Body & Soul – Open Call

Another open call for the Body and Soul Festival in Ballinlough Castle at the end of June:

Creative festival proposals wanted for Body & Soul Festival
The art and creativity flourishing within Body & Soul grows from strength to strength each year.
We invite you to create in a way that encourages people to look, listen, explore and interact.

It is once more time to pour our dreams and aspirations into exciting projects, to both inspire and be inspired. Be they big or small, simple or complex, cosmic or comical, organic or electronic – we look forward to your proposals with bated breath, as do the people who spend their weekend in awe of your work!

Past proposals have included giant kaleidoscopes, hanging moss pods, architectural light displays, a bandwagon of face painting charlatans, dragon birds, creative willow fencing, a giant elk complete with his own knitted jumper, suspended performers entrancing passersby’s below, video and sound installations, a singing angel in the garden, a 100 metre long serpent made from CD’s suspended in the tree tops, giant lanterns and more.

So, whatever your idea; whether it be hanging, planted or floating art pieces, suspended or stationary performances of conversation or song, string instrument or drums, we would like to hear from you.
Please apply on line using the application process in the Get Involved section of our website.

Your guide to the IETM Dublin meeting

Last year, Project Arts Centre announced that they would be hosting the IETM Spring meeting. At that time, I knew next to nothing about IETM. I’ve had a bit of a crash course since then in preparation for the Dublin meeting which takes place from April 11 – 14.

IETMIETM_Dublin stands for Informal European Theatre Meeting. The group has changed it’s name to the more inclusive International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts but the original name gives you a better sense of what the whole thing is all about. Like the fact that it’s all about meeting people. IETM is not a conference. It’s a meeting. The aim of the three-day event is for delegates to meet people in the performing arts, in the hope that they will be like-minded individuals that they can form useful and long-lasting relationships with.

A couple of the events in the Dublin programme illustrate this point – on Saturday morning, Day 3 of the Conference there are two early morning events – Run! and Jump!, where attendees are invited to go for a run through Phoneix Park or a swim at Seapoint. This has nothing to do with theatre or the performing arts, but it is a good way to get to know people and a good first step to cultivating a relationship!

Making links with Europe can only be a good thing for the arts in Ireland. Our little island nation can be a bit too inward looking sometimes, or only influenced by British and American culture – people who literally speak our language. I think it’s a good thing to have outside influences coming in to add something new to the mix.

The theme of the Dublin meeting is “Trust” and all the sessions relate to that theme. Some of the ones that I really like the look of are; Are The Performing Arts Driving Us Mad? which is about the mental health of those working in the arts and the role that the arts can play in improving mental health; The Big Debate: How to trust and be trusted which takes place in different venues over the three days of the meeting; another practical one – Trust Circus To Take You Into The Unknown which involves trust games and circus skills and the opening night Reception with the wonderful Pop Ceili. These are all delegate only sessions which means you have to sign up and pay the registration fee to attend. Registration fees start at €75 but you don’t have to be a member of IETM to register for the meeting. This is the Early Bird offer which ends on March 28th. After that the fees double to €150 so if you are planning to attend, register soon! It can be a difficult, time-consuming process so don’t try and do it in a hurry!

All That Fall by Pan Pan Theatre
All That Fall by Pan Pan Theatre

And if, like me you can’t afford the registration fee, there’s still the Artistic Programme, which is open to both delegates and non-delegates. There are five performances – Pan Pan’s All That Fall, Brokentalkers Have I No Mouth, a gig curated by Dylan Tigue called Let the music do the talking and two dance pieces – John Scott Dance’s Body Duets and Fast Portraits by Liz Roche Company. There’s also live art happening in the Cube each evening, which is free and open to non-delegates. Tickets for the other pieces are €10 and available from Project. (Delegate tickets are €6 and available in person only, from April 11th.) Most of these performances are happening in Project Arts Centre, which is the Meeting Place and Hub for IETM which means you get a change to get a sense of the IETM atmosphere and maybe do a little mingling and networking without registering for the full meeting.

You can also get involved as a volunteer, if you have the time to spare. Volunteers are asked for at least 3 days commitment (8 hours a day) between 8th and 14th of April. There are more details here and applications close on Friday, March 22.

I think if you can afford to attend, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet other art practitioners from around Europe and hear what their work practices are like. It’s unlikely that a meeting will be held in Dublin again so this is the year to do it! Who knows who you might meet or what connections you could establish. And for those without tickets, I think it’s worth paying a visit to Project during those three days and seeing the whole thing in action. Again, who knows who you might bump into!

Festival open calls

Despite the snow yesterday morning, summer and the summer festivals are on their way. Two festivals currently open for applications are the Galway Fringe and 10 Days in Dublin.

Galway Fringe takes place July 12th – 30th, alongside the Galway Arts Festival. This means that for those two weeks, Galway is full of people eager to see theatre. It’s only it’s second year but I knew a lot of people with shows in last year’s inaugural festival who had a great experience and even made some money! They are interested in all artforms and it is an open-access festival which means everyone is welcome to participate and perform. Registration is open until 28th April but I imagine venues may be allocation on a first come, first served basis so it’s good to start the conversations as soon as possible.

10DaysOn the other side of the country, 10 Days in Dublin will also happening this July 4th – 13th. It’s also open-access and has been running for a few years now. They are looking to expand their programme this year to include more visual art and film but they are interested in all types of art. Registration closes April 5th.

Both festivals offer box-office and all shows will be included in the festival programme. And both will be looking for volunteers if you want to get involved but stay off-stage!!

And if you can’t wait until July, you still have a few hours to apply for the third instalment of TEXT|messages. This is happening in Project Arts Centre, April 25th – 27th. Applications close at 5pm today and there is more information here.

Shakespeare at the Abbey

Shakespeare Season at the Abbey
Shakespeare Season at the Abbey

I am really enjoying the Abbey’s Shakespeare Season at the moment. On Wednesday evening, I watched Marty Rea and Derbhle Crotty play various Shakespearean characters under the direction of Abbey Voice Director Andrea Ainsworth. There was a bit of Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; we saw Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plotting to kill the king and Beatrice and Benedict trading insults. It was a very enjoyable hour on the impressive King Lear set that is currently occupying the Abbey stage.

The production that goes along with the set is also a treat. It’s a great cast; Owen Roe is a wonderful Lear in kinglyness and madness, while Beth Cooke demonstrates Cordelia’s strength and tenacity despite her slight frame. I also enjoyed Ciarán McMenamin as the scheming Edward and Aaron Monaghan as his betrayed brother. The production is visually rich and suitably dramatic. It’s a very enjoyable show. There are lots of strong, bossy characters in this one. It’s worth catching before it ends on March 23.

Meanwhile, the Peacock is playing host to writer and performer Tim Crouch and his plays I, Malvolio and I, Peaseblossom. I’ve only seen I, Malovolio so far and enjoyed it immensely. Tim Crouch tell the story of Twelfth Night from the perspective of poor, woe-begotten Malvolio, a minor character in Shakespeare’s play. It’s a show that’s funny and sad and will make you feel guilty and uncomfortable. Go see it – you will not regret. Even if you don’t like Shakespeare or are unfamiliar with Twelfth Night, it doesn’t matter – you will still laugh yourself silly at this show.

I, Peaseblossom is the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as told by one of the fairies. It’s aimed at audience members from 6 years upwards. Both are running until the end of next week and there are evening and afternoon performances.

Treat yourself to some Shakespeare at the Abbey. There really is something for everybody. Book here.