Kinsale Arts Weekend, which starts today and runs until 10th July, will see the festival weekend return with a line-up that will surprise and delight all ages and interests. Headline acts include Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, renowned jazz and blues singer Mary Coughlan and author and immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill.
This year, a key aim was to broaden the programme to a younger and more diverse audience. Rather than the traditional approach of separate youth and adult programmes, the festival has taken a more inclusive approach with specific performances that have a broad interest and appeal to arts enthusiasts of all ages. On Saturday, Kinsale’s historic bowling green will be transformed into an outdoor theatre for “Cú Chulainn the brave” by Scéalta Productions. Audiences will join Ireland’s hero, Cú Chulainn, as he is called to protect the warriors of Ulster. On the journey he will be met by other characters, some enchanting and magical and some downright ridiculous, as he moves from ordinary boy to extraordinary mythical warrior, in this modern, hilarious retelling of this most famous tale.
The visual art programme has been curated in a similar way to capture the imagination of broad audiences. Art will move to unique spaces such as around The Glen area of Kinsale, as it is transformed into an arts quarter. Muralist Shane O’Driscoll will, literally, bring arts to the streets with a spectacular street art installation. Other visual arts highlights include a live painting showcase by Tony O’Connor and new exhibitions by local artists Kit French, Eimear Fitzgerald, Michael Hegarty and Sarah O’Brien. The popular arts trail returns this year with almost 40 businesses transforming their windows into exhibition spaces to explore. World renowned designer Joseph Walsh will open his studio in nearby Riverstick for a unique glimpse into his workshop, studio and gallery.
The students of Kinsale Community School have been working closely with the festival committee this year. The collaboration includes an art exhibition at the school, an arts podcast, and the winning poster design for Kinsale Arts Weekend also came from a Community School student. This serves to nurture an interest in the arts, and also provides a platform for young artists, who will be the headliners in future years.
The theme of audience and artform diversity continues throughout the programme. M(h)aol– describing themselves as “an intersectional feminist post-punk band”, released their debut EP this year to critical acclaim, and takes a sharp look at gender and its influences on our public, private and personal lives. In OHK cafe, DJ and writer Kate Butler will lead a conversation on women and non-binary people using technology to make music. Kate will also screen Sonic Cyborgs, her short film about the visibility of women working with technology. Also reinforcing the themes of collaboration, openness and connection, is Ubuntu (from the Zulu word meaning interconnectedness), a film and dance performance, Mother Tongue (a multi-lingual craft project) and a photographic exhibition from newly arrived visitors from Ukraine.
Kinsale Arts Weekend allows interaction with art, with audiences given opportunities to be participant or observer. Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Paul Muldoon will conduct a workshop with ten lucky emergent poets helping them to hone and perfect their poetic skills. Workshop participants were selected following an open competition for unpublished poets. Audiences will be treated to a fascinating insight into the creative process following a reading by these poets of their latest work and a discussion hosted by local poet Daniel Galvin. For beginners, Matthew Geden, Writer in Residence for Cork County Library and Arts Service, will facilitate a fun poetry writing workshop. The poetry programme will also include a collaboration between multi award winning poet, Afric McGlinchey and musician Peter O’Toole in a lively reflective session of songs and stories.
Kinsale Arts Weekend provides a stage for big names and new-comers to perform in one of most picturesque locations in Ireland. Taking art from its traditional locations, Kinsale Arts Weekend brings art to the streets, the pubs, the park, the shop, the café and in doing so makes it accessible to new audiences. St Catherine’s Church which has been recently restored by its trustees, will provide a stand out location for the conversation with Professor Luke O’Neill as well as the poetry reading by Paul Muldoon. Wandering around this seaside town is always a treat for the senses but this July you will have the added bonus of encountering art in unique spaces thanks to wonderful collaborations between business and arts communities.
Speaking about the upcoming Kinsale Arts Weekend, Chairperson Anna Mulcahy says, “Art brings people together, sharing ideas, sharing experiences, and sharing joy. Following two years of being apart we are delighted to be bringing back a programme that is bigger and better than anything we have delivered before. Whether you are a fan of visual arts, theatre, poetry, song, dance, literature, photography, comedy or the spoken word, there will be something for you. Our focus on making our whole town a stage, means that you will find art in churches, on walls and in windows, breathing life into spaces that may have been previously unseen. Kinsale is a thriving town because of our welcome and openness. This festival mirrors that with local, national and international acts, many of whom call Kinsale home, or home for now.”
Many events are free, and ticketed event prices range from €5 to €40. Full programme and tickets available at www.kinsaleartsweekend.com, and follow festival news and behind the scene insights on Instagram and Facebook.