THE Kilkenny Arts Festival programme was recently launched unveiling an innovative and dynamic schedule of cultural events from Ireland and the world which will illuminate the city between August 10 and 19. In a feast of artistic entertainment, the very best of theatre, music, visual art, literature, craft, children’s and street theatre are all on the bill.
A staple of the cultural calendar, the festival is expected to attract 23,000 people to the city and surrounds from across Ireland and abroad. Whether people are interested in theatre, art, dance, literature, music or all of the above, they will find a mouth watering collection of the very best in home-grown and international acts coming to Kilkenny this summer.
For an unforgettable experience – not to mention a heady mix of slapstick, poetry and passion – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is coming to Ireland for the very first time, bringing its acclaimed open-air production of As You Like It to the Castle Yard at the Kilkenny Design Centre.
In St Canice’s Cathedral, the extraordinary young pianist Polina Leschenko returns with a dazzling quartet including superstar violinist Ilya Gringolts. This year’s Wired has everything from underground indie acts to chart-topping rock stars like Mick Flannery, who’s back with a best-selling new album.
Mick Flannery kick-started his musical career by winning two awards at the US Songwriting Competition in Nashville, a competition judged by one of his musical heroes, Tom Waits. Since then the singer-songwriter has crafted his own distinctive sound, picking up a Meteor Award for Best Irish Male along the way. Red to Blue, his third album, knocked Madonna off the top of the charts earlier this year and looks set to top the platinum-selling White Lies. Two years ago, his soulful, full-throated voice and sly lyrical wit held St Canice’s spellbound, and he’s sure to do the same for the Set.
In the Set, the exuberant Balkan flavours of Ivo Papasov and his Bulgarian Wedding Band will have visitors dancing the night away, and dynamic young trio Fidil joins forces with the extraordinary kora player Solo Cissokho for a night that throws away the rule book on traditional music.
In this year of anniversaries, literature strikes a reflective note with award-winning journalist and historian Misha Glenny, who marks the twentieth anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo, while two special discussions explore the ill-fated 1912 Home Rule bill, and the War of Independence in Kilkenny.
Children won’t miss out. Let the McBride family welcome them into their traditional circus tent at Circo Islu, a magical and hilarious live show with clowns, live music and beautiful hand-carved puppets. There are workshops galore on everything from dance to writing stories.
In the area of visual arts Kilkenny Arts Festival is showing ‘At The Still Point’, a wonderful exhibition showcasing the work of leading Irish women video artists and the Butler Gallery presents a selection of video works by Hans Op de Beeck. Utensil, is an exhibition featuring no less than 23 craftmakers inspired by the humble kitchen not to be missed. For the full programme of events visit www.kilkennyarts.ie.