Drogheda Arts Festival – Fun For All The Family

drogheda arts fest maria doyle kennedy by mischa

Maria Doyle Kennedy by Mischa Scherrer

Drogheda Arts Festival – Summer Festival Fun For All The Family

Music, Theatre, Family Fun, Visual Arts & More

Drogheda Arts Festival is back in 2021, with an exclusive programme of events, online, offsite, and live, over Summer 21. Kicking off on the June Bank Holiday Weekend, they are delighted to bring you the first instalment, ONLINE AT Drogheda Arts Festival.   

Drogheda Arts Festival has opened bookings on www.droghedaartsfestival.ie for its exciting schedule of arts events, which will run over the summer months. 

As restrictions change, and the country opens up, the summer festival for all the family will evolve, from online events over the June bank holiday, to live outdoor theatrical events, and a mobile offsite sculpture installation in August.  And finally, in September, watch out for details of a major exhibition in High Lanes Gallery.

The Drogheda Arts Festival is generously funded by Louth County Council and the Arts Council.

Online events in June include original music from Tadhg Leahy + Friends; Sharon Carty and Úna Hunt performing a song recital by celebrated and lesser-known female composers; Maria Doyle Kennedy in the intimate and atmospheric setting of Gerrard’s Church; Operation S.P.I.E.S. by Tailtiu Theatre, as well as Behind Locked Doors, Quintessence Theatre’s digital debut, based on true stories from across Ireland.

thirtythree-45 in association with Droichead Arts Centre will curate a series of sound and music works, which will be broadcast on thirtythree-45’s website, Droichead Arts Centre podcast channel, and internet radio, over July and August. This project will engage local, national, and international artists, will stream during the Arts Festival period, and remain available on demand for a time after the festival.  Each show will feature new works from invited artists, including Claire Fitch, Orla Wren, Conor McMahon, Diarmuid MacDiarmada, Ogy Collins, Hillary Mullaney, who have been asked to make a work for radio, based on the theme: Where are we now? 

During August, Drogheda Arts Festival is hopeful that it will be able to host events outdoors, including an interactive piece from Big Telly: Right Up Your Street, an outdoor screening of two ten-minute operas, Drive By Shooting and Two Angels Play I Spy, written and directed by John McIlduff, plus Transferring Perspectives, a new piece of sculptural artwork, created by artist Garry Maguire, commissioned by the Festival, that will move from one location to another during Drogheda Arts Festival 2021, in addition to a programme at Backstage at Barlow, a new outdoor stage area at Droichead Arts Centre, Barlow House.

Tadhg Leahy + Friends

Friday 4 June, 8:00pm (1 Hour)  \ €10 per device

Recorded in Sarsfield’s Bar, behind closed doors, Tadhg Leahy + Friends is an exclusive online event for Drogheda Arts Festival, featuring original music composed and arranged by Tadhg, much of which is included on his debut studio EP.

In this concert, Tadhg will perform with a number of ensembles (trio, quartet, and quintet) aimed at enhancing the stylistically varied nature of the music, which moves naturally through classical, folk, and jazz. Other featured artists include violinist, Tadhg Murphy, multi-instrumentalist David Dockery, electric and double bass player Graham Heaney, vocalist Saoirse Kavanagh, plus guitar / singer Stephen Carolan. Tadhg is a recipient of the Arts Council COVID-19 Crisis Response Award in 2020

Sharon Carty and Úna Hunt

Saturday 5 June, 8pm (1 hour) \ €10 per device

Recorded in St Peter’s Church of Ireland for Drogheda Arts Festival, presented by Drogheda Classical Music Series, mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty and pianist Úna Hunt perform a programme celebrating female composers. Irish mezzo soprano Sharon Carty wowed Drogheda audiences when she sang the role of Orfeo in Irish National Opera’s acclaimed production of Orfeo ed Euridice in 2019. For this concert, which celebrates works by female composers, Sharon joins forces with Irish pianist Úna Hunt, renowned for her championship of Irish composers, whose music she has performed and presented to audiences all over the world.

France meets Ireland in this eclectic mix of songs and piano music by female composers. From France are Mélanie Bonis (1858-1937) and Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) who join little-known composers of Irish interest, Augusta Holmès (1847-1903), Hope Temple (1859-1938) and Fanny Robinson (1831-1879) whose piano music features in a new two-volume sheet music collection, The Irish Piano Album, edited by Úna Hunt. To open the programme, a collection of songs of the sea by the English composers, Ethyl Smyth and Rebecca Clarke, and the haunting ‘My Grief on the Sea’ by Enniskillen-born, Joan Trimble.

This programme was initially devised by Sharon Carty and Úna Hunt for a series of concerts celebrating female composers, and performed in the National Concert Hall in January 2020.

SOLO: Maria Doyle Kennedy

Sunday 6 June, 8pm (1 hour) \ €10 per device

Curated by SJ McArdle, Solo returns to Drogheda Arts Festival this year in the intimate and atmospheric setting of Gerrard’s Church.  Maria Doyle Kennedy has established herself as one of Ireland’s most prolific artists and entertainers. She is well known for her hit albums Mutter and Sing (feat: John Prine, Damien Rice, and Paul Brady). Maria writes and performs with husband, Kieran Kennedy. Her EP Songs from the kitchen table was released January 1, 2020, the 11th release on their own label, Mermaid Records. They have composed original soundtracks for award-winning short films, A Different Kind of DayColour Code, and their songs have also featured in TV series, Orphan Black and Outlander. As an actress, Maria has appeared in Outlander and TV roles include Orphan BlackDownton Abbey, and The Tudors. Maria recently collaborated with Feist & Jarvis Cocker on a video for the song, Century.

Operation S.P.I.E.S. by Tailtiu Theatre. Sunday 6 June | 2pm.  €2

Following the success of Under D’Bed, Tailtiu Theatre, in association with Droichead Arts Centre, makes its Drogheda Arts Festival debut with Operation S.P.I.E.S. Join International Super Spy, Rick Danger, and absolute rookie, Eugene O’ Shaugnessy, on ZOOM, as they set out to save the Irish Secret Service. This is a new interactive theatre experience for the whole family!

This new online theatre show is where YOU control the action. The audience will become players, and direct Eugene and Rick through a series of puzzles and challenges. The audience will work with the characters, to unravel a conspiracy that goes right to the heart of the Irish Secret Service.

Tailtiu Theatre is company in residence at Droichead Arts Centre

Behind Locked Doors
3-6th June (one episode daily, 7:30pm)

Lockdown. Locked up. Locked in. No way out. No way in.

Drogheda, 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, two neighbours each grapple with the gendered shadow pandemics of Ireland – domestic violence and parental alienation. In Quintessence Theatre’s digital debut, based on true stories from across Ireland, Behind Locked Doors explores the lived experience of one man and one woman, each trapped in their own cycles of abuse, exacerbated by COVID-19 restrictions.  

Behind Locked Doors is a work in progress, and will be released in a series of short episodes online across the Drogheda Arts Festival 2021, as a prelude to a full-length live stage production in 2022.

Suitable for ages 15+


thirtythree-45’ Where are we now? 

For Drogheda Arts Festival 2021, ‘thirtythree-45’ in association with Droichead Arts Centre is curating sound/music works to be broadcast on ‘thirtythree-45’s’ website and internet radio on given dates in June, July and August.  This project will engage local, national and international artists and will be streamed over 3 months during the Arts Festival period, and be available on demand for a time period after the festival. Each show will feature new works will also be available for streaming from Droichead Arts Centre podcast channel

Invited artists, including Claire Fitch, Orla Wren, Conor McMahon, Diarmuid MacDiarmada, Ogy Collins, Hillary Mullaney have been asked to make a work for radio, based on the theme: Where are we now?  A title inspired by the David Bowie song of the same name. In the song Bowie recalls memories and alludes to an uncertain future. The title and song resonate with our current personal and universal anxieties.

Covid has been a time of reflection for a lot of people, nostalgia for what now seems like the good old days. Where are we now? is a question for sound-makers to answer and interpret through the media of sound and radio.

The pieces will be a deep listening experience, encouraging listeners to expand their conception of narrative and musicality.  Each work will be at least 30 minutes long, but can be much longer, and can range from sound collage, ambient, avant-garde, field recordings, electro acoustic or a hybrid of different forms.

Big Telly Presents Right Up Your Street 

Right Up Your Street is a live action piece of game-theatre played by entire streets, with everyone in their own homes, working together to solve the case. The Story Destroyers have taken The Pookas, and now our most cherished stories are at risk. Keeping in touch through Whatsapp, and using a system of codes involving flashing lights, twitching curtains, and hidden signs, you must find a way to save the Pookas and these stories before it’s too late. There’s somebody at the door. Is that your phone ringing? Who put that note through your letterbox? Join Big Telly this Summer for a game filled with chaos, community, and craic, and one that promises to be right up your street!

Drive By Shooting & Two Angels Play I Spy

An outdoor screening of two ten-minute operas, written and directed by John McIlduff, with a soundtrack by composer Brian Irvine. Drive by Shooting and Two Angels Play I Spy are stories of passion and revenge, and Angels standing on high. Akin to street art, the operas will appear on a Stockwell Street wall, before morphing into an animated video. Audience members wear wireless headphones, which allow them to experience the orchestral soundtrack, while watching imagery on the wall, intertwined with lyrics appearing as dynamic and crafted subtitles.


Transferring Perspectives is new piece of sculptural artwork, created by Garry Maguire, that will move from one location to another during Drogheda Arts Festival 2021, adapting and changing to suit its environment.  Over a period of six days in August, the evolving work, which is made from wooden posts, marine ply cut circles, paint, and steel bars, will make its way along the banks of the Boyne, changing location each day.  The locations for this piece of sculptural work are various sites along the river, including Baltray, Donor’s Green, and St Dominic’s Park.

For each day that the work is in place, it will be photographed and recorded, while being repositioned. It is hoped that members of the public will begin to engage with the artist, enquiring about the work, and assist in repositioning the work for themselves.   Transferring Perspectives was awarded Drogheda Arts Festival commission.



Watch out for details of a major exhibition which will take place in September.

All live/outdoor/offsite events will adhere to all Covid guidelines.

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