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A Christmas Carol at the Town Hall

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Charles Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol returns to the Town Hall Theatre next Monday and Tuesday night in a one-man show, adapted and performed by English actor Clive Francis.

This show received standing ovations at the venue when it played there last December as part of a 12-date tour of Ireland. It’s being brought back by Wicklow-born producer and actor Conor Sheridan, who trained in London where he is currently based.

He first saw Clive – a well-established actor, who has worked with companies from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre and regularly features in West End productions – in this show three years ago and describes it as “the most wonderful 70 minutes I have ever spent in a theatre”.

“It was also the first time I got to grips with the [Christmas Carol] story, which is really about the human condition and human redemption and getting someone to look at themselves,” Conor observes. “You can’t watch Clive in A Christmas Carol and not see something of yourself.”

Clive Francis first crossed paths with Dickens’ renowned skinflint, Ebenezer Scrooge while playing the role in Ian Judge’s acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Christmas Carol at London’s Barbican Theatre in 1994 and 1995.

The RADA trained actor, who made his West End debut in 1966 opposite Donald Sinden in There’s A Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre loved the part. After it ended and inspired by Dickens’ first performance of A Christmas Carol in Birmingham Town Hall in December 1853, Clive created his own one-man show.  He is the first actor since Dickens to give a one-man performance at Birmingham Town Hall, where his production has become an annual event and attracts a huge audience.

Clive narrates the Christmas Carol story and also plays every notable character in the piece, which was originally written by Dickens to make people aware of the scandalous conditions children were suffering in factories and mines around Britain, many of them working as much as 18 hours a day for barely the price of a loaf of bread..

When Conor first saw Clive perform it, he felt it would be a perfect touring show. This year it’s been in London, Bath’s Theatre Royal and of course, Birmingham, where it was attended by over 1,000 people. Now it’s back in Ireland.

“It’s a great piece of theatre. It’s simple and dramatic and I remarked that maybe should do something more with it. Suddenly we were putting a tour together.”

The show has gone down really well in Ireland, partly because Irish people love descriptive writing and that’s something Dickens is an expert at, Conor feels.

“With this show, you get both dialogue and description. And Clive’s eloquent style of performance means he is suited to that kind of period drama.”

• Tickets for A Christmas Carol cost €20 / €16 or €60 for a family ticket (for four people) and can be booked at 091-569777, tht.ie or at 091-569777.

Connacht Tribune

Love Buzz fill big shoes in Cork’s musical story

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The Love Buzz...new single released.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Cork’s musical reputation is long established and well-earned; from the cult status of Cathal Coughlan (Microdisney and the Fatima Mansions), to Simple Kid’s nods to folk, electronica, rock and everything else, the cartoon punk and madness of Sultans of Ping F.C., the Frank and Walters, and – if not for bringing him into the world – the raising and moulding of Rory Gallagher.

It’s a scene full of life, innovation and identity – a perfect balance of passion, ability and not taking yourself too seriously. And all of those ideals are epitomised by the county’s most exciting contemporary three-piece – The Love Buzz.

Having burst into life with last year’s Candy Flip EP, the group’s latest single builds on the energy and enthusiasm of their first release – bouncing around your head until you go back for another listen.

Harp is a punch in the gut for anyone missing live music. Twenty seconds in, as Henry Love’s thunderous drum fill signals the honey-sweet intro’s end, you can close your eyes and convince yourself you’re swarmed in a sweatbox of a venue – likely Cyprus Avenue or Fred Zeppelin’s – attending a gig that could be talked about for years.

“Overall, not being able to gig has given us a unique opportunity to get our heads stuck into writing,” bass player Aidan Lynch insists.

“We’ve worked on a few songs that we’re happy with and we’re very excited to get them out there… Harp being the first of them and we’re delighted with the reception… I think we learned to broaden our style.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

POST bringing patients beyond hospital walls

Judy Murphy

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Artist Deirdre O'Mahony and sound recordist John Brennan in the Burren. PHOTO: TOM FLANAGAN.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“Going into hospital, you can be stripped of so many things and it’s important to see the whole person. Healthcare is recognising that,” says the Arts Director of Saolta Arts Margaret Flannery.

Margaret is in charge of the arts programme at the Saolta University Healthcare Group, which runs hospitals in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Donegal.

She’s been promoting the importance of arts in healthcare since 2003, when the Master’s Graduate in Arts Practice and Policy was appointed Outreach Officer with Galway Arts Centre. A large part of her job there involved liaising with UHG and Merlin Park Hospital.

“I was known as the arts lady,” she recalls with a laugh.

Margaret’s belief in the value of arts in a hospital environment and her tireless work to demonstrate that, resulted in growing HSE support and she’s now employed by the Saolta group, in charge of its arts programme.

Over the years, she’s organised artist-in-residency schemes in Saolta hospitals, she has worked with Cúirt Literature Festival, with the Tulca Festival of Visual Arts and with the Arts Festival, as well as holding exhibitions and events throughout the region – at UHG, Merlin Park and Portiuncula here in Galway.

Saolta Arts also teamed up with Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture to present a year-long arts and health programme, designed to bring nature and familiar landscapes into hospital spaces.

This began in February, before lockdown, with Viriditas, a commission created by singer and artist Ceara Conway, which explored the healing power of music and the link between nature and health.

Another Saolta commission for 2020, POST, was launched in November.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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