Festival round-up

I keep hearing about all the wonderful things happening at the Galway Arts Festival and feeling like I’m on the wrong side of the country. In case you’re feeling the same, here’s a reminder of all the things going on in Dublin over the next few weeks.

Today is Day 8 of the 10 Days in Dublin – a brand new Dublin festival, which has a great selection of music, theatre and comedy about the city. It’s also very reasonably priced! I think Trinity Orchestra plays DAFT PUNK sounds pretty wonderful, as does Bang Bang’s Forty Coats hosted by Storymap.

And from a festival that’s almost over to one that hasn’t started yet – Made in Temple Bar starts tomorrow and runs until 24 July. The big event tomorrow is High Wire Solo performed by Didier Pasquette in Temple Bar Square at 6.15pm. There are lots of exhibitions and things that are just set up in Temple Bar for the 10 day, such as An archaeology of things not old enough to be interesting, so I’m sure it will be worth wandering through the area over the next few days. I’m hoping to get tickets for The End of the Road, a play written By Gavin Kostick and directed by Louise Lowe and set in Fishamble Street. It’s fully booked but there will be a day-to-day cancellation list in the Project Arts Centre from 5.30pm each performance day. I’ll let you know if I’ve any luck.

Absolut Fringe are launching their 2011 Programme next Wednesday and the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival will announce their programme a week later. We’ll still have to wait weeks and months for the actual festivals but it’s never too early to start planning what you’re going to see! In the meantime, you can follow them both on Twitter – @dublinfringe and @DubTheatreFest

There is no shortage of great festivals in Dublin at the moment!

Show in a Bag 2011

Fishamble, Dublin Fringe Festival and the Irish Theatre Institute have combined forces again for another round of Show in the Bag shows. It’s not surprising when last year’s shows were so successful, both in the Fringe Awards (three shows nominated for the Little Gem award, two for best male performer, both won by Fight Night) and since the end of the festival. Fight Night is on in in Bewley’s May 9 – June 11, Connected played to packed houses upstairs in the Project, and The Sit had a successful three week run at Bewley’s.

It’s a change to work with a great playwright and avail of a great deal of support from the ITI and the Fringe. It’s a fantastic opportunity because the main aim is to create to show that has a life of it’s own after the Festival and I think that is really valuable.

The closing date is Friday, 29 April and the full details can be found here.

Fringe Awards or the great shows I missed at the Fringe

The winners of the 2010 Fringe Awards can be found here. The only one that I actually saw was the Best Production winner As You Are Now So Once Were We. (Review coming soon!)

The Show in a Bag crowd did very well, both in terms of nominations and winners. I didn’t see any of them because I was working but hopefully they will all have a life after the Fringe and I will get a chance to see them again.

Other shows that come up a lot are Berlin Love Tour, World’s End Lane and Heroin, which won the Spirit of the Fringe Award for TheatreClub.

World’s End Lane seems to have been the show to see this year. It gets a couple of mentions in the Irish Times Fringe round-up, as well as winning Best Off-Site Production. Louise Lowe is very good at making off-site and site specific work. I loved Anu Production’s Basin last year. I saw it by accident because I happened to be working at it, and I’m so glad I did. It was almost an art installation and the audience could pick and choose what they wanted to see. I’m sorry I missed World’s End Lane this year, though that Irish Times article makes it sound like a terrifying experience. It’s part one of a series of pieces about the area and I am not going to miss the rest!

Back to School

Since tomorrow is September 1, which means back to school for a lot of people, I thought I’d do a little round-up of drama-related courses for adults coming up in the next few months.

The main place doing courses is the Gaiety School of Acting. As well as the full-time acting course, they have lots of short courses in Dublin and Cork. The courses from now until Easter are now up on the website. They have a really wide selection from introductory acting classes to writing and directing classes, as well as acting for camera, stage combat, stand up comedy and loads more. I have done a couple of courses with the GSA before and enjoyed them. I’m not planning on doing any more right now because I don’t think I can commit to a three month term at the moment. When the classes cost so much, and you’ve paid for them up front – you don’t want to miss any!

I am considering a couple of the one-day courses – Directing with Paul Meade (who taught one of my Practising Playwriting classes and was very informative and easy to listen to!) and the Casting & Audition Workshop. I’m also tempted by the Shakespeare Workshop because that language is so much fun to work with but money is an issue!

GSA has courses for people who want to write for the stage – the introductory course Dramatic Writing, and the year long course The Writer’s Room. The one that I did last year was the second part of The Writer’s Room but that doesn’t seem to be an option this year.

Fishamble also run playwriting courses, which concentrate specifically on writing for the stage. Their nine-week evening course is full (though you can ask to be added to their waiting list) but there still spaces on the three-day October Bank Holiday course.

The Irish Writers’ Centre also has two-day course on Playwriting.

Actor’s Training Ireland may have some more voice, acting and singing courses coming up in the next couple of months. I didn’t get an e-mail announcing the new courses and I’m not sure if the dates listed are for this year or last year! I’m easily confused! But I’ve sent them an e-mail and will let you know.

Dublin Theatre Festival (again!)

The launch party for the Absolut Fringe Festival is tomorrow evening, when they will unveil the programme for this year’s festival. The Fringe itself is only four weeks away – exciting!! But before we get all swept away with the Fringe madness, I thought I would have another look at the Dublin Theatre Festival.

A show that I am now really looking forward to seeing (if I can get tickets – on sale Wednesday at 9.30am!) is The Smile Off Your Face. It’s been getting great reviews at the Kilkenny Arts Festival and it’s sounds a little odd and interesting – the audience member is blindfolded and put into a wheel-chair before they enter the “performance”. Ontroerend Goed have three shows in the Festival and they are all a bit odd. Internal is performed to just five people at a time and has the warning “contains nudity”! The Game of You just sounds a bit tricksy from it’s blurb. All these performances are approximately 30 minutes long and cost €15 each. I don’t see it on the website, but the paper programme says that you can book a ticket for all three for €36 which is a little bit of a saving.

Personally I think that’s still a lot of money, but probably worth it for the experience!

The Festival does have some free work-in-progress performances and live art pieces, buried under the Special Events tab on the website.

The In Development strand has new plays from Corn Exchange and Fishamble. Sadly, for me and anyone else who works full time, a lot of them are during the day time.

Project Brand New is also there with The Magic If… on Saturday 16th October in The New Theatre, shows are running hourly from 2pm – 7pm. There’s no advance booking, you just pay €2 at the door.

Amanda Coogan’s Yellow is on in St. Mary’s Abbey (off Capel Street) from September 30 – October 5th. It’s a durational live performance and audience members can come and go throughout the performance which is between 6pm – 10pm each night. Each evening it will be performed by a different woman. And it’s free!

I really would recommend getting a paper programme rather than relying on the website. They are available free of charge from the Festival offices on East Essex Street, just down from the Project, or from the Abbey and Gate theatres. You can also request one from the website.

My Show in a Bag experience

Last month I applied for Show in a Bag – a collaborative project run by Dublin Fringe Festival, Fishamble and the Irish Theatre Institute. The five successful applicants will have a play written for them by Gavin Kostick from Fishamble and will perform the play at the Fringe Festival. They will have direction, budgeting and production support from the ITI and the Fringe Festival throughout the process. And at the end of is all, that play will continue to have a long and (hopefully) profitable life with it’s performers, playing arts centres and festivals around the country.

It’s a wonderful idea and a great opportunity for performers to have a great deal of help and support to create the show they want to perform – from rehearsal space, office space, help with putting together budgeting, a director to help shape the show, a head start with networking at the Fringe’s Information Toolbox, etc. They then have a great place for the show’s debut performance at the Fringe. The really great thing is that the whole project is designed so that the Fringe Festival is the only the beginning of the show’s life. The whole thing is preparing you to take this show out into the world and show it off.

Unfortunately, I was not one of the five success applicants but I did get a great deal out of the application process. For a start, it made me think about the type of show I would like to create in this situation. Of course, this is something I should be doing anyway; I should be chasing down ideas everyday and trying to come up with the best way to bring them to life. I wish it was like that but most days I get so bogged down by the day job and the day-to-day life in general that I don’t find time for the higher, loftier ambitions of making art. It’s easier to get absorbed by the day-to-day things than to make space for the other stuff. So it’s always good when something like this comes along to give me a clear set of parameters and a deadline to focus on.

I was also lucky enough to make it to the interview stage where I got to bounce ideas around with the interview panel. It made things seem more possible and less like free floating ideas. I plan to develop my ideas, try out some of the things that came up in that meeting and see where they led me.

I think it’s great that the Fringe is doing something like this to encourage artists and performers and give them a change to create something wonderful. It’s especially useful for those people who may not have the experience or the connections to get something off the ground on their own. I’m hoping to see some of the shows in the Fringe Festival in September.