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Humour and death in McGowan Trilogy

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The McGowan Trilogy by local playwright and short-story writer Seamus Scanlon will receive its Irish premiere at the city’s An Taibhdhearc Theatre this Friday and Saturday, June 5and 6.

Directed by Adrian Lavelle, The McGowan Trilogy follows the exploits of an IRA zealot Victor McGowan over a two-year period in 1980s Ireland. The trilogy comprises three interwoven one-act plays – Dancing at Lunacy, The Long Wet Grass and Boys Swam Before Me.

This trilogy received its world premiere in New York last September when it was staged as part of the first Irish Theater Festival, in a production from The Cell Theater. That production won three awards (Best Actress, Best Director and Best Design).

Here in Ireland The McGowan Trilogy being staged by fledgling Galway company Wolf Meets World in association with Kino-Teatr from the UK.

Seamus, who works as a librarian at the City College of New York Center for Worker Education, is home in Galway for the event.

The science graduate from NUIG, who also qualified as a librarian while in Cambridge, was always an avid reader, but he didn’t begin writing until he was an adult – a period working in Belfast was the catalyst.

From Mervue in the city, Seamus has previously published a collection of short stories, As Close As You’ll Ever Be, which are in the crime fiction genre.

He’s a regular visitor to Galway these days, but his base is New York and he loves the college where he works. It was set up by the Teamster Union so that its members could avail of further education. Students attend at weekends and in the evening and many of them are the first generation of their families to go to university. That’s similar to Seamus’s background, as his parents couldn’t afford to go to college.

But it was they who first nurtured his love of reading and writing, as did Donal Taheny, his teacher at St Joseph’s (The Bish).

The latest result of that life-long love affair can be seen at An Taibhdhearc this weekend, in a world where dark comedy meets tragedy and pathos.

Audiences are asked to note The  McGowan Trilogy has strong language, violence and poetic licence, “not to mention song lyrics gone awry”, according to its author.

■ It’s on at 8pm this Friday and Saturday, with a matinee at 2pm on Saturday. Tickets €15/€12 To book tickets go to www.antaibhdhearc.com or call the box office on 091 563600.

Connacht Tribune

‘Home’ is theme of diverse Clifden Arts Festival

Judy Murphy

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‘Home’ is the theme of year’s annual Clifden Arts Festival, which runs from September 12-23.
The event will explore the concept of home, as well as showcasing Ireland’s diverse arts community with a wide variety of shows and performances,
“The physical place of birth holds a special place within us, while for others it isn’t physical but rather the feelings, the emotion, the character, the people and the culture, that shape it and make it,” explains Festival Director Brendan Flynn of the decision to focus on home. “We hope to capture that feeling and explore a sense of home and how it is unique for each of us.”
The strong line-up at this year’s Festival includes headline names, some familiar and others new to Clifden.
The RTÉ Concert Orchestra and RTÉs ConTempo Quartet will both make the journey West, as will other big names in Irish music including Aslan, Máirtín O’Connor, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, Martin Hayes, Bill Whelan, Lisa Hannigan, Declan Nerney, Frankie Gavin and Fiachra O’Regan, Seán Keane, Charlie McGettigan, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin.
Poets and Aosdána members, Paul Durcan and Rita Ann Higgins will also take part, while Mayo novelist, EM Reapy, whose novel Red Dirt, set in Australia, which won the 2017 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, will read with Sligo-born Galway-based poet, Michael Gorman.
There’s a one-man play, Padraig Potts, by Séamus O’Rourke and a drama about Constance Markievicz, written by journalist Mary Kenny and performed by Jeananne Crowley.
On the comedy front, award-winning Danny O’Brien will bring brings his Lock In show fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Museum exhibition on former slave and champion boxer Tom Molineaux

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Galway City Museum is hosting a special exhibition in memory of former slave and champion African-American bare-knuckle fighter, Tom Molineaux, who died in the city in 1818.
Tom Molineaux was discovered sick and destitute on the streets of Galway in the summer of 1818. Aged just 34, the washed-up fighter was given shelter in the band room of the Shambles Barracks – where St Patrick’s National School is today – by three drummers from the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment. Like him, they were freed slaves.
However, despite their kindness, Molineaux died on August 4 and was buried in a pauper’s grave in St James’s Cemetery, Mervue. It was a sad end for a unique man.
By the time he arrived in Galway, Molineaux was destitute and worn down by drinking and fighting, but this man had once been among the world’s top boxers, mixing with the wealthiest people in England.
In 1810 and again in 1811, Molineaux had fought the English champion, Tom Cribb. He was defeated both times in what were the first and second world title fights, although there were allegations that he had been robbed of victory due to underhand behaviour by Cribb’s supporters. Afterwards, Molineaux had gone on a tour of Scotland and Ireland where he fought off challengers, gave public displays of his skill and taught the ‘sweet science of bruising’.
Galway City Museum is marking the 200th anniversary of Molineaux’s death with an exhibition and a series of events including a talk by boxing historian Patrick Myler and a screening of the documentary, Ag Trasnú An Atlantaigh Dhuibh (Crossing the Black Atlantic). This documentary is the work of local filmmaker Des Kilbane and was shot in Virginia and Ireland. It premiered at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Macnas warming up for annual Halloween parade

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Macnas Theatre Company is one of Galway’s real treasures, a creative company that has reimagined itself in recent years under the artistic directorship of Noeline Kavanagh. Its talented members will take to the city’s streets on Sunday, October, 29, for this year’s Halloween Parade, for which the main sponsor is The Latin Quarter. The following day, Macnas will take part in Dublin’s Halloween celebrations and later this year, will bring that parade to Hull, the UK’s City of Culture.

Giants, goblins,wolves and the otheworldly creatures that Macnas are so good at creating fit in particularly well with Halloween, a time of year when the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its most permeable. The usual mix of mischief and mayhem can be expected at this family event, with the promise from Macnas of “some truly incredible new work”.

More details of that new work will be announced in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the company is seeking volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering in the parade and are over the age of 18, check out the details on the group’s Facebook page. Or, if you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring or supporting the parade, you can email admin@macnas.com.

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

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