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Eclectic programme from Town Hall ranges from Shakespeare to Smokie

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Recession or no recession, we all need the entertainment and challenge that the arts bring to our lives, and the Spring programme from the Town Hall and Black Box is an eclectic mix, with something for all tastes, from drama to dance to music, and film from the Galway Film Society.

The mix includes plenty from young local companies, with the Town Hall Studio being occupied by Galway talent for most of the season.

The Renmore Pantomime continues on the Town Hall main stage until January 17 with Mother Goose, a comedic look at Celtic Tiger Ireland. Then, on January 20 fans of the showband era will have a chance to relive memories when RTÉ’s Ronan Collins is the host and compere for Reeling in the Showband Years. Those participating include Paddy Cole, Sean Dunphy Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg, Sean O’Dowd, The Conquerors, Art Supple of The Victors, and vocalist and instrumentalist Lorraine McDonald.

There’s a treat for lovers of classical music from January 22-24, when Music for Galway kicks off a celebration of Robert Schuman with a weekend event entitled Fantasies and Fairytales. The concerts are in the Town Hall at 8pm on Friday, at 2pm and 8pm on Saturday and on Sunday at 3pm. Full details from Music for Galway,

The award-winning CosCéim Dance Company returns on January 26 with As You Are by Muirne Bloomer and Faun by David Bolger. As You Are is a quirky piece in which six extraordinary individuals are tested as they struggle for control over themselves and each other. In Faun revisits Nijinsky’s first ballet, L’après midi d’un Faune. Mixing Debussy’s famous score with Queen’s music, David Bolger explores how dance still reconnects us with our feelings and imagination. The show is at on January 26. For details of free workshops, contact box office.

Popular singer Johnny McEvoy comes to the Town Hall for an evening of nostalgia on January 28 at 8pm. The following night it’s the turn of Jack L, celebrating the launch of his recent album, The Story so Far – The Essential Collection. Comedian Ardal O’Hanlon of Fr Ted fame, brings his stand-up show to the venue on January 30

Olivier award nominee and RSC actor Gerard Logan presents solo performance of Shakespeare’s great narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece on February 1. The piece, about the terrible crime of rape and its dreadful consequences has garnered 5 star reviews for the actor.

A stage adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s novel classic At Swim Two Birds will be presented by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company from February 4-6 at 8pm. It’s the turn of the kids on February 7 with the Lambert Puppet Theatre’s version of Snow White at 2 and 4pm. Then there’s more Shakespeare from February 9-13 when Second Age Theatre Company returns with Hamlet, directed by Alan Stanford.

On February 16 country singer Nanci Griffith will be at the venue, and on February 18 the Irish Youth Russian Ballet Company presents La Sylphide, a tale of love and deception set in 18th century Scotland.

On February 20 its country and showband, when singer Mike Denver joins forces with the legendary Brendan Boyer. Traditional group the High Kings return on February 22 and it’s time for more serious matters when Ibsen’s classic play, Hedda Gabler will be presented by the Knocknacarra Amateur Theatre Group, KATS at from February 24-26.

The Three Tenors will be in concert on February 27 at 8pm, with a range of popular songs, while music is also to the fore when Twink and Linda Martin star in Menopause, The Musical from March 1-6. This comedy about women and ‘the change’ is back for its final Irish dates.

Local group, The Patrician Musical Society will present Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado from March 9-13, featuring such classics as Three Little Maids, I’ve Got a Little List, The Sun and I.

Popular group Smokie will bring people back down memory lane on March 16 with The Irish Collection Show, featuring songs like songs like Something’s Been Making me Blue, I’ll Meet You At Midnight, Don’t Play Your Rock ‘n’ Roll To Me and more.

Sex and comedy are on the menu with My First Time, which will be staged from March 18-20. The Irish premiere of this successful off-Broadway play features hysterical and heartbreaking stories about first sexual experiences written by Ken Davenport, based on stories from real people. It stars Leigh Arnold, Claire Tully and Alan Shortt.

Excerpts from ballets including Giselle, Cinderella and Don Quixote will be presented on March 21 in the Regina Rogers School of Ballet Gala Concerts, which are at 3 and 8pm.

The Fureys and Davey Arthur will be in the venue on March 23 to perform hits including The Green Fields of France, The Old Man, Red Rose Café, From Clare To Here and Leaving Nancy.

It’s the turn of Abba fans on March 24 with tribute band Abbamania celebrating over 30 years of hits from the Swedish supergroup.

Local company Compántas Lir close the Spring season on the Town Hall’s main stage with Bernard Farrell’s I Do Not Like Thee, Dr Fell, a savage send up of American group therapy, from March 26-27.

For more read page 27 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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