A Look Back at 2019 – A Taste of Things to Come



The road to Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has been busy and incredibly fun. As we look forward to a jam-packed programme (with our first batch of tickets on sale this week), let’s not forget the journey that brought us here – the hours of preparation, leaps of faith and budding new relationships.

Small Towns Big Ideas

Galway 2020 Small Towns Big Ideas found its wings in 2019, revealing only the tip of the iceberg in regard to this dynamic community-led programme. In the county, Lóchrann Chonamara brought us a fiery outdoor marvel in Maam Cross, while in Tuam, Paving New Pathways explored life in the Medieval town with a “human library”, exhibition, heritage trail and musical street spectacle. In the city, projects like Belonging in Ballybane connected young people through the joy of food and music, while Westside Arts Festival brought Galway 2020 key themes of language, landscape and migration to the fore. Tales were woven by Adedotun Adekeye, and local art showcased at A Wild and Generous Landscape exhibition and Shot By The Sea screening. With the recent success of projects like Úlla Buaile and Misleór Festival of Nomadic Cultures, we can’t wait to see what will come of the new Small Towns Big Ideas projects selected in July.


Looking Outwards

The European Capital of Culture will shine a light on Galway for the rest of the world – creating new international connections that last beyond 2020. In May 2019, FRESH STREET #3 brought over 200 international delegates from more than 20 countries to Galway for a multi-dimensional street arts event. 2019 also saw the bloom of a thriving relationship with sister European Capital of Culture, Rijeka in Croatia. Grounds for collaboration were highlighted during a delegation in June. Shortly after, Galway Autism Partnership’s Small Towns Big Ideas project, Hear Our Voice brought its interactive, sensory-driven production to Rijeka, with the help of Rijeka City Puppet Theatre. Later in September, the talented James Riordan (artistic director at Brú Theatre) represented Galway in Rijeka at Galway Theatre Festival’s Make a Move – a contemporary theatre incubator and Creative Europe programme (co-funded by Galway 2020). Word of Galway 2020 spread beyond Europe in 2019, all the way to the lively Milwaukee Irish Festival during an in-depth showcase last August. Echoing this outward perspective, the Galway 2020 programme will encompass over 1,900 events across 154 projects, 170 partnerships with local, national and international artists and organisations from over 30 different countries.


Here it Comes…

A programme of this reach calls for celebration, and celebrate we did in our thousands, at the September programme launch. Dangling Gratte Ciel performers danced through explosions of colour while Galway native Anna Mullarkey gave her all in a stellar musical performance. The event gave a taste of the adventure to come in February 2020, when a community cast from across the city and county will breathe life (and fire) into the towns and villages of Galway, making way for an unforgettable Opening Ceremony in Galway City on February 8. Here it comes…



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