ARTSCAPE: CORK MIDSUMMER’S Spiegeltent, pitched at Emmet Place, is in full-flow, with a big range of acts and three shows on most days until June 28th. The Spiegeltent – or one of several of those gorgeous, touring mirrored cabaret tents – has been a part of Cork’s festival for a couple of years, and a fixture at the Dublin Fringe Festival for even longer. But this autumn is its last Dublin Fringe outing, which means it’ll also be the last and third year the Fringe will have a run of La Clique.
The Fringe, under new director Roise Goan, decided against booking a Spiegeltent – an expensive venue to hire and run, but which more or less broke even for the festival – for 2010 as it wants to be able to programme music that is “more in keeping with what the festival has grown to be about: riskier, more local and interesting, less commercial”, says Goan.
“As the festival was the first to bring the Spiegeltent to Ireland, it feels it should lead the way with a new exciting venue for those works to be programmed into.”
This year the tent will be back at its George’s Dock setting, moving from Iveagh Gardens because, although the Secret Garden last year was “a dream come true”, it was a one-off, and the economic climate, “combined with the practicalities of the programme” planned for the Spiegeltent, “make George’s Dock the perfect location for the Spiegeltent’s final party at the Fringe”, says Goan.
The festival (September 5th to 20th) is presenting the final fling as a last chance to catch the Olivier Award-winning La Clique. A sort of risque variety show with a revolving panel of cabaret, burlesque, circus and contemporary vaudeville acts,it has almost become a franchised entertainment show, and has travelled the world over the past three years, even spawning copycats.
A bunch of returning acts will be joined by new performers, including: a Lycra-clad baritone, Le Gateau Chocolat; aerial poetry; and roller-skating double-act the Skating Aratas.
There’s also a new late-night, more risque show, La Clique Up Late, on weekend nights, for which online advance sales are already open. The show comes to Dublin after a nine-month residency at London‘s Hippodrome, which ends next Saturday, before one of London‘s great theatrical venues is bulldozed to make way for a casino. See the websites fringefest.com, and corkmidsummer.com
Baboro, the long-established mother of Irish children’s arts festivals, is hooking up with European network Small Size, to present work for “early years” in Galway over the next five years. Small Size is a European network of cultural bodies, with its headquarters in Italy, that creates, collaborates and produces work for children up to six years of age. Early-years art has probably been a bit of a poor relation in the past, but there’s a big focus on it now: in the past month in Cork, La Baracca Theatre, international specialists in theatre for the very young, had an event in Graffiti Theatre, and the Half Moon Theatre had an early years show; Draiocht’s annual festival Spreacha has just finished and they’re planning The Gathering, a conference on theatre for young audiences in October, and Baboro’s Early Years Conference, Natural Born Artists (Oct 17-18) is being finalised.
Earlier this year, the Small Size, Big Citizens project was announced, and has nailed down more than [euro]2 million in funding from the Culture 2007-2013 programme of the European Commission to invest over five years. Baboro International Festival in Galway is one of 11 partners in Small Size, which includes theatre companies in Spain, Finland, Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the UK, Romania, Belgium and France. The total value to Baboro over five years is about [euro]80,000, including just under [euro]10,000 specifically for its October conference.
Baboro’s manager Teenagh Cunningham is delighted to be “part of an international cultural forum. A five-year project allows us to think big, have time to work on the long term, to set up processes and see the results, to plant seeds and watch them grow.” Small Size aims to increase children’s creative potential and exposure to European cultural traditions.
- There was a distinctly upbeat attitude at Theatre Forum’s recent conference, and while everyone is undoubtedly feeling the pinch, some are refusing to lie down and die. Touring got a brief boost with the Arts Council’s Touring Experiment in recent years, and for two years people all over Ireland got a taste of varied theatre, music, dance and visual art that couldn’t have toured unsupported. The report on the Touring Project has yet to be published, and although individual touring projects have been partially supported, there is no strategic policy on touring. In the vacuum, some are just getting on with it.
The North Midlands Arts Development Network (Nomad), an alliance of venues with theatre company Livin’ Dred, was set up a couple of years ago and in 2007, worked with Livin Dred’s Conversations on a Homecoming, and on The Dead Schoollast year, which both had great houses and critical reaction. The Dead School,which was nominated for threeIrish TimesTheatre Awards (best production, best actor – Sean Campion, and best costume – Maree Kearns), will now be seen at the Dublin Theatre Festival this autumn.
Next, with a [euro]125,000 Arts Council grant, Nomad is planning its third production, Observe the Sons of Ulsterby Frank McGuinness. Livin’ Dred’s Padraic McIntyre says it’s “a play that for years I have been champing at the bit to direct and with the cast and creative team we are putting in place I believe it will be a truly great production of what is without doubt one of the greatest Irish plays of all time.”
It opens in An Tain Theatre, Dundalk, Co Louth on October 29th and tours to Backstage Theatre in Longford, Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda, Co Louth, Iontas Theatre in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, Mullingar Arts Centre, Ramor Theatre in Virginia, Co Cavan and Roscommon Arts Centre.
Article from:The Irish Times Article date:June 20, 2009Author:DEIRDRE FALVEY