Tuesday 26 September 2017

Revealed: 1916 events to go global as multi-million euro plan unveiled

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan

Public Affairs Editor

THE Government is planning a multi-million euro programme of cultural events abroad to celebrate the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

Concerts, plays, exhibitions and film events are planned in Washington, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Dubai, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Details of the programme were announced this evening by Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Arts Minister Heather Humphreys.

Highlights of the Ireland 2016 Global and Diaspora Programme include:

* A three week festival of Irish arts and culture at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington;

* A concert showcasing Ireland’s contribution to classical music at Wigmore Hall in London next April;

* A series of performances of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars during the annual St Patrick’s Day Festival in Sydney;

* A month-long Beckett Festival in Paris next March involving 16 Irish artists or artistic groups;

* Irish Film Institute screenings of films related to the events of 1916 in New York and London;

* A new operatic version of James Joyce’s The Dead which will tour festivals in Canada.

The programme also has some left of field entries, with Macnas performing at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.

Mr Flanagan said the programme of events was aimed at encouraging “reflection on the international dimension of the Rising”.

He said: “Many of the leaders of 1916 spent time in the United States and in other countries – experiences that shaped their thoughts and actions.

“We should remember that what happened in Ireland a century ago echoed around the world and became a reference point for other countries seeking independence.”

At the launch, Ms Humphreys said the arts would be used “as a unifying force that brings people together at home and abroad”.

She said they best of Irish arts would be brought to the world’s greatest cities.

The minister said it was “vitally important” that the diaspora be included in the 2016 celebrations. There needed to be a recognition of their contribution to Ireland over the past 100 years, she said.

Junior Minister Aodhan O Riordain said the recent marriage equality referendum had demonstrated “just how connected our young diaspora was to life here at home”.

“I want to make sure we capture their imagination next year, as part of the Ireland 2016 commemorations. What better way to engage young people than through the arts,” he said.

The international events will run alongside over 40 major events in Ireland, with the centrepiece being a wreath laying ceremony and parade in Dublin city centre.

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