02 Oct 2022

Arts extravaganza is re: CENTRING in Portarlington this Christmas season!

The Arts are re: CENTRING in Portarlington! 

Extravaganza of festivities which will culminate in a Fire Circus Show

The Dunamaise Arts Centre is inviting the people of Portarlington to explore and enjoy the arts on Sunday 12 December as there: CENTRING Laois programme parks up in the town for an extravaganza of festivities which will culminate in a Fire Circus Showin Market Square!

Re: CENTRING Portarlington follows the successful launch of re: CENTRING Laois in Stradbally in September, with another exciting day of free, live events, led by Street Theatre performer Maria Corcoran.  

Celebrating a return for audiences to the arts in seven towns across Laois, Dunamaise Arts Centre is presenting this major new project which features a combination of free, live events until April 2022, led by artists and curators with origins in and strong connections to the county. Funded by the Arts Council Initiative In the Open / Faoin Spéir, in collaboration with Laois County Council Arts Office and Music Generation Laois, a range of street theatre performances, world music, art exhibitions and workshops will enliven Market Square in the town centre from 12pm on Sunday 12 December. 

The newly formed Port Art Collective, alongside Dunamaise Arts Centre, are planning a brilliant, brand-new, weekend-long Arts Festival, and Curator Maria Corcoran has programmed lots of free, fun, outdoor events for all the family throughout Sunday. 

Art installations by Ella de Burca will be on display around the Square and Rebecca Deegan will display her paintings as well as a live painting performance in the Parochial Hall throughout the day. A selection of large-scale images from the Press Photographers Association of Ireland award winners will also grace the Town Centre. These striking shots of sports, politics, the arts and Irish life over the past year are gathered from stories captured by photo journalists all over Ireland.  

Look out for stilt walkers, unicyclists and Cosplay characters including Masonicspoon, George McIntyre, Sasha McFloof, Chris "Lexi" Ward and Aid Kit Cosplay from CelticCon - Midland Comic Convention – all on their entertaining walkabouts throughout the afternoon and enjoy a fun family Circus Street Show from juggler extraordinaire Stephen McGinley at 3pm.


Music Generation Laois Bandwagon will roll into town and present an afternoon of live music including guest performances by a host of singers and musicians. Trombone, trumpet, flute and saxophone players from the senior band of the Portarlington Concert Band will also feature. The Bandwagon, who’s first outings were at Electric Picnic, is a mobile performance stage, presented by Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music. The re:CENTRING Ensemble has been founded for this county wide tour and includes Siobhan Buckley (Harp), Tim Doyle (Pipes, Violin), Roisín Donohoe (Viola), Dale McKay (Percussion), Denise Boyle (Fiddle) and Martin Tourish (Accordion).

Some of these brilliant musicians will add live percussion music and magic to a very specially created Fire Circus Show to be performed by Maria Corcoran and the Fireflies after dark. This dramatic display will light up the Market Square with relentless skill, dynamic choreography and prop manipulation. This show will be repeated from 4.30 to 6pm to allow for restricted audience capacity each time and better views of the show.    

Artist Caroline Conway has worked with children from St. Patricks BNS, Presentation Primary School and Sandy Lane Primary School over recent weeks to create Children’s Luminaries, an animated looped film that will be premiered as the days’ finale event. Projected onto the Market House building, this animation uses drawings and narration by local schoolchildren telling stories about the town and surrounding areas. The community are invited to enjoy this newly commissioned Animation Projection and all of the day’s events, guided by safe distancing outdoors, following steward’s guidance and Covid Guidelines in place at this time, for everyone’s safety and comfort.

In the Open/Faoin Spéir is a special funding scheme developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis to bring a renewed spirit of optimism and confidence in a fulsome return to the arts. The initiative generates a sustained and curated programme of multi-disciplinary, inclusive, arts activities in public or open spaces in towns and communities around Ireland. Dunamaise is one of just sixteen such projects nationwide, awarded funding under this scheme.

The programme in Laois brings a range of free arts events for one day across seven months, to open spaces and venues in seven towns across Laois including Stradbally, Abbeyleix, Rathdowney, Portarlington, Mountrath, Mountmellick and Portlaoise. Curated by seven artists, who are leaders in their field of expertise, programmes in each town will feature a colourful mix of music, theatre, visual art, dance, poetry and film for all to enjoy.

The artists curating the project include musicians Jack L and Siobhan Buckley, dancer Emily Kilkenny Roddy, poet Pat Boran, circus and street theatre artist Maria Corcoran, visual arts curator Kevin Kavanagh and filmmaker Ken Wardrop.

Michelle de Forge, Director of Dunamaise Arts Centre, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to lead this innovative scheme in Laois together with our collaborators on re: CENTRING, Music Generation Laois and Laois County Council Arts Office. We’re excited to present a programme of innovative events for local audiences to enjoy in town centre locations and we extend a warm invitation to all the community to come and safely enjoy arts events again.”  

For further details see and Dunamaise socials. All events will be presented in line with current Government Guidelines and restrictions and capacities will be managed. Please follow instructions from festival stewards to ensure everyone’s health, safety and enjoyment of events on the day.

re: CENTRING is a county wide arts initiative developed by Dunamaise Arts Centre, in partnership Music Generation Laois and Laois Arts Office and is funded by the Arts Council Ireland’s In the Open / Faoin Spéir programme and Laois County Council.












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