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Personal and political meet in powerful Yael Farber drama

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Arts Week with Judy Murphy – judymurphy@ctribune.ie

She is renowned for creating drama that addresses big social and political issues, and has won awards internationally for this work, but South African-born director Yael Farber, who returns to Galway Arts Festival this year, says her primary role is to tell a good story and move people.

Her work for this year’s Festival is Mies Julie, Farber’s interpretation of August Strindberg’s 1880s classic play about class and gender, transported to a South African setting, where race is also added to the mix. 

In 2012 the production from South Africa’s Baxter Theatre in association with the South African State Theatre, won Best of Edinburgh Fringe Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award and an Edinburgh Herald Angel Award. Last December, Mies Julie was in The Guardian’s top ten best theatre picks of 2012 and The New York Times Top Ten Plays of 2012.

Yael is currently in Mumbai, India, where she is working with a group of Indian actors on a play based on the horrifying gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman, a medical student, in Delhi last year. The resulting play, Nirbhaya (Fearless) will premiere at Edinburgh in August.

She speaks quickly, but everything she says is measured – she is a woman who takes drama seriously and has done since her youth in Johannesburg.

“In making theatre I’m interested in just showing the tender human mess of it all, and don’t have grandiose notions about changing the world,” she explains.  “I have to be a very good storyteller and get good storytellers to join me because good theatre is about stories well told. They can be simple, but they have to be good.”

Theatre is a very powerful ritual and it links us back to our forefathers, she adds. “Telling people stories is a way of generating a capacity for empathy because it defies the myth that we are different.

“It works its magic if you bring magic to it, because the audience will give back what you give to it. My mandate is to make theatre that’s compelling and moves people.”

She certainly does that, as her previous production at Galway Arts Festival proved. Molora was adapted from the Greek tragedy, The Oresteia and based on South Africa’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

 Mies Julie too has won praise  everywhere it has played. And it was because of yet another work that Yael got a call from Indian actress Poorna Jagannathan last year following the death of the young Delhi woman, which affected Yael greatly, as it did so many people.

“Poorna had seen one of my works, Amajuba in New York,” the director explain. “I do two strands of work, testimonial or adaptations of classics and Amajuba was testimonial.”

The testimonial plays involve real people’s stories, recreated for theatre. It’s a powerful way of engaging with people and is the style she is adopting in India. Poorna who had been a victim of a sexual assault in her youth, told Yael that women in Mumbai were ready to talk about their experiences and invited her there. Otherwise, Yael would “never have assumed to arrive in India and tell that story”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Work for children of all ages in extended Baboró programme

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Grand Soft Day, a new co-production from Branar is for children aged three to six.

The 26th annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will take place from Friday, October 14, to Sunday, October 23, in theatres, galleries, schools and communities in Galway City and County.

This year’s extended 10-day festival will have more than 50 live events, presented by companies from all over Ireland and Europe, including Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Scotland and England.

These will include a special collection of European work made for children up to six years, as well as residencies in special schools and child-led projects.

Children aged eight and older are invited to join the surreal world of Der Lauf, where nothing is quite as it seems. In this show, two circus performers from Belgian company Le Cirque du Bout du Monde, compete in a series of bizarre challenges as they juggle blindly, spin plates and stack glasses, while wearing boxing gloves. As the glasses rise, so do the stakes. The children are their only guides and will either help lead the clowns to order or towards further chaos.

Ballet Ireland will present The Glasshouse, a dance performance for children aged six and older. It is the story of Fiach, an earnest youngster who is on a mission to repopulate the world with plants and turn it green. This fun, compelling show, by exciting young choreographer Róisín Whelan, is about human courage, friendship and the determination to survive. The Glasshouse promises “moments of suspense and joy, exhilarating dancing, vibrant costumes and magical music”.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

A feast of Butlers at the Kenny Gallery

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The Butler family, from left: Liam, Ronan, Lisa and Davin.

Sculptor Liam Butler will return to the City’s Kenny Gallery this Friday night, August 12, for his first exhibition in more than 10 years. The new show, Copper Roots, is an even more special occasion for Liam as it will be his first time exhibiting alongside his children, Davin, Lisa and Ronan.

Liam is a self-taught sculptor who has been creating and exhibiting work for almost 30 years. He has passed on his craft to Davin, Lisa and Ronan, teaching them the techniques he developed throughout his career, as well as his love for copper and its artistic possibilities.

In 2020, during Covid, the Butlers were all together, back home in Galway for the first time in many years. They rekindled their passion for sculpture, spending time in Liam’s workshop, creating   new work, alongside each another.

There was learning, creativity and experimentation, they say. The resulting exhibition at Kennys’ celebrates reconnecting with family roots, and passions passed on from generation to generation.

A welder by training, Liam grew up on a small farm in Kilkenny. He worked in Germany and America for years before returning to Ireland, settling in An Spidéal where he began experimenting, using the skills he learned as an industrial welder to create simple sculptures from steel.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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.

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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

Sisters in perfect tune for unique musical snapshot

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Breda and Claire Keville, photographed by Nutan. (Inset) The sisters, as depicted by artist Isabel Alegria, on the cover of the album.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“A snapshot in time,” is how musician and composer Claire Keville from Claran, near Headford, describes Music from Galway, the new CD which she and her sister Breda have just released.

With Breda on fiddle and Claire on concertina, it’s a gorgeous collection of music from all parts of Galway and beyond, a mix of slow airs, gigs, reels and marches. The sisters are accompanied by guitarist and longtime musical friend Terence O’Reilly on several tracks, which they recorded in the studio of his East Clare home in April of this year.

Claire, a French and Music teacher in Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes) in the city for the past decade, and Breda, who works as a radiation therapist in UHG, have previously released solo albums. Breda’s, The Hop Down, was released in 2006 and The Daisy Field, from Clare came out in 2009. Each guested on the other’s album, but this is their first joint recording, a project they’d been discussing for years.

When it did finally happen, it came together a lot more quickly than either of them had anticipated.

“I didn’t think we’d have it done this year,” says Breda, as Claire recalls that they discussed its timeframe in April, while driving from Galway to Terence’s home in Clare.

After that first day, when they recorded 10 tracks and realised that most of them would make the album, they reckoned it was achievable. Another session in An Spidéal with musician, ‘talented engineer and general all-rounder’,  Ronan Browne, convinced them it was and Music from Galway was launched at the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay in July.

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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