Monday 18 December 2017

The pleasure list: Hitting all the right notes at theatre festival

Taking centre stage: Claudia Boyle takes a leading role in Enda Walsh's opera, The Last Hotel at Dublin Theatre Festival
Taking centre stage: Claudia Boyle takes a leading role in Enda Walsh's opera, The Last Hotel at Dublin Theatre Festival
White Leaf scarf
Tramore racing

This year, the Dublin Theatre Festival takes place from September 24 to October 11 at venues around the city, and is, as ever, a wonderful combination of exciting, new, daring and challenging work, an opportunity to see how theatre has changed, grown and evolved.

This year's line-up includes new work from Rough Magic, an interpretation of Chekov's The Cherry Orchard by Belgian theatre group tg Stan, a new production of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa by Belfast's Lyric Theatre, and The National Theatre Of Great Britain's spectacular performance of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. Among the most hotly-anticipated shows is Enda Walsh and Donnacha Dennehy's new work, The Last Hotel, an opera about life, death, duty and guilt. Soprano Claudia Boyle takes one of the lead parts, along with Katherine Manley and renowned Irish actor Mikel Murfi, with music performed by the 12-piece Crash Ensemble, conducted by Alan Pierson. The opera will premier at Edinburgh this summer, and will undoubtedly have built up a head of steam by the time it comes to the Theatre festival. Book now we say.

Keeping summer alive with colour and print

It may not have been the best summer (ok, let’s admit, it was really very disappointing), but that is no reason to wish it away too soon. There is every chance for a lovely September (and some of us haven’t given up hope of August yet) and the good news is that, unlike with sunnier summers, we haven’t yet reached summer wardrobe fatigue, that feeling that our lighter clothes are worn out and ready to retire. So, hang in there, we say. Keep a dash of colour going, even if it’s only a scarf, something like these pretty printed numbers by White Leaf, available at Arboretum. Equally, once autumn dressing does begin to take off, we may all have to get to grips with print — the big story on the runways this year, but possibly something to ease into gradually rather than jumping for a head-to-toe look. With that in mind, the bird on branch scarf is a winner – delicate, but definite. Priced €14.99.

Under starter’s orders ... craic, ceol, fillies and fashion at races 

Weather included, it seems nothing can dampen the country’s enthusiasm for horse racing, with meets and festivals taking place across the island. From August 13 to 16, it is the turn of Waterford and the Tramore Racing Festival, a fun-filled four days in which music, face-painting, fashion and family fun are just as important as the horses. This year’s festival marks 103 years of racing at Tramore, and recently has been attracting crowds of 20,000 from across Ireland and abroad. Opening with a ‘Hurlers & Horses’ evening meeting, with the county’s hurling heroes, their management team and families in attendance, and including a Best Dressed competition judged by stylist Cathy O’Connor, the festival provides an opportunity for racing enthusiasts from all over Ireland to meet in the stunning seaside setting and attempt to pick winners from among what are likely to be keenly contested races.

Rooms with a view into our souls

The way we live is more and more a matter of interest — that juxtaposition of physical space with more abstract ideas of society and self, and how this all combines to affect happiness and health. There is no science to it, yet, but the physical aspect, the impact of our material surroundings, is increasingly understood to be something vital, and so now seems a good time for Nine Lives, an exhibition presenting the work of nine emerging Irish architectural practices, all gaining strong reputations for themselves at home and abroad, run by the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny, until September 27. Curated by Emmett Scanlon, Nine Lives runs as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival. The exhibition invites visitors to look inside the rooms of nine buildings built here between 2009 and 2015, and to observe and enjoy the everyday life found inside. The rooms were designed by AP+E, A2, Clancy Moore, GKMP, Hall McKnight, Ryan Kennihan, Steve Larkin, TAKA, and Urban Agency, and are displayed on striking blue and bright pink shutter-boxes.

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