Theatre at the heart of Clonmel Junction Festival


JULY 1 – 7, 2019

As one of his final engagements as Mayor, Cllr Richie Molloy attended the launch of Clonmel Junction Arts Festival’s 2019 brochure at the Town Hall last Thursday.

Also in attendance were Cllr Siobhan Ambrose and Cllr Michael Murphy, as well as incoming councillor Garret Ahearn, District Administrator Anthony Coleman, County Arts Officer Melanie Scott and many of the local artists, musicians and performers who will take part this year.

Speaking at the launch of the brochure for 2019, new Festival Director, Cliona Maher, commented that she had come full circle.

I worked on the first festival, back in 2001, when it was the brainchild of Galloglass Theatre Company’s David Teevan. There wasn’t a summer tour that year, so he had the idea of hosting a week of touring theatre in Clonmel, with music events in the evening to follow performances.”

The first festival was a great success, so the company decided to repeat it the following year, and the festival is now a firm fixture on the summer calendar of arts events. This year’s theatre lovers have a wealth of shows to choose from, with acts from far afield being complemented by talented local companies.

One of the important functions of an arts festival, especially when the funding we receive is the largest block of arts funding that come[s] to Tipperary as a county, is to provide a platform and showcase for local artists. We’re doing this in music and in visual arts, and going forward, we intend to produce theatre also, so that work that’s site-specific and rooted in Clonmel is being created especially for the festival” said Cliona.

The White Memorial Theatre will be a hub for theatre as well as for music, with a much-anticipated new show from local artist and performer, Des Dillon. Nóta Stóta is a completely original blend of Pooka’s, Polkas & Puppets, featuring traditional music played by Benny McCarthy and Conal Ó Gráda, and set firmly in the world of the fairies.

A hilarious new play, Brendan Galileo For Europe, by Fionn Foley, blends the worlds of the European parliament and the Eurovision. It was winner of Best Performer and Bewley’s Little Gem awards at the Dublin Fringe Festival.

This year’s offering at Hickey’s Café will by Strolling Through Ulysses!, with Robert Gogan taking audiences on a journey through the curious events and quirky characters of Ulysses, in a show that is bawdy, irreverent and great fun.

Julie Sharkey is an actress familiar to Junction Festival audiences, from her many one-woman shows at Hickey’s Café, and she features in Remember To Breathe, by writer and director, Orla Murphy, telling the story of a Tipperary father (Raymond Keane), daughter (Liz Fitzgibbon and a Kiwi swimming coach (Julie Sharkey) with the action moving between Christchurch, New Zealand and the Golden Vale.

Coming to Tipperary from New Zealand are celebrated theatre company, A Slightly Isolated Dog, who bring their Edinburgh hit show, Don Juan ,to Clonmel, before a UK tour. With lots of brilliant physical comedy, twisted pop songs and explosive wit creating a hilarious and irreverent show, this will be a treat for Clonmel audiences in the special festival venue, Cider Rooms Cabaret, a specially created intimate cabaret space behind The Coachman.

Also at the cabaret will be Two, by local company, Down The Rabbit Hole. The classic play by Jim Cartwright shines light on the medley of stories that one Irish pub can hold over the course of an evening. This Clonmel-based theatre company was founded by Amy Hill, who has worked as a professional actress for many years, appearing in numerous stage productions and TV/film, most notably RTE’s The Clinic, and Michael Lavelle’s critically acclaimed film, Out of the Blue.

Produced for Clonmel Junction Arts Festival, The Secret Garden at Raheen House Hotel is an hour-long Land Art trail for families, who will encounter a storyteller, a puppeteer, and a musician along the way, before making their own take-home piece of art from natural materials. Raheen are offering an afternoon tea package to accompany the performance, making this an ideal family afternoon out.

Also for children is Twinkles, an immersive theatrical dance performance themed after the world’s most famous nursery rhyme, created by Dansema Dance Theatre, the acclaimed Lithuanian young children’s theatre company.

Stagecraft Youth Theatre’s 20th anniversary production, The Fight, will return as part of the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival. It is a huge honour to be part of this year’s festival.

Speaking at the Town Hall launch, director, Jack Reardon, said:

“This is such a testament to the work done by the cast and creative team of The Fight. I’d like to thank the festival for acknowledging of the standard of work Stagecraft creates and inviting us to be part of this year’s programme.”

Tickets are on sale from the Festival Box Office, located at Showgrounds Shopping Centre on the Davis Road.

Contact or 087 382 3000 for details.

Clonmel Junction Arts Festival started almost 20 years ago as a celebration of touring theatre and live music. Over the years, it has grown into a week-long arts festival where national and international acts share a stage with some of the best local talent.

The 2019 edition will feature an exciting new cabaret venue, some pop-up art installations in the heart of Clonmel, a host of music and theatre shows, as well as lots of ways to get involved either as a spectator, or a performer!

As always, the festival is delighted to welcome volunteers – a great way to meet people and to get up close and personal with art!

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