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Meet the Team: Craig Flaherty

29.08.2019

Craig Flaherty is a cultural producer on the Galway 2020 programme team.

Well versed in the world of performing arts, Craig has worked with storytelling innovators including Druid and Macnas, as well as the Town Hall Theatre and St. Patrick’s Festival Galway. “Being from Galway, I have been fortunate to build and sustain a career here. I was delighted to join the Galway 2020 team in May 2018, having worked on aspects of the bid phase as a member of the advisory panel.”

According to Craig, Galway 2020 programmed projects will touch on a range of forms. “A European Capital of Culture designation is really about collaboration and cooperation; the outdoor landscape and digital technology will play a big part in that. This is reflective of the bid book, which asks people to think outside of their normal practices – incorporating new forms into the work that they already do well. Branar Téatar do Pháistí, for example, will create their very first installation piece as part of Sruth na Teanga, a story of the Irish language told through the metaphor of a river.”

“I have always found that Galway audiences are willing to take a risk on something new, to go into the unknown. It provides a breeding ground for new work to thrive.”

Having worked with Galway audiences for years, Craig is confident in the receptiveness of the people here to new forms and perspectives. “I have always found that Galway audiences are willing to take a risk on something new, to go into the unknown. It provides a breeding ground for new work to thrive. That willingness to support something new or hear an old story in a different vein, is why so many companies and artists have been able to build and sustain a career in Galway. We have strong roots of gathering to witness something together as a community. You can trace that act of lining the streets to watch a story unfold before us right back to the seanchaí telling stories, and to people  gathered around a fire.”

Irish cities may not boast the same grand piazzas as their European counterparts, but Irish creatives have shown immense creativity in reinterpreting the use of commercial and public spaces to tell their stories. 2020 will see this approach migrate to rural and urban spaces, creating an exchange between city and county audiences. “Different communities will share their spaces with each other. That openness, along with the fact that so much of the programme is free and accessible, will take the great work being achieved here to a new level.”

Craig is excited to foster working relationships with colleagues in Galway and Europe – an integral part of the Galway 2020 legacy. “There are aspects of the legacy that will only begin to unfold as collaborative relationships begin to flourish between Galway and other cities, towns and regions. Much of this work has being going on in the background over the past couple of years, both by Galway 2020 and our cultural partners and stakeholders. Galway Community Circus, for example, has 11 European partners for their 2020 project, Wires Crossed: A Balancing Act for Europe, which will travel to Romania for Timișoara’s designation as European Capital’s of Culture in 2021.”

In 2020, the Wires Crossed project will invite thousands to watch daring participants cross the River Corrib on a high-wire. “The river runs from the county, through the city, and into the sea. It will be incredible to see 400 wire-walkers harness that powerful energy. I think that’s ultimately what the programme is doing.  When the programme launches on 18 September, we will harness the energy that exists here – that wildness we have in the West – and transpose it to mobilise people. After working behind the scenes to secure the programme, I’m excited for what will be the start of a new conversation between Galway and Europe.”

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