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19/10/2021

Dial 777 for return of Laois arts with brand new countywide festival

re: CENTRING invites all to explore the arts in 7 towns by 7 artists, 7 months

Dial 777 for return of Laois arts with brand new countywide festival

Launching re: CENTRING at the Dunamaise Arts Centre. Picture: Alf Harvey

Celebrating a return for audiences to the arts in seven towns across Laois, Dunamaise Arts Centre is proud to present a major new project entitled re: CENTRING.

It’s a combination of free, live events between now and April 2022, led by artists and curators with origins in and strong connections to the county.

The arts centre says re: CENTRING, which is funded by the Arts Council Initiative In the Open / Faoin Spéir, takes place in collaboration with Laois County Council Arts Office and Music Generation Laois.

The first event will be headlined by singer-songwriter Jack L on Sunday, September 26 in Stradbally. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

CENTRING Laois will bring 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.

Kickstarting the project on Sunday 26 September, Jack L performs in the Malt House in Stradbally together with a special and exclusive musical collective of musicians. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Pictured: Dale McKay on percussion

This special concert featuring Athy-born, Laois-based singer Jack L, who has performed all over the world including The Albert Hall, features guest performances by a host of musicians.

The CENTRING Ensemble will include Siobhan Buckley (Harp), Tim Doyle (Pipes, Violin), Roisín Donohoe (Viola), Dale McKay (Percussion), Denise Boyle (Fiddle) and Martin Tourish (Accordion).

The concert, which takes place at 8pm on Sunday 26 September is free with priority given to Stradbally residents, however, seats must be booked in advance.

Also in Stradbally on 26 September, a range of free outdoor events will take place across the town throughout the day from 12pm – 6pm, with no advance booking requirements, guided by safe distancing outdoors. Members of the community can stroll through Stradbally and enjoy all that they encounter.

The Market Square will be a hive of activity with the Laois Arthouse Collective exhibiting a selection of art works, ceramics and sculptures with a live performance art event also taking place, coordinated by Ballyfin based artist, Kevin Mc Cann. The public can engage with artists to discuss their processes, as they create paintings live on site! MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Pictured: Roisin Donohoe on viola

The Bandwagon will visit the Green at Courthouse Square, with an afternoon of live music and workshops, including Laois band Paper Planes and Portlaoise Singer-Songwriter James O’Connor.

The Bandwagon, which first appeared at Electric Picnic, is a mobile performance stage, presented by Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music.

From 12 noon entertaining puppet shows for all the family will colour and energise the garden of Laois Arthouse while the Arthouse Gallery will be open throughout the day for visitors to enjoy ‘Moving On’ - an exhibition of ceramics by artist Monica O’Meara.

“Moving On’ explores our responses to both time and nature in the rapidly changing times we presently find ourselves,” she said.

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.

It is hoped that the initiative will generate 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. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Pictured: Siobhan Buckley on harp

Michelle de Forge, Director of Dunamaise Arts Centre, is excited by what’s in store.

“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 outdoor public places across seven towns - Stradbally, Abbeyleix, Rathdowney, Portarlington, Mountrath, Mountmellick and Portlaoise.

“We extend a warm invitation to all the community in each town to come and safely enjoy arts events again.

“We’re also delighted that the project will bring employment to the artists, curators, event and production managers involved, over the coming months,” she said.

For further details and to book tickets for the evening concert, see dunamaise.ie 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.

Pictured below at the launch were: Musicians Derek Cronin, piano and music arranger; Tim Doyle, uilleann pipes and fiddle; Jack Lukeman, Dale McKay, percussion; Roisin Donohoe, viola; Siobhan Buckley, harp and Martin Tourish, piano accordion with Muireann Ni Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer; Caroline Wynne, Artscope; Michelle de Forge, Dunamaise Arts Centre and Rosa Bray, Music Generation Laois Picture: Alf Harvey

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