02 Dec 2021

Carlow Arts Festival's full line-up announced for 40th anniversary celebrations

This will be MEGA!

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Will you be going?

Carlow Arts Festival, the first big cultural event of the Irish summer, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a host of events taking place in Festival HQ at Carlow College, St Patrick’s and VISUAL, as well as at local landmarks from June 4-9.

Visitors can immerse themselves in international and award-winning artistic adventures from Finland, Denmark, Spain, Catalonia, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland including festival premières, spectacular free performances, live music, visual art, family friendly events and virtual reality experiences.

Carlow Arts Festival continue their work to ensure the arts are for everyone with over 80% of the events free to attend alongside a "Pick Your Price" scheme for select events.

Local participation is as strong as ever - SUGARTOWN, this year's Saturday Night Spectacle, is a celebration of Carlow featuring music, dance and stories with a sweet edge (inspired by the old Sugar Factory) all topped off with a fireworks extravaganza.

Made by acclaimed international Director Dina Abu Hamdan, with the people of Carlow. (Sat 8 June at 10pm)

Announcing details of Carlow Arts Festival 2019, Festival Director, Jo Mangan, said: "It's such a whirlwind each year as we pull together the programme, and bring the final pieces of the jigsaw together.

"And here we are in the 40th anniversary year of the festival with a range and depth of programming that I think surpasses all past iterations.

"We had been chasing Sleep for over a year since I saw it at SXSW, and it is fantastic to see the sold-out response to its inclusion.

"It sits alongside a programme that I hope has riches for everyone; from a brand new digital strand featuring a VIrtual Reality programme, to an entirely free music programme made possible by our continued partnership with O’Hara’s Craft Beer.

"We have included work this year that explores the darker underbelly of society such as Crave #2 from Denmark which sees a one on one experience occur with a sex-worker and Our Carnal Hearts which pokes at our online authenticities.

"Outdoor, Street-art and Spectacle as well as Family friendly work continues to be a significant focus for us, and we are particularly proud that 80% of our programme is entirely free and we continue to offer Pick your Price options for most of our ticketed events."

MUSIC: Musical highlights this year include Max Richter's eight hour epic ‘Sleep’ performed in its entirety for the first time in Ireland by The Max Richter Ensemble and soprano Grace Davidson (Fri 7 June), Irish National Opera and a host of Ireland’s rising opera stars will perform a free outdoor performance of opera arias, duets and ensembles (Sun 9 June). Galway Street Club bring their high octane, no holds barred International Bare Chested Busking to the streets of Carlow (Festival HQ, Fairgreen Shopping Centre Sat 8 June).

O’Hara’s Pavilion, sponsored by O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer, at Carlow College St Patrick’s presents a very special Free Music Programme to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the festival featuring a host of Ireland's finest acts including His Father's Voice, Pillow Queens, Elaine Mai, Proper Micro NV, Bitch Falcon, DJ Kormac, Sun Collective, and Cormac Begley & Friends.

DIGITAL / VIRTUAL REALITY - SURGING FORWARD:  Carlow Arts Festival has announced a unique Virtual Reality strand at this year's festival. Camille Donegan of Virtual Reality Ireland has curated a line-up of VR films and interactive experiences featuring the best in homegrown and international talent for the very first Virtual Reality Film Festival (Sat 8 and Sun 9 June), Mural artist Shane Sutton will run a virtual Graffiti Art Workshop and producer, songwriter, singer and performer Chagall, one of the early adaptors and most experienced users of MI.MU technology will perform her sensor activated live music/visual show.

CHALLENGING REFLECTIONS: CRAVE #2 from Denmark is an interactive, provoking, intimate piece of performance art, where the opinions of the audience are challenged by a one on one experience with a sex-worker. From the makers of the international hit showgame The Money comes PIG (Various locations 4 - 9 June) - a large transparent perspex pig and inside a scrolling LED sign that states, ‘This is a community fund. You can contribute to it if you like, and when you’ve agreed how to spend it, you can open me and spend it.’ Following sold out UK and US tours, the award winning Our Carnal Hearts is a thrilling and murky celebration of desire, competition and all the times we screw each other over (Fri 7 June, Visual).

FAMILY FUN: Theatre, Circus, pop-up performances and free Family fun are a big focus of Carlow Arts Festival again this year with a range of eclectic and free family friendly events taking place. Festival HQ and VISUAL are the places to be for the weekend of Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June.

There are more incredible Circus performances than you can shake a stick at, including Finland’s Sisus Sirkis’ with Mosh Split a highly energetic and crazy circus and trapeze show, Stick-Stok (Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland) a trio of talented performers who will make you discover circus in a new way and Sub Rosa, a brand new Irish street show by Ronan Brady and Aisling Ní Cheallaigh, incorporating circus, dance and acrobatics and last but not least Angelique Ross, an award winning relentlessly ferocious circus show delivered through tight wire, trapeze and tomatoes. All shows onsite at our Festival HQ at Carlow College (Sat 8 June and Sun 9 June).

Audiences will be treated to a captivating range of highlights over the weekend, from the award winning Lords Of Strut’s Absolute Legends - a co-production with THISISPOPBABY (Sat 8 June at Visual), The Horsebox Theatre,  a free 5 minute show for all the family in the lavish splendour of a Victorian theatre built into a Horsebox (Fri 7 June, Sat 8 June, Sun 9 June), Itinerània (Spain / Catalonia) bring El Laberint, a large-scale interactive puzzle for all ages (Festival HQ, Sat 8 June and Sun 9 June), Janice de Bróithe and Sinéad Cormack will share a work-in-progress telling of the thrilling story of An Murúch -  a sea creature from Irish legend that has the ability to move between the sea and land using a magical red cap (Sun 9 June, Visual) and off-site SING ME TO THE SEA - is a blissful watery adventure for children with profound disabilities at the Holy Angels Day Care Centre.

The ever-popular outdoor movie night is back, and due to popular demand - bigger, with two movie nights at this year’s festival. This year you chose family classic The Muppet Movie (Fri 7 June). Our Sunday night Mystery Movie will be announced shortly.

VISUAL ARTS: Carlow Arts festival will showcase some of the very best irish and international visual art this year. Sponsored by Hotron, the ARTWORKS 2019 exhibition launches as part of their Carlow Arts Festival on 4 June and will feature selected works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art collection (4 June - 1 September), You Arrre Seeing Things - the first exhibition of artists Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin De Burca’s work in Ireland features a triptych of films (Faz Que Vai / Set To Go (2015), Estás Vendo Coisas / You Are Seeing Things (2016) and Terremoto Santo / Holy Tremor (2017), Dearly beloved we are gathered here today - a commission from Tom Watt and Tadhg McSweeney will be a flexible space that exists for the creation of art and creative projects; and the artists and publics that gather to bring these activities to life (4 June - 8 September).

DANCE: Not to be missed, festival dance highlights include internationally renowned company Compagnie KAIROS (Netherlands) bring DELADANSE to various locations across Carlow on Friday, Saturday and Sunday - a site-specific dance performance that will be created one day in advance for, with and inspired by Carlow, and Award Winning Artists Luke Murphy and Alex Pentek collaborate on Carnivore, a provocative, atmospheric and energetic dance performance (Fri 7 June, Sat 8 June, Sun 9 June at Visual).

Visit for further information.

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