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Connacht Tribune

Drama in store at annual Galway Theatre Festival

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Galway Theatre Festival Director Sorcha Keane, General Manager Béatrice Lemoine and Assistant Manager Kevin Murphy.

Lifestyle – The latest Director of Galway Theatre Festival, Sorcha Keane, combines a love of arts with a business background. It all helps in staging the annual event which gives a platform to new talent alongside more established artists as she tells JUDY MURPHY.

There’s nothing like theatre. You walk into a room with a bunch of strangers and you hear a story, known or unknown, and have a collective experience that’s so live and so tangible.” Such passion isn’t surprising coming from the Director of Galway Theatre Festival, Sorcha Keane whose love of arts, combined with an aptitude for business makes her an ideal person to steer this thriving organisation, which is celebrating its 11th festival next month.

The 2019 Galway Theatre Festival will run from May 3-11, with a range of drama from established and upcoming artists, as well as works-in-progress, and two free performances, including Beats on the Street from the Macnas Drumming Ensemble, which will be on the city streets – the location will be announced closer to the performance date of May 8.

Galway Theatre Festival (GTF), which began in October 2008, has grown from that inaugural four-day event which staged six productions at Nuns Island Theatre, to its current incarnation, presenting more than 20 productions across a range of city venues. That’s in addition to the works-in-progress, workshops and discussions about surviving and thriving in a notoriously difficult business.

“Our ethos is to support independent and emerging theatre artists and give them a space to present their work,” explains Sorcha.

Dubliner Sorcha first came to Galway to do a Masters in Theatre, having previously graduated from UCD with a BA in French and History and a Masters in Cultural Policy and Arts Management.

After leaving UCD, she worked in corporate travel for several years before changing direction.

“I ran away to the circus,” she says with a laugh about relocating to Galway.

Here she has worked as a volunteer with Galway Theatre Festival as well as the Film Fleadh and with the Arts in Action programme at NUIG.

Sorcha’s business background, her love of arts, and her experience as an intern with GTF last year, made her an ideal choice to take on the mantle of Festival Director last June when Máiréad Ní Chróinín (also of Moonfish Theatre) stepped down from the role.

“I always had a love of theatre and also had a love of festivals,” Sorcha explains.

Since 2008, GTF has supported emerging theatre groups and individual practitioners, as its founders realised “there was a need for a platform specifically for emerging artists in Galway and the West of Ireland”.

The event has grown since then under the guidance of a committed group of people, including former directors Róisín Stack and Máiréad Ní Chróinín, but GTF has remained true to its original remit.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Fuel for thought as we try and energise our wheels

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

A good few years back . . . well probably even decades . . . I remember asking quite a knowledgeable motoring correspondent, long gone to his eternal reward, about the pros and cons of staying with petrol or switching to diesel. By the time his reply had finished, nearly 20 minutes had elapsed, and I was avalanched with so much data that I was no wiser at the end of the conversation than I was at the start.

I thought of that a few weeks before Christmas when I happened to tune in to a programme on Channel 4 – Dispatches – which examined the practicalities of owning and driving an electric car across the roads of the United Kingdom.

There is a wish amongst all of us to pursue a more environmentally friendly way of life. At this stage, we all probably know someone who has purchased a fully electric car and certainly many more who have dipped their toes into the waters of the hybrid models.

Anyway, the main theme of the Dispatches programme was that after 10-years of investment by the UK authorities in the infrastructure needed to support electric cars, quite a shocking number of charging points were either out of action or were not working to their full efficiency.

Nearly 10% of the ‘rapid chargers’ sampled across the UK were found not to be working properly, while 30 new ultra-rapid charges were also found to be dysfunctional to varying degrees. Some of the charging points had been out of action for six years and a percentage of those were unrepairable as their technology base was now obsolete.

Apart from their significant extra cost – even if one qualifies for the maximum €5,000 Government grant – the great fear I would have with the electric cars is that I’d find myself marooned in a corner of Kerry or Antrim, out of ‘juice’, and unable to access a charging point.

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

Covid boosts college coffers

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NUI Galway

NUI Galway reported an operating surplus of almost €19 million during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic when its campus was closed for months.

The healthy finances reported by NUIG has prompted its student body to call for it to waive repeat exams’ fees and student levies, and to invest in mental health services.

Consolidated financial statements for NUIG for the year ended September 30 2020 show the university reported an operating surplus of €18.9 million. This was up by €16 million on the surplus generated in 2019.

The financial statement said that while Covid-19 was ‘extremely challenging’, the ‘extraordinary dedication and work ethic of its staff have mitigated against the financial impact’ of the year.

The report said a surplus of €18.9 million was a ‘commendable performance’ given that 95%  of staff and students withdrew from campus in March 2020 to study and work remotely in line with Government regulations.

It noted that core income fell by a net €4 million compared with the previous year.

“Drops in research income of €9m and a Covid-related decline in commercial and student accommodation income of some €5m were offset by increased fee income of €4m, a €3m increase in the fair value of investments, and other increases of €3m relating to Government grants and other income,” the report said.

It said that the increase in Government grants includes Covid Support grant funding from the Higher Education Authority to cover additional specific Covid-19 related costs of €2.2m.

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.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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Connacht Tribune

Farm buildings can be used as business hubs in rural areas

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Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind)

RURAL farm buildings should be utilised for small business enterprises which would supplement the income of landowners as well as creating some local employment in the process.

This was the view of the vast majority of Galway councillors who passed a motion that buildings directly relating to farming be considered for other purposes that would be financially advantageous to the owners.

The matter came up for discussion at a meeting of the Galway County Development Plan when it was suggested that the farming community needed to be allowed develop small business opportunities.

A motion from Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind) – deviating slightly from Galway County Council policy – proposed that they be allowed carry out businesses such as the servicing and repair of machinery, land reclamation, drainage works, and agricultural contracting was carried.

The motion added that this be allowed where it is financially advantageous to locate in a given area and where it would not have an adverse impact on the environment.

The Williamstown councillor said that it could result in hundreds of small business enterprises being developed out of farm buildings.

“At the moment they cannot get planning permission for such enterprises given that they are located in a rural area,” he argued.

He was supported by Cllr. Pete Roche (FG) who went further by saying that even the establishment of pet farms or animal farms that could be opened up to the public were also options that could be considered.

“There are farm families at the moment who cannot earn a decent living out of agriculture alone and would relish the opportunity to diversify,” he added.

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.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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