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The Ascent of Manford

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Comedian Jason Manford plays two shows at the Galway Comedy Carnival

by Olaf Tyaransen

Jason Manford has more than 200,000 Twitter followers, but they haven’t heard anything from him in a while. As we speak, the 34-year-old Salford comedian has just finished a month-long social media fast in aid of his chosen charity, the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (raising a total of 16,000 euro).

“Yeah, I did a Twitter and Facebook fast,” he says. “It went marvellously. It was tough, actually, tougher than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t realise quite how much news and current affairs that I actually got from social media, which was quite interesting. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think many people read newspapers anymore. I tend to get my stuff from people posting links to it, the things that everyone is talking about. So, yeah, quite interesting, but I don’t know what’s going on [now] at all!”

Presumably he’s binging now?

“Ha, no, not really,” he laughs. “I’ve done a bit but nothing major, just sort of said that I was back. I feel like I went cold turkey. It was really tough for a few days, but then it got easier.”

Given his Irish roots, the award-winning comedian and TV presenter is looking forward to appearing at the Vodafone Comedy Carnival in Galway.

“I love Ireland,” he enthuses. “My grandparents are from Dublin and a couple of uncles from Limerick. So there’s a bit of Irish floating about. I love playing there.

I’m there most years in Dublin for the Vodafone Comedy Festival and I often holiday in the west of Ireland, in Galway. Good times.”

The last time Manford played Galway, at the Comedy Club in the Roisin Dubh, he apparently distinguished himself by being the first comedian to not swear once on stage during his act.

“No, I don’t think I did actually,” he concedes. “I might do this time!”

So it’s not a policy, then?

“No, it’s not. Well, it depends, really. What I always do with swearing is [only] if it adds something. You don’t swear for no reason.”

Perhaps the cleanliness of his mouth to the fact that he does so much TV. show regular and has presented such ITV’s Show me The Funny and A Does he prefer TV to live performance?

“Oh no, no, the other way around,” “With live, it’s just you. You wrote it, you edit it, you direct it, you produce it. There’s no Ofcom telling you what to say or what to do. It means that when it goes really well, it’s all you, it goes badly, well then it’s also all you – live.”

When was the last time he died on stage?

“Oh, god… I’d say about 10 or 11 years ago. It was a corporate awards show for Mercedes or someone – midnight and they’d been drinking since ten o’clock that morning I think they were looking for someone a bit more Bernard  Manning and they get my gentle brand of humour.

What kind of show will Manford be bringing to Galway?

“I think it’ll be a version of my last tour which finished in December which I never brought to Galway. I did a show called First World Problems and performed to about 400,000 people across 280 dates, so I think  it’ll be a version of that, really. I’m on with some other comics, as well. What’s good about the Galway festival, what I’ve heard from people who have played before, is that it’s kind of like a comedian’s holiday, so you come over, have a nice time, meet up with a load of mates who you haven’t seen for ages because you’re always touring separately and play a couple of gigs while you’re there, so I’m looking forward to just being around and getting involved.”

Do comedians tend to hang out together generally?

“We do at festivals and stuff, yeah. Obviously you’ll bump into one another at various events and what-not. John Bishop is one of my best friends, I had dinner with Sarah Millican and her husband last week… you hang out with your work friends, don’t you?”

What has been the highpoint of his career?

“I was nominated for the Perrier award in Edinburgh many years ago now, about 10 years ago. That was a big thing. I don’t know. I guess, as you grow older, you find new things to be excited about. Doing the Royal Variety Show was a big deal for someone who works in the entertainment industry in Britain. Playing to 12,000 people in the arena in Manchester, my hometown, was a big deal. Having a TV show with your own name on it is always good. There’s been lots of things, really. I did a show called Ordinary Lies, a drama for BBC One that aired last year which was very exciting. Touring with The Producers in Dublin and Belfast and various other places, saying the words that Mel Brooks wrote, was quite a thing, also.”

Does Jason Manford have a motto in life?

“I have various ones, really,” he muses. “I have proper ones like sage advice, I like to say that your horizons should become your middle ground so that each time you hit the thing you’re aiming for, aim for something else. I always say to new comics, don’t compare yourself to other comics. ‘Why’s he or she doing that? I’m funnier than that…’. There’s always going to be a Michael McIntyre and a Peter Kay and a Lee Evans.

“There’s always going to be someone more successful than you, so don’t worry about it. Just crack on and enjoy yourself and if you’re doing better now than you were doing six months ago, then you’re doing alright.”

Jason plays The Roisin Dubh Wed 21st Oct and The Spiegeltent,Eyre Square on Thurs 22nd Oct. for more details and for tickets see www.vodafonecomedycarnival.com 

CITY TRIBUNE

Anne’s Roses of Hope for Médecins Sans Frontières

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Kinvara artist Anne Korff has launched an initiative to support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

It’s a new book, Roses of Hope – Meditations, which contains a selection of six reproductions of her artwork, 25×25 cm in size, ring-bound and with a hanging attachment, ready to display on a wall.

Roses of Hope – Meditations was created as a series of paintings during the pandemic in 2020-21. Throughout this period of solitude and isolation, Anne wanted to share her artwork as a way of providing support, inspiration and nourishment for the soul. Each painting is a meditation using energy, colour and shape to bring hope and solace.

According to the Irish Times’ art critic Aidan Dunne, ‘Anne Korff’s paintings vividly reflect her experience of the refugee crisis . . . in a space of what feels like infinite loss, flickers of hope appear’.

Anne, who studied Fine Art in Berlin moved to Ireland in 1977. A decade later, inspired by her passion for history and archaeology she set up her own publishing company, Tír Eolas. Her publications include beautifully illustrated guides and maps of the Burren, south Galway, Lough Corrib, The Shannon Valley, as well as The Book of the Burren.

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.

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

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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Film Fleadh’s invitation to pitch a script

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Submissions are now open for the annual Film Fleadh Script Pitching Competition, which will be held next month as part of the online festival.

The competition focuses on the crucial role of good writing in the audio-visual sector and has provided many writers with an opportunity to get Entrants should submit a 500-word written pitch (from beginning to end with no cliff-hangers!) and applications are welcome from writers of any skill level. Any genre of feature drama, documentary or animation will be considered.  Finalists will be chosen to pitch their idea live online as an ‘Elevator Pitch’ of 90 seconds to a virtual panel of industry judges and an audience. The winner will be announced at the Fleadh’s online awards ceremony and will receive a prize of €3,000.

In addition to the money and the opportunity to pitch to industry professionals, there are other benefits to taking part. These includes opening the door to producers; writers having their project optioned by producers; being invited on mentorships to hone their craft; bolstering their confidence and giving them their first opportunity to win over an audience. For the winner, the money can allow them the time to develop and expand their pitch into a full film script.

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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Innovation and tradition at heart of Brú Theatre’s new programme

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Martha and Ronald Sayers and Melissa Gillespie, right, during rehearsals for ‘Ar Ais Aris’ overlooking Galway Bay off Grattan Road. The immersive virtual reality experience takes place from June 11-20 in Gaeltacht communities along the Atlantic coast. PHOTO JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Brú Theatre Company has become an integral part of Galway’s arts scene since it was founded three years ago by Artistic Director James Riordan and Producer Jill Murray. Focusing on new writing, mask theatre, live music and dance, this innovative, talented company has won over audiences and critics alike.

Brú has now launched its programme for the remainder of 2021 with a mix of work that includes virtual reality performances, two stage shows and a physical theatre school.

“From drag to keening, it’s going to be great,” according to James Riordan who is ready for the next challenge.

“The support we have got from audiences and organisations alike in the past year has spurred us forwards, and I can’t wait to share all the shows, songs and stories we’ve been cooking up over the last year.”

From the beginning, Brú has produced bilingual work across a range of genres and that’s the case with Ar Ais Arís, an Irish language, immersive Virtual Reality experience which is touring Gaeltacht areas from Donegal to Cork from this Friday, June 11 until Sunday, June 20.

The show will site audiences by the sea before transporting them to Connemara’s mountain tops and far-away piers as it explores emigration, displacement and the poetic body, all via virtual performances. Inspired by Irish language writers including Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Ar Ais Arís was originally commissioned by NUI Galway and Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. It’s being presented as part of Brightening Air/Coiscéim Coiligh, a countrywide series of arts events supported by the Arts Council. Tickets are available from www.brutheatre.com

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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