Magnetic in Dance Limerick this Thursday

IMDT_Magnetic_Image Chris Nash__5774_small2This Thursday (April 3) Dance Limerick will welcome renowned choreographer, John Scott, to Limerick with his latest production, Magnetic.

Director of Irish Modern Dance Theatre, John Scott, spent time in Dance Limerick during 2013 working with the MA Students in Contemporary Dance Performance. He will return to the city with his company to perform a brand new piece of dance theatre in the Daghdha Space, John’s Square.

Featuring five dancers who have performed in everything from Broadway musicals to Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Magnetic has been described as “an explosive and joyous dance theatre work where each dancer pushes to achieve new levels of perfection: physical, technical and spiritual”.

Dance Limerick Director, Jenny Traynor, said that “supporting dance and dancers in Limerick and beyond is central to what we do”.

“We were delighted to have John Scott working in the space last year and are excited to see this new work. Knowing the passion John always puts into his work we are sure this will be an exciting and thrilling performance.”

Irish Modern Dance Theatre_Magnetic_Image Chris Nash__5832A4Renowned for his quirky humorous performances John Scott’s work has been described as “Beckett meets Monty Python”. Irish Modern Dance Theatre is based in Dublin and the Limerick performance is part of a nationwide tour.

Magnetic takes place at 7.30pm.Tickets are €12/10 and can be purchased from or by contacting 061-467813.

Dance Limerick is supported by The Arts Council and Limerick City Council Arts Office.


Browsing book covers and other procrastination activities

jwatersI went to a very interesting talk about book covers at the Ennis Bookclub Festival recently…yes, I am officially a massive nerd. I’ve previously written about my reading addiction and how much I love the library, so this revelation ain’t shockin’ anyone.

Moving swiftly on, the presentation, ‘Judging a book by its cover’ by John McMonagle was entertaining, as well as informative. As a graphic designer, he had some dos and don’ts of book cover design and took listeners through some of his favourites and what he felt were bad examples. Did you know a red cover apparently makes a book more saleable?

coverHe showed a lot of covers and spoke on them but chose this one for Stoner (see right) as his favourite.

John also mentioned a few websites/artists, which are worth a look. Firstly, Book Cover Archive has some a great stuff on it. It will really make you appreciate the art that is so commonplace and all around- on coffee tables, propping up furniture, teetering in dangerously leaning piles etc.

Cover Spy is a blog/website where book lovers report what covers they see readers perusing on public transport in the US and describe the people too. It’s seriously voyeuristic. I’d love to see an Irish version.

Nina Katchadourian is an artist and one of her projects is ‘Sorted Books’ where she finds books in a certain place etc and makes short poems out of arranging the spines in a certain way. The results are very clever (below).


515j1-87XGL._SX300_Another artist who uses books as inspiration is Jane Mount who makes paintings/illustrations out of imagined bookshelves. She illustrated a book, My Ideal Bookshelf, featuring bookshelves of great thinkers and artists etc.  Some people say you are what you read. I have a big shelf just for my Stephen King volumes so answers on a postcard on what that says about me.

bemboszoo4John mentioned a few famous designers including Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich and he also uses typefaces to illustrate work, which is quite cool and very effective (see right).

I gather the festival was a success and when I grow up, I want to be in a book club.

All this book talk made something random pop into my head—‘The Boobs Song’ by Priscilla Ahn. It involves a hilarious anecdote about snooping on someone’s bookshelves…and kazoo solos. I mean what more could you want?!

PS: For all book/writing/poetry/theatre fans out there, the Cúirt International Literature Festival is on in Galway from April 8-13. I’ve been before (mostly for the theatre aspect) and it’s a bit of craic.

Exciting theatre for Limerick this week

All you theatre fans out there have lots to look forward over the coming days with a variety of shows on in Limerick.

-1The Bridge Below The Town, a brand spanking new play by Pat McCabe, author of darkly comic tomes like The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto, will come to the Lime Tree Theatre this Friday and Saturday nights (March 14 and 15) as part of a national tour.

McCabe describes the play as “6 parts Glenroe to 5 parts Harold Pinter”—quite possibly the most engaging proposition I’ve heard this year.

The blurb is as follows: “Love will survive us all. In this new play The Bridge Below The Town, set in the colourful, innocent world of 1950’s small-town Ireland, Golly Murray discovers this gratifying truth. Almost broken by the travails of life’s struggles, she and her husband Patsy are seen to triumph over adversity in the most extraordinary and uplifting way. From the team that brought you The Dead School comes a rollercoaster production about life, love, Butlins and Nuns who make marla men all to the beat of a classic soundtrack.”

NASC Theatre Network in association with Livin’ Dred Theatre Company produced the play and reunited McCabe with director, Padraic McIntyre. The collaboration previously spawned The Dead School, which was a stellar hit in 2010 and was nominated for three Irish Times Theatre Awards. It toured to full houses nationwide before playing at the Dublin Theatre Festival and The Tricyle Theatre, London.

The impressive cast includes: Malcolm Adams (Ripper Street, Trivia) Lorna Quinn (Fair City) Gina Moxley (Game of Thrones, Stardust, The Butcher Boy) Damian Devaney (The Clinic, Raw) Janet Moran (Trivia, Love/Hate, Breakfast on Pluto) and Catherine Walsh (Eden, Casualty, Druid Synge).

Tickets are €18/16 and I can guarantee that if you ring the box office (061-774774) and scream “I LOVE PAT MCCABE!!!!!” down the phone…you will seriously unnerve a staff member there. Maybe don’t do that but just book online at

hera_mediumAlso available to book on the Lime Tree website/box office is Irish classic, Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey—presented by the long-standing local theatre group, The Quarry Players. That is running all week nightly until Saturday (March 15) in 69 O’Connell Street (former Belltable).

Directed by John Anthony Murphy, Quarry is proud to present “the richly humorous yet deeply moving classic”.

Set in a time of civil strife, a mother struggles to hold her family together against extreme poverty  and a feckless, idler husband who drinks his days away. Hope comes from an unexpected inheritance and for a time the promise of a better life seems possible. Brittle, heroic and heartbreaking, Juno Boyle is not only a woman of her time but a character that resonates still for us today. A searing indictment of social and domestic upheaval, this timeless masterpiece is not to be missed.” Tickets are €15/13.

And in case, you’ve been living in a cave (because the announcements/media saturation is too intense to ignore), the spectacular show, Fuerza Bruta, starts from this Thursday March 13 and runs until March 22 (two shows nightly for the most part). It will run in the Culture Factory, Plassey Park Road, Castletroy. The postmodern show hails from Buenos Aires and has been performed all over the world.

fuerza-bruta-2-816x1024The blurb is: “This show will astonish and amaze you. The fastest-selling show ever at London’s The Roundhouse, and playing to sold out houses around the world, Limerick will host the Irish premier of Fuerza Bruta!”

“Featuring mind-blowing visual effects that must be seen to be believed, it’s an all-standing rave of a show.  Join these outstanding performers in a foot-stomping spectacular full of sexual energy, gravity-defying stunts and moments of real wonder – a Kafkaesque suited figure bursting full throttle through a series of moving walls, figures swooping through the shadows, a watery world suspended immediately above the audience. This is an event where worlds collide, where dreams are real, and reality takes a back seat. Give in to it, let go and enjoy the ride.”

More information and booking at Tickets can also be purchased at 061-312802 between 9-5.30pm on weekdays. They are priced at €28/20.

Still malaise over City of Culture

1897807_10153846238090181_2010842450_nIt’s been a stormy start to the City of Culture year in Limerick, in more ways than one!

After the crisis meeting in early January, I said that I would keep people informed of the follow-up meeting. Unfortunately, this meeting never happened. This was very disappointing given the level of interest and hunger for answers BUT actions were taken based on the original meeting. More on that later. Before I go further, I will say that a new public meeting has been organised by Richie Ryan—the man behind the first such meeting. This is scheduled for this Thursday, March 6, at 7pm in the Clarion Hotel.

This meeting was called mainly because The Irish Independent reported a few days ago that the CEO post vacated by Patricia Ryan has not yet been advertised. Shoddy Ted, given that Mike Fitzpatrick, leading artist and Head of Limerick School of Art & Design, was appointed as an interim CEO on January 7.

Two months=nearly 17% of 2014! And presumably, even if they advertise the post tomorrow, it won’t be filled until the end of March or 25% of 2014. Swift action Irish style! Even though the job is in good hands, it’s too slow. If you want to find the thick-skinned person who’s going to sup from the poisoned chalice, ye better get cracking lads. Just sayin’…

After the meeting, it was announced that the board would “broaden its membership” to include two other directors (along with Mr Fitzpatrick when someone else takes over) representing Limerick’s arts and culture community. Also, two local public representatives will join the board. Has this happened yet? Why not?

The board has managed to advertise a tender for a marketing and communications service with a contract from March to November. The decision to do that was informed partly by consultation with the people behind Derry’s UK City of Culture designation for 2013.

People are asking questions like: What do you need to hire someone when you have the Limerick Marketing Company, set up solely to promote Limerick in terms of a destination for tourism, industrial investment etc? While valid, the LMC has quite a broad remit and the City of Culture is a huge event and a special case. I don’t really have a problem with the idea of bringing in a specialist except that IT’S AT LEAST A YEAR TOO LATE! Like everything else with the City of Culture, it’s a fun scramble to try to cover the essential bases like budgets, staffing, a marketing strategy et al.

While I’m on a roll, does everyone know about Fuerza Bruta yet? There are banners when you come off roundabouts, there are television and radio ads, Facebook ads and the local press is full of ads and coverage—much like Riverdance in January. Blanket coverage for one big event and on to the next; one big push per quarter annum is it?

Does anyone know what else is going on for City of Culture? No, not really. I have a Jan-March programme, which looks very impressive but there’s no such thing as a simple ‘at a glance’ calendar arranged by date (take a leaf out of the Lime Tree Theatre’s literature). I tried to sign up for a newsletter on the website (which is a bit awkward and convoluted anyway) and there was a technical problem. As far as I can tell, there’s no information desk/central box office to go to purchase physical tickets or get programmes etc. There doesn’t seem to be an option for combination tickets (buying for several events at once at a discount) or early bird tickets at a discount- all things that might help.

There should be a manned, city centre retail unit literally packed with posters and leaflets detailing what’s going on. The inside of vacant shop-front windows should be plastered in material. Buses, billboards, viral video…there are so many different types of media to choose from. I see a lot of stuff in the local papers about events (some are even specific City of Culture events) and a bit of coverage in the national papers but is there enough awareness, nationally or internationally?

Oh, City of Culture is still in the news all right. The budget will be audited. Top job not advertised.There has been a lot of of material written, none very complimentary like here; here and here.

3469799751My personal favourite news item was from the Limerick Leader and was Chairman of the board, Pat Cox, speaking at a dinner for the Irish Technology Leadership Group at the end of January, made comparisons with the Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet.

He was literally ‘hamming’ it up and of course, Chuckles the Clown AKA Minister Jimmy Deenihan was there too. He’s going to be in Limerick so much this year that they could allocate him one of those artists’ apartments down in John’s Square. He’s delighted to cut ribbons and make speeches but yet, he totally shirked any responsibility in creating the teething problems with City of Culture and neglected his duty to weigh in to resolve the controversy of the start of the year. Where’s the leadership?

Pat Cox: “We had a spectacular launch on New Year’s Eve, accompanied by no less than two splendid fire work displays, followed by an unexpected media orgy of fireworks…They entered stage left and exited stage right…Our little bout of unwanted publicity at the start of the year was rather like that moment. The point I want to emphasise was that Hamlet will go on.”

Newsflash: the NYE launch was less than “spectacular”. I didn’t see you there. Both sets of fireworks only lasted a few minutes (less than 10 combined I’d wager); the concert was poorly organised and staged purely for RTÉ with no regard for the audience who paid to see it. Did people in Dublin have to pay into their NYE concert? The “little bout of unwanted publicity” was three key personnel walking out, the CEO having to resign, hundreds of people attending a meeting demanding change and the whole country talking about what a f**k-up it was. I’d hate to see a big bout of unwanted publicity. It may have been unwanted but not unwarranted.

52095He referred to “six figure deals” being brokered. What are these deals funding exactly? Stating that “Hamlet will go on” doesn’t restore any of my confidence. FYI it wasn’t a happy ending. A few people in the local arts community went on to quote Hamlet too: “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain”. He’s not quite Claudius now but he’s not doing himself any favours by coming across as glib.

Mr Cox paid tribute to Mike Fitzpatrick at the dinner too but whenever I read or hear comments made about the interim CEO by him or anyone else officially connected with CoC, it smacks of a bad break-up where you were left feeling humiliated and then going around telling everyone “Well, I’m better off without them. Look, I found someone new!” This is not in any way to take away from Mike Fitzpatrick but he should’ve been on that board from day one and should’ve never had to take a sabbatical from his job to clean up a mess created by the Government—local and national—and the City of Culture board.

I’ve said before that the board members have good intentions and I believe it. The board took action after the meeting. Fair play, but it has to be consistent. Now, it looks very much like they paid lip service and didn’t follow through. I don’t think the key players involved ate enough of the humble pie served up at that first meeting. Hence, meeting 2.

Now, what I’d like to know is:

  • When will a new CEO/Artistic Director be appointed, if at all?
  • Is the artistic community represented on the board yet and if not now, when?
  • Are artists and practitioners getting the back-up and financial support needed?
  • Are communities getting the back-up and financial support needed?
  • Basically, is the City of Culture initiative meeting and responding to the needs of the artistic community and the audience?

If so, brilliant! If not, how can this be addressed with a minimum amount of weeping of gnashing of teeth?

UPDATE: Someone very kindly informed me that there are now artist/local representatives on the board. Namely: Louise Donlon from The Lime Tree Theatre; Karen O’Donnell O’Connor from Paul Partnership and James Lawlor from the Literature strand of The Arts and Artists Pillar. Some positive news at least BUT that same person expressed disappointment that we’re realistically looking at 6 months, rather than a year, as City of Culture because of the confusion and disorganisation.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not as bowled over as I thought I would be about the whole thing. They say “Aim low and you’ll never be disappointed” and I had high hopes. I hope not too high because even though I am an optimist, I had a feeling this kind of dysfunction would occur. There is always a buzz in Limerick around the arts and culture scene. I love that and it hasn’t changed. But I personally don’t feel the love around this event; my goodwill has been diminished somewhat. In what is supposed to be the most exciting year for Limerick in terms of the arts, I’m still trying to get that bitter taste left by the furore at the start of the year out of my mouth…

Table Quiz this Thursday (Feb 6)

1507977_10152589895468989_727434679_nGood fun for a good cause? Yes, please! There will be a Table Quiz in aid of Milford Care Centre on Thursday February 6 at 8pm at Pery’s Hotel, Glentworth Street.

Master of Ceremonies is Myles Breen; quizmaster is Mike Finn and musical accompaniment is by David Irwin. Apparently there will be “lots of questions to get your brain rocking and rolling”.

The event is organised in memory of Trish Prendergast. Tables of 4. €10 per person.