06 Jul 2022

Culture Night marks the return of 'live shows' at the Dunamaise

Enjoy every moment in an audience

portlaoise laois cultur

Dunamaise Arts Centre Portlaoise is one of the venues for Culture Night

The team at the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise is delighted to fling open its doors with audiences now welcome to experience events live and in person.

There is lots happening at Dunamaise including, the sixteenth edition of Culture Night which takes places this Friday 17 September. All are invited to attend this free day and night of Arts and Culture in Laois, with events at Dunamaise including a film premiere, live music with world renowned artists, interview with award-winning artist and more events across the county.

For the majority of 18 months, Dunamaise Arts Centre’s curtains have been closed with the theatre dark, as opposed to the colourful extravaganza of events that is usually brought to life by its artists and creators, and, the spectators who enjoy them.

Now the Dunamaise team say it’s time to recover and enjoy every moment of sitting in an audience for a music, theatre, dance or cinema event, visiting the gallery and getting stuck into a workshop or enjoying some lunch and a specially brewed beverage at Caffe Latte.

Dunamaise Arts Centre is now fully open and all are invited to enjoy all it has to offer.

The first event of the Culture Night programme at Dunamaise is a streamed conversation between Artist Ella de Búrca with Gallerist Kevin Kavanagh from 12pm which will be streamed on Dunamaise Arts Centre’s YouTube and Vimeo channels. Ella de Búrca, recipient of the Platform 31 bursary, discusses what the bursary meant for her, and how she's been adjusting to life post-pandemic, situating her art practice within her locality of Clough, learning patience and tenacity as she draws inspiration from her environs and neighbours, following her move from the transient cosmopolitan Brussels, where she was previously located. Filmed on the Dunamaise stage, Ella will lead us on a short journey through her practice to date and how it has transformed and grown since relocating to Laois.

The internationally renowned artist, Ella has exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent shows at The Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery, Dublin, The Room Gallery at University of California, Irvine, California, the Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany, The Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2017 (group show); and Temple Bar Galleries & Studios, Dublin to name but a few.

Spectators are also invited to Come Together Again within the auditorium of Dunamaise Arts Centre for a not-to-be-missed event where they will be treated to the Laois Premiere of award-winning short film BARDO at 9pm, before relaxing into a wonderful night of musical entertainment by the fabulous Tara Breen & Pádraig Rynne with Jim Murray and Dónal Lunny at 9.10pm.

The Laois Screening of BARDO a film by Laois native Aisling Conroy - winner of ‘Best Debut Animation Short’) is a Frameworks project funded by Screen Ireland and RTÉ. The film is an original cinematic hand drawn animated short that follows a woman as she questions her lifestyle choices as the travails of urban living are one day jolted into juxtaposition with nature and a simpler way of life. The film casts renowned actors Olwen Fouéré and Clare Barrett and the score was composed by Shane Holly with arrangements and music performed by Ros O’ Meara (Laois native) and Cormac MacDiarmada with Sound Design by Michelle Fingleton (Laois native).

At 9:10pm, The Headline Agency presents Tara Breen & Pádraig Rynne with Jim Murray and Dónal Lunny (Nasc). Embark on an odyssey of wonder, joyfulness and upbeat music as four incredibly talented and creative folk musicians shape melodies from past and present into something dynamic and irresistible. This is a quartet comprising of musicians at the fore of our tradition so expect a performance from the gentle to the rhythmical and all the in-betweens!

Dunamaise Director, Michelle de Forge is looking forward to welcoming audiences back.

"It’s a very special time to be able to welcome audiences through our doors and open the red curtains on our stage again. We really are thrilled to be able to invite our audiences to enjoy live arts again. We’ve battled through the pandemic with Zoom meetings galore, virtual events and festivals, podcasts, outdoor exhibitions, collaborations and supporting artists by allowing them to use our building for their projects and so much more.

"Now it’s time to feel the exhilaration of being in an audience or visiting a gallery and enjoying being together again. We’re delighted that Culture Night will provide that platform to Come Together Again and the day is sure to lift the roof and the spirits of arts fans who have been missing live performances so much over recent months,” she said.

Culture Night 2021 brought to you by the Arts Council; it is a national moment, celebrating all that makes up the richness and diversity of culture in Ireland today, connecting people to cultural activities locally and nationally and aims to open up pathways to ongoing engagement.

Other events

In the Gallery at Dunamaise, Collective Thoughts, an exhibition of work by the Laois Arthouse Collective. To mark their final day, join them on Saturday 18th for live painting, available to spectate in the gallery from 2-5pm with an opportunity to view the wonderful work that adorn the gallery walls and meet the artists who created them. The show documents each artist's individual perspective which has arisen from living through a global pandemic, painting a picture of the broader interconnected experience that we have been facing as a whole – “our collective thoughts". The Exhibiting artists include: Aisling Brennan, Catherine Brennan, Rebecca Deegan, Jen Donnery, Aileen Donovan, Angelina Foster, Kate Knowles, Mary Slevin, Kevin McCann, Monica O’Meara, Mike Rafter. Curators: Rebecca Deegan and Catherine Brennan.

Leave a Light On is a collaborative project funded by Healthy Ireland Laois and commissioned by Dunamaise Art Centre, in conjunction with Laois Connects.

The aim of the project is to foster a sense of positive mental health in our community and will be taking place throughout the month of October in Laois. Leave a Light On will be lighting up the darkness of the autumn evenings, by exhibiting a gallery of unique window displays. Many local businesses in Portlaoise have offered the use of their public facing windows to facilitate an artwork.

Artists are being commissioned to create window designs and local secondary school art students will also take part.
Artists can apply to be part of the project to create and submit a design to hang in windows of Portlaoise town centre through<http://www.du> . Dunamaise Arts Centre would like to acknowledge the funding received from ‘The Healthy Ireland Fund, supported by the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Affairs’, an initiative of the Government of Ireland, administered by Laois County Council, LCDC and Healthy Ireland Laois, as well as the Arts Council.

More wonderful events are being added to the arts centre’s programme so check out or the arts centre’s social pages or call the Box Office, Tel: 057 88663355 to keep updated. (Events take place in adherence with Government Guidelines which can also be checked via the website.)

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