Cork Midsummer Festival launches its 2019 programme today, with 11 days of theatre, literature, dance, circus and visual art to include 25 world, European and Irish premieres. As well as showcasing some of Ireland’s finest artists, the Festival, running from 13 – 23 June, will welcome artists from across the world, including Chile, Canada, USA, Poland, UK, Finland and France. In total over 45 events will take place in 30 venues across the city, with full details at www.corkmidsummer.com.
Highlights from one of Ireland’s fastest-growing and most exciting multi-disciplinary arts festivals will be the world premiere of Ray Scannell’s apocalyptic black comedy The Bluffer’s Guide to Suburbia. The Everyman and Rosa Productions will present a new musical, Evening Train, based on the acclaimed album by Mick Flannery. Irish Modern Dance Theatre bring Almost Blue, a new outdoor dance piece by Oona Doherty; and Junk Ensemble and Dumbworld present A Different Wolf, an ambitious new dance opera featuring a professional and community cast of almost 100.
Landmark Productions returns to the Festival with Octopus Theatricals to present the European premiere of Theatre for One, a free state-of-the-art mobile performance space at Emmet Place for one actor and one audience member at a time. Six of Ireland’s leading playwrights — Marina Carr, Stacey Gregg, Emmet Kirwan, Louise Lowe, Mark O’Rowe and Enda Walsh — have written original five-minute plays for this unique event.
Cork Midsummer Festival Director Lorraine Maye said: “Providing a platform to showcase the work of brilliant Irish and international artists is at the very core of Midsummer. We embrace those at different stages of their careers — offering a launch-pad for emerging artists and showcasing exciting new work by those who are more established.
“There is huge heart in this year’s Festival with themes of love, hope, the joy in simple acts of togetherness, and our need for connection explored throughout. With the support of our funders, the Festival uses the city as a stage and is programmed in partnership with our inspiring arts organisations and institutions. Together, we are very excited to welcome audiences this June.”
The theatre programme also includes Kaite O’Reilly’s Cosy at Firkin Crane by Gaitkrash Theatre Company, a dark comedy that looks at our attitudes to youth, ageing and death; Conflicted Theatre’s new production of Iphigenia in Splott by Gary Owen; Irene Kelleher’s Gone Full Havisham — inspired by the Charles Dickens character Miss Havisham — in the penthouse suite, Clayton Hotel; and Everything I Do by Zoe Ní Riordáin, which comes to Midsummer following a sell-out run at the Dublin Fringe, and a Best Performer award for Zoe. Both BrokenCrow Theatre Company and ALSA Productions present new work for family audiences — Miss Happiness and Miss Flower andTall Tail respectively.
A highlight of the Festival’s participatory and socially-engaged work is the Irish premiere of La Cocina Pública (The Public Kitchen) presented by Chilean company Teatro Container, bringing a kitchen in a shipping container to Cork’s South Parish. This will connect both residents and visitors to the area through food and performance.
Other international highlights include As Far As My Fingertips Take Me by Tania El Khoury at Crawford Art Gallery, an encounter — through a gallery wall — between an audience member and a refugee, street artist Basel Zaraa who was born a Palestinian refugee in Syria. Toronto-based singing group, Choir! Choir! Choir!, which has performed with renowned artists such as Patti Smith and David Byrne, will lead an audience in song at The Everyman. From the UK, site-specific innovators Dante Or Die present User Not Found, an immersive show in a café where audience members will receive a smartphone and a pair of headphones; and The HandleBards, the world’s first cycling theatre company, put on an all-ages, high-energy and hilarious version of The Tempest in Fitzgerald Park. Presented in partnership with Carlow Arts Festival, Kaleider bring their large transparent Pig to Emmet Place, a bold installation that offers passersby the opportunity to contribute to, and spend, a community fund; and Mosh Split, a high-energy circus show from Finnish circus group Sisus Sirkus will take place at Elizabeth Fort.
Continuing with the thread of using the city as the stage, Corcadorca Theatre Company will present a site-specific production of Enda Walsh’s The Small Things at the Old Cork Waterworks Experience starring two of Ireland’s finest actors, Pauline McLynn and Peter Gowen. Composer Karen Power will present Invitation to Wander, a site-specific, multi-roomed composition based on her field recordings from deserts, the Arctic, Amazon and Australian outback.
The 2019 music programme includes three events at Cork Opera House. There is The Cork Proms, curated by director Wayne Jordan and conductor John O’Brien, comprising of three successive concerts — Midsummer (21 June), Broadway (22 June) and Diva (23 June) — featuring Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra; and The Stalls, by composerTom Lane and librettist Lily Akerman, the third instalment of their site-specific operas, The House Trilogy. There is also a performance by American percussion quartet,Sō Percussion, which will include the Irish premiere of a Donnacha Dennehy piece, Broken Unison, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Cork Opera House.
For its largest visual arts programme to date, Cork Midsummer will present a new Glucksman off-site project, May the Moon Rise and the Sun Set by Richard Proffitt at UCC Department of Music, Sunday’s Well. Red Air, a new site-specific public art installation by artist Bill Balaskas, co-commissioned by the National Sculpture Factory and Cork Opera House, will reflect on climate change.
In Words & Ideas, Crosstown Drift returns with its most impressive programme to date, with mystery bus tours and nights after dark at Crawford Art Gallery featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson, revered as the world’s first reggae poet, Sinéad Gleeson, Emilie Pine and Kevin Barry. Midsummer’s Artist-in-Residence, Irish poet Doireann Ní Ghríofapresents A Sunken Gallery at The Glucksman, which commemorates the 10th anniversary of the gallery’s flooding.
Events for family audiences include a programme celebrating Criunniú na nÓg at Douglas Park; The Market, a beautiful market-themed wooden play universe for children from ages 2-8 by Festijeux; and Cork’s first Carnival of Science, two days of experiments, interactive activities, garden games and big top shows coordinated by Lifetime Lab.
Lorraine Maye added: “We are grateful to our core funders the Arts Council and Cork City Council. Without their belief, support and encouragement, the Festival simply could not take place. We are also grateful to Fáilte Ireland, and all of our individual programme funders, sponsors, patrons and friends for their invaluable support.”
Cork Midsummer Festival is proudly supported by the Arts Council, Cork City Council, Fáilte Ireland and by media partners RTÉ Cork, the Irish Examiner, 96FM and C103, and RTÉ Supporting the Arts. Tickets for all events go on sale today, Thursday 2 May, from 4.30pm at www.corkmidsummer.com.