Outstanding Theatre Offerings at Clonmel Junction Arts Festival
The Theatre strand in the 2021 Clonmel Junction Arts Festival starts this year with a Performing Irish Symposium, hosted by Paul Halferty, who notes that “perhaps more than any other artform, theatrical performance in Ireland has been the medium through which questions of Irish identity have been asked, tested, and tried. From the Celtic Revival and the founding of The Abbey to the present day, theatre in Ireland has played an important role in imagining who we are, our concerns, and representing ourselves to ourselves, here and beyond these shores. In an age when the diversity of people on this island is increasing, when conceptions of identity are proliferating and pluralising.”
The panel is made up of Fishamble’s Artistic Director, Jim Culleton, Dublin Dance Festival’s incoming Artistic Director, Jazmin Chiodi and playwright, Rosaleen MacDonagh as well as Tipperary Dance Platform’s Alexandre Iseli and the co-founder and Artistic Director of Rather Gather inclusive arts collective, Romi.
An online discussion panel which invites questions from the audience, it will set the tone for the theatre element of the festival, which was founded 20 years ago as a celebration of touring theatre.
Fishamble The New Play Company return to Clonmel with Pat Kinevane’s stunning one-man show, the award-winning Before on Sunday, July 4th. A new play with music, it’s set in Clery’s of Dublin, on the very day this iconic department store shuts for good. Pontius is inside, trying to choose a gift for his estranged daughter, whom he hasn’t seen for almost 20 years. He will meet her in an hour.
Dan Colley and Fionnuala Gygax bring their Dublin Fringe Festival hit Twenty Fifty to Clonmel with local Evan Hickey as the guest on July 5th. This is an interactive theatre piece delivered via Zoom that reaches you wherever your WIFI is. The spontaneous improvised game creates an experiment in live theatre for the next normal.
As part of their commitment to providing a platform for regional arts careers, The Dome will host The Estate, a new play by Amy Hill and James Whelan, a fresh new Irish comedy based on the lives of 6 couples living on an estate. Festival favourite, Eve O’Mahony, returns with The Deliciously Scandalous Life and Times of Miss Peg Plunkett, on July 8th, a one-woman show based on the memoirs of Margaret Leeson, an old and repentant madam, seeking absolution, reflects on her life and loves and how it all came to pass.
Emerging from an international, intergenerational collaboration between The Junction Joes (graduates of the festival’s 2014 Trainee Programme), David Teevan, and contemporary Australian theatre company one step at a time like this, People first premiered at the Clonmel Junction Festival in 2014. People is an audio play that takes you on a walk into the heart of Clonmel where your own memories of the town merge with the poetry and the soundtrack in this moving and thought-provoking piece.
Another audio installation is one of two pieces in the 2021 festival with director Jack Reardon. Overlook: A Kickham Barracks Story is a sound installation charting the life of Kickham Barracks from handover in 1922 to closure in 2012.
Kickham Barracks was once the beating heart of Clonmel, respected and revered as one of Ireland’s best training facilities for the Defence Forces. Now on the cusp of its redevelopment, Up Til Dawn Productions in conjunction with Clonmel Junction Arts Festival create an installation piece commemorating the life of Kickham Barracks.
Collins Hall brings an iconic Clonmel venue and the music played there back to life. A music and theatre show written and directed by Jack Reardon with saxophonist James O’Donovan arranging iconic Mick Delahunty big band tunes for a jazz quintet. Actors Eanna Grogan and Meadhbh Maxwell recreate a night in the Collins Hall Dancehall, Clonmel in 1958 where American Patrol is playing and love is in the air.
The text incorporates letters sent to Tipperary Museum of Hidden History following their successful reissue of a 1948 recording by Ireland’s most successful jazz big band, Clonmel’s Mick Del Orchestra.
For over 20 years, Clonmel Junction Arts Festival has been bringing audiences together to explore, create, celebrate, and share a collective experience of the Arts. From July 3rd to July 11th audiences both at home and abroad, young and old, can dip in and out of the incredible programme. Check it out on junctionfestival.com