Get out and enjoy art in 2018
'One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words,' advised the great German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It's a good starting point for a New Year's resolution with a difference.
New Year resolutions can feel daunting as they're often all about the sort of self improvement that involves sacrifice. Giving up tasty calories or spending hours declining foreign verbs is no one's idea of fun. So what about a New Year resolution that is enjoyable, helps you broaden your horizons and allows you to have a good time as well? As regular readers of these pages will know, the arts scene in Dundalk is thriving at the moment, so what not make it your New Year resolution to get out there and support it? Go see a play, a concert, a gig. Visit an art exhibition or sign up for a class which will help you develop your own creativity.
There's lots to choose from in An Tain Arts Centre programme for the coming months, so the only difficulty is decided what events to go to - or you could, of course, go to them all!
And to make it easier on your pocket, An Tain is now offering packages, offering discounts if you buy tickets for two events at the same time.
Highlights of the music programme for the coming season include Dundalk's own Zoe Conway (currently touring China with the RTE Concert Orchestra) in ZoDoMo with Donal Lunny and Maritin O'Connor, The Irish Guitar Quartet, and 8strings2abow featuring Elizabeth Cooney and Gerard Peregrine.
There's a strong theatrical offering with Encore Theatre bringing their ambitious production of The Tempest to the big stage while '100 More Like These: The Story of the San Patricio' featuring Irish actor Stephen Jones recalls the story of the Irish soldiers who fought with the Mexicans against the Americans in the 1846-48 War. An Tain's theatre company is residence, Quintessence are staging their new play 'Some of Our Children' which looks at the Irish care system. Kabosh Theatre return with 'Lives in Translation', tracing the journey of a female Somalian refugee, The Nth Degree Theatre bring their exploration of domestic abuse in 'The Words are There', while Michael Judd brings Micheal MacLiammoir's 'The Importance of Being Oscar' to the Studio Theatre
There's plenty of comedy too with 'The Six Marys' by Jean Farrell, Jon Kenny and Mary McEvoy in 'The Successful TD' by John B Keane, while Paddy Cullivan of Callan's Kicks presents 'The 10 Dark Secrets of the Irish Revolution'. The Dirtbirds are back on April 6th after two previous sold out shows.
The film society has some tempting screenings including Jim Sheridan's adaptation of Sebastian Barry's award winning novel 'The Secret Scripture', 'Lost in Paris' and 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool', as well as a baby friendly screening of La La Land.
Forthcoming exhibitions in The Basement Gallery include paintings by Dundalk-based artist Mark Bourke, a mixed media show by Lisa Fingleton, and Dundalk Photographic Society's annual exhibition.
Comedy and tribute acts remain very popular at The Spirit Store with some 2018 gigs already sold out. However, tickets remain for Jason Byrne, David O'Doherty, Chris Kent, Neil Delamar and David McSavage, while those who like to see musicians performing their own original music should check out gigs by The Pale, Wyverno Lingo, Mick Flannery, Luka Bloom and The Outcasts among others.
The Oriel Centre in Dundalk's Old Gaol has gigs by story teller Eddie Lenihan and Charlie McGettigan in early Spring.
If you fancy developing your own creative talents, sign up for a class or course at Creative Spark, Bridge Street Studios, and The Crafty Rock, while aspiring writers should check out Dundalk Writers Group, which meets in The Spirit Store. There are also Social Dancing classes in An Tain Arts Centre which might help in that other great New Year resolution of getting fit and active!