Sunday 19 May 2019

Robert Plant and new play from Druid feature in Galway International Arts Festival line-up

Kneehigh Theatre's Tristan & Yseult playing as part of the 40th Galway International Arts Festival. Photo: Steve Tanner
Kneehigh Theatre's Tristan & Yseult playing as part of the 40th Galway International Arts Festival. Photo: Steve Tanner

Rachel Dugan

A new play from Druid, the world premiere of an opera about JFK’s sister Rosemary, and a concert by rock legend Robert Plant in a church are just some of the highlights of this year’s Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) line-up.

GIAF 2018 attracted a record 250,000 people, and for the 42nd festival, which runs from July 15 to 28, the City of the Tribes will play host to 600 different artists from across the world and boasts a diverse programme of homegrown and international theatre productions, dance, street spectacles, visual arts, talks and discussions, as well as a strong music line-up.

The line-up was unveiled earlier today.

New works at this year’s festival include Waiting Room, an immersive theatre installation by Enda Walsh, and Irish National Opera’s Least Like the Other; Searching for Rosemary Kennedy, which traces the troubled life of JFK’s sister.

Druid Theatre will also premiere their production of Epiphany, a new play by the Brooklyn writer Brian Watkins.

Following their GIAF debut in 2017 with Tristan & Yseult, Cornish theatre company Kneehigh are back with Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) based on John Gay’s The Beggar's Opera.

A new addition for 2019 is the Festival Gallery, a space located in the centre of Galway city which will this year will house a major exhibition from Australian artist Sam Jinks about our fascination with the human body titled In The Flesh.

An expanded First Thought Talks for 2019, which offers a series of interviews, conversations and debates, will this year focus on the issue of ‘The Border”. Highlights include former President Mary Robinson talking about climate change and sports pundit Joe Brolly on the issue of GAA and the Irish border.

On the music side, GIAF 2019 will host concerts from a diverse range of artists in the festival big top, including Irish indie-folk band The Villagers and Canadian singer John Grant, the legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach, and US soul singer Macy Gray. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant will also play an intimate concert in St Nicholas’ Church with his new project, Saving Grace.

"Whether you are interested in operas, orchestral work, new plays, music icons, contemporary art, a good discussion or street spectacle we are really looking forward to welcoming you to Galway this July for hopefully a very memorable two weeks," Galway Arts Festival CEO John Crumlish said.

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