, in a co-production between Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival. The production features a roll-call of Ireland’s finest actors, including Ian-Lloyd Anderson, Cathy Belton, Venetia Bowe, Stephen Brennan, Robert Sheehan and Catherine Walker. 


Other premieres include Unspeakable Conversations by Christian O’Reilly, (Once Off Productions and GIAF) starring Olivier Award-winning disabled actor Liz Carr and fellow disabled actor Mat Fraser, which thrusts us into the heart of a life and death debate in a provocative, funny and exhilarating new production; The Map of Argentina by Marina Carr a new play that tunnels deeply into the complicated contours of family dynamics, pushing the boundaries of love, power and desire directed by Andrew Flynn (Decadent Theatre); and a new immersive theatre installation Dining Room part of an ongoing extraordinary series Rooms created by Enda Walsh and Paul Fahy. 


Other Festival highlights include a new production from Druid of Endgame, Samuel Beckett’s comic-tragic masterpiece, directed by Tony Award-winning Garry Hynes; the sensational Australian circus and acrobatic performers Circa with the European premiere of the astounding Duck Pond, a reimagining of the classic Swan Lake, at the Festival Theatre, Kingfisher, University of Galway; and from the Lebanon Tania El Khoury’s Cultural Exchange Rate a unique immersive installation which examines the never-ending story of migration.


Known for her extraordinary lifelike hybrid creatures, Australian sculptor Patricia Piccinini will showcase an incredible body of work We Travel Together at the Festival Gallery including a site-specific installation, created especially for the Festival. Other exhibitions include works by Bernadette Kiely, Miriam de Búrca, Brian Bourke, Karen Cox, Brian Ballard, Yvonne McGuinness, Cecilia Danell and Katerina Gribkoff, Seán O’Riordan, Peter Bradley and a site-specific group show featuring seven female artists When We Cease to Understand the World in the incredible setting of Interface, Lough Inagh Valley, Connemara. 


The Festival also continues to move forward on its journey to be ever more accessible, to continue to be a platform for debate, a chance for voices from across communities to tell their stories and share their experiences and to encourage everyone to be part of the artistic celebrations. 


Galway International Arts Festival Chief Executive John Crumlish said, “It is a privilege for us all at GIAF to be able to present this festival programme. It brings together a lot of great art and artists that we admire and we are very much looking forward to sharing it all with everyone in July.”


Artistic Director Paul Fahy said “We are thrilled to work with such an extraordinary number of artists and colleagues from Galway, Ireland and around the world to deliver this programme. It is very exciting to produce and host such exciting World, Irish and European premieres as part of one our most ambitious Festival programmes to date. There is simply nowhere quite like Galway during the Festival, the city offers a special magical atmosphere every summer. We look forward to welcoming our audiences to Galway this July to share and enjoy two wonderful weeks of great art and performance.”


GIAF’s live music programme is its largest to date, with performances from The Saw Doctors, Annie Mac, Passenger, Leftfield, Stewart Copeland, Gavin James, Jess Glynne, KETTAMA, Kneecap and Block Rockin Beats scheduled for the Heineken® Big Top, Galway International Arts Festival’s iconic live music venue on the banks of the river Corrib in the very heart of Galway City. 


The music programme continues with an exciting line-up at Róisín Dubh, including Niamh Regan, Susan O’Neill, Glasshouse, Telebox, The Undertones, Muireann Bradley, Will Butler and Sister Squares, Simple Kid and more. At Monroes, enjoy Róisín O, Teddy Thompson, George Murphy, Tara Howley, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Oisin Leech with special guests Lemoncello, Lumiere, Gruff Rhys and Darren Kiely, while the ambient St. Nicholas’ Church is host to the sublime Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo, and ConTempo with the In Flow Gamelan Group, a pitched percussion ensemble made up of performers with intellectual disabilities. 


The First Thought Talks series is the Festival’s thought leadership platform that interrogates the world around us, exploring the big issues and challenges of the day. Guests will include journalists Marion McKeone and Fintan O’Toole; novelists Colm Tóibín, Andrew O’Hagan, Mike McCormack and Elaine Feeney; academics and authors Diarmaid Ferriter and Pankaj Mishra; philosopher Susan Neiman; actor and activist Liz Carr; tech expert Elaine Burke; climate change adviser Marie Donnelly; barrister Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh; playwright Marina Carr and psychiatrist Brendan Kelly, amongst a host of others. Topics will include the crucial choice facing the US electorate, the nature of the world after climate transition, the rise of machines, the possibilities and disadvantages of a United Ireland, how close are we actually to a nuclear catastrophe and much more.


Galway International Arts Festival’s free Street Art Programme brings the city alive each year and this summer sees the incredible Planet Vapeur’s roam the city’s medieval streets with the spectacular giant, winged-horse Pegasus; while Guru Duru bring their ever-popular Silent Disco Walking Tours to town, and the spectacular Les P’Tits Bras’ new aerial show West Wind will bring Eyre Square alive with their breathtaking and jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics. 


The Festival Garden returns to Eyre Square with food, drinks, occasional DJs and live sets from festival artists while Deirdre O’Kane, Mc Gerry Mallon, Randy Feltface and Phil Ellis feature in the comedy line up. 


“Fáilte Ireland is pleased to support this year’s Galway International Arts Festival. Festivals and events present an excellent opportunity to showcase the rich heritage and unique culture that Ireland has to offer. They are also important drivers of tourism revenue across the country, particularly in areas that are outside of the traditional tourism hotspots. Developing unique and immersive visitor experiences like Galway International Arts Festival play a key role in motivating both international and domestic visitors to choose a destination, while helping drive the sustainable development of the tourism sector for the county and the wider region.” – Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals & Events, Failte Ireland.


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