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01 Jul 2022

Fiesta of Laois arts makes final stop by re:Centring on Portlaoise

Fiesta of Laois arts makes final stop by re:Centring on Portlaoise

Performers in Abbeyleix when re:Centring stopped off in Abbeyleix. Pic: Alf Harvey

Celebrating the return of audiences to the arts, Dunamaise Arts Centre is proud to present the finale of re:CENTRING Laois, funded by the Arts Council’s Faoin Spéir/In the Open initiative in collaboration with Music Generation Laois and Laois County Council, on Sunday 29 May.

Taking place between 2 and 5pm, Fitzmaurice Place, Portlaoise will be transformed into a haven for the arts that will feature an extravaganza of FREE entertaining activities and performances for all to enjoy.

 The Bandwagon House Band, fronted by well-known Laois Singers James O’Connor and Nuala Kelly, will kick off the afternoon’s entertainment! The Bandwagon House Band is made up of Ros O’Meara on drums, Denise Boyle on fiddle, Siobhan Buckley on harp, David Harte on bass and Tommy Fitzharris on flute and concertina. These musicians are well-known in music circles in the midlands, and as Musician Educators with Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music.

The Bandwagon, a mobile music venue, first shot to prominence when it appeared in Trailer Park in Electric Picnic in 2019, to festival-goers delight. Since then, the musician collective known as The Bandwagon House Band have performed at events all over County Laois.

 The programme on the day will include music workshops in ukulele led by professional musicians from Music Generation Laois – all instruments provided and a drumming circle, led by world percussionist Eddie O’Neill. These workshops are open to ages 7 upwards, adults are also welcome.

A very special performance by Dublin-based Afro-Brazilian Dance group, Criola Dance, will be a highlight of the day. Criola Dance is the expression of afro-Brazilian culture through music and dance, celebrating the joy, spirit and resilience of an underrepresented community. Criola Dance has performed at All Together Now, Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, Culture night, Five Lamps Festival and more, and their energetic performances include opportunities for all ages to get involved, and is simply not to be missed.

Sásta, a trad three-piece made up of Ruaidhrí Tierney (box), Dale McKay (bodhrán, guitar) and David Harte (double bass) will also perform as part of this family-friendly event. Sásta are a new Portlaoise band, who have received great public response since they starting performing together in 2021.

Maria Corcoran and guests will encourage audience members of all ages to try out various circus skills throughout the afternoon and families can also enjoy a fun-filled performance by Circo Corcano!

 Artworks created throughout the re:CENTRING Laois programme will be on display and attendees of all ages can try their hand at Pavement Chalk Art and Paint a Plant Pot fun!  

re:CENTRING Laois has brought a range of free arts events across seven months, to open spaces and venues in seven towns across Laois including Stradbally, Abbeyleix, Rathdowney, Portarlington, Mountrath, Mountmellick and Portlaoise. Curated by artists who are leaders in their field of expertise, programmes in each town featured a colorful mix of music, theatre, visual art, dance, poetry and film for all to enjoy. The artists curating the events and related workshops included 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, as well as emerging young curators from Laois, Pauline Dunne, Alannah Murray and Ruaidhrí Tierney.

Although Covid 19 and yellow weather warnings tried to spoil some of the plans, postponements and alternative arrangements for workshops and events were put in place where possible, to continue to bring artists and audiences together despite the many challenges. 

re:CENTRING Laois has reignited and also created many new connections with artists, community groups, town organisers and audiences over the past year. The organisers are very grateful for the welcome received in each town and the enthusiastic response from participants.

Music Generation, the Arts Office and Dunamaise each programme year-round shows, classes and events in Dunamaise Arts Centre and Laois Music Centre in Portlaoise; The Arthouse Stradbally, as well as their wide-ranging outreach programmes across schools and community spaces across the County. If you are part of a community group or an artist interested in connecting for a creative project (in any artform!) contact Michelle@dunamaise.ie or on 057 8663355 to explore what can be done together with support from Dunamaise – your County Arts Centre! 

re:CENTRING Laois 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.

For a full schedule of events and times see www.dunamaise.ie

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