THE Bealtine festival is taking place throughout the country for the month of May with many events taking place in Laois. This festival celebrates creativity in older age and is Ireland’s largest collaborative Arts festival. Running from May 1 to May 31 and co-ordinated by Age and Opportunity, the festival collaborates with local, regional and national organisations to produce inspiring and innovative opportunities for older people to engage and participate in a whole range of arts events and experiences.
As part of the festivities, Cois Ceim Dance Theatre will present ‘Deep End Dance’ film and ‘Swimming with my Mother’ - a stage duet about a mother/son relationship at Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise on Friday May. For more on this production see Stage Left.
Carnation Theatre Company and Laois ICA Choir will be entertaining for the month in local hospitals and day care centres. A Bernard Canavan art exhibition will be taking place in Áras an Chontae and as well as this there will be creative writing workshops with Active Age Groups and with writer in residence Ann Egan. For more details contact 057 86 74342.
On Sunday May 29 the local Church and secondary school choir will sing together with the historical rock of Dunamaise in the background. The choirs will begin to sing at 7am and will be followed by a talk on creative writing by Sheila Coyle. Mountmellick Active Retirement Association will host an afternoon tea dance in the Macra na Feirme Hall, Mountmellick on Monday May 30 from 2pm to 4.30pm. For more details contact Orla O’Byrne at 057 86 97256.
Bealtaine 2010 saw over 2500 events with an estimated 101,000 participants from 26 counties made with 513 partners (an increase of 137 on the previous year), making this one of Ireland’s biggest arts festivals. And while there’s currently nothing quite like Bealtaine anywhere else in the world, other countries are following Ireland’s lead and creating festivals based on the model of celebration and participation. For more information on the festival visit www.bealtaine.ie.