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Thousands Gather to Launch Programme

26.09.2019

 

Thousands of people arrived in Eyre Square last week for the launch of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture’s cultural programme.

 

“We are delighted to be at the stage where we can share the exciting programme for next year with the public and we look forward to welcoming people to the Opening Event in February.”

CEO of Galway 2020, Patricia Philbin

To mark the occasion, local multi-instrumentalist musician Anna Mullarkey performed a musical piece she composed especially for the day, while French air circus performers Gratte Ciel dangled 35 metres above. Speckled with pagan and carnivalesque details, the performance was an explosive taster for the year of magic to come.

You may know Anna’s work from her time with popular band My Fellow Sponges or her scores for award-winning documentaries and local company, Brú Theatre. Elements of folk, jazz and electronica are incorporated into her compositions, many of which have scored award-winning documentaries. On the night of the launch, Anna shone with homegrown talent and an ethereal voice that held the attention of thousands of people. Her piece was commissioned as an ode to the Irish language and the Celtic yearly cycle upon which the programme is based.

Gratte Ciel performers were a sight of strength and elegance, with all the daring components of French new circus – an influence that feels very much at home in Galway. As they climbed into the sky, Mullarkey’s bubbling bass, emotive strings and climbing synths took us through the transitions of the year – from free-spirited beginnings to the reflective depths of Samhain.

With its unique practice of “aerial poetics”, Gratte Ciel (“sky scraper” in French) reframes our relationship with public space. The company takes its artistic direction from Stéphane Girard, who learned his craft with new circus pioneer, Pierrot Bidon. Some say that Bidon paved the way to Cirque du Soleil, with his punk travelling circus, Archaos. The launch event celebrated, not only the programme release, but also the crossing of national and artistic boundaries. Galway Community Circus will soon push the boundaries of circus arts further, encouraging mindfulness and courage in balancing local and international participants on a highwire above the River Corrib.

Wires Crossed is one of many projects collaborating with European partners. France in particular will play a prominent role in next year’s programme. Under Ambassador Stéphane Crouzat’s leadership, the French Embassy has made generous investments in the Galway cultural sector, and invited a number of internationally-renowned French artists to work with, and alongside, Galway artists. Their contributions span a range of disciplines from film, music and theatre, to circus and visual arts.

There is much to share, much to learn and – as February nears – much to do. CEO of Galway 2020, Patricia Philbin says, “We would like to thank the public for their curiosity and the electric energy that they brought to Eyre Square last week. It was fantastic to see so many children so involved and full of wonder. We are delighted to be at the stage where we can share the exciting programme for next year with the public and we look forward to welcoming people to the Opening Event in February.”