Luke Murphy to premier new work in Dance Limerick this Thursday

luke_murphy_4_webWith the New Year comes a new programme for Dance Limerick. US based dancer and choreographer, Luke Murphy, will premiere his exciting new work Your Own Man/Mad Notions at the Dance Limerick base this Thursday, February 26 at 8pm.

“Originally from Cork, now based in New York, Luke Murphy fuses storytelling, rich imagery and dynamic movement in Your Own Man/Mad Notions to create a personal essay on the nature of leaving, returning and searching for home.  In this intimate and personal work, Murphy scales down and examines his opinions, his insecurities and his ambitions.”

“This new piece of dance theatre reveals the quiet story of a man from Cork outside of Cork, a dancer from Ireland away from Ireland and the difficulties of maintaining a long distance relationship with one’s cultural identity.  Both fragile and blunt, this multi-disciplinary work examines the satisfaction of following your own path and the fear of losing that small thread in the labyrinth that will lead you home.”

Announcing details of the show, Jenny Traynor, Director of Dance Limerick, said: “We’re very excited that Luke has chosen to premiere his thoughtful, beautiful new work at Dance Limerick.  Luke completed a residency with us last October, which enabled him to immerse himself in developing this new piece.  In a sense, now, the work is coming full circle, being performed to an audience for the first time back here.  I can’t wait to see it and I would heartily encourage anyone with an interest in dance, dance theatre or even just in trying something different to come along.  You won’t be disappointed!”

Luke Murphy’s is a performer and choreographer based between New York City and Ireland.  His own work has been presented in New York, throughout Ireland and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His first full length work, Drenched, premiered at the Absolut Fringe Festival in 2012 and toured the US, while in June 2013 he premiered his second work, Icarus, as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival.

His work has been supported through commissions and residencies from a wide range of arts organisations including the Arts Council, Culture Ireland, Dance Ireland and Dance Limerick.  He trained at the Legat School in East Sussex and Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Luke’s work has been variously described as “passionate”, “fearless” and “mesmerising”, appealing “to anyone who appreciates beautiful movement and dance theatre”.

Tickets are €12/€10 (conc.).  Further information and booking details are available from www.dancelimerick.ie.

Local Arts News: Good and Bad

Welcome to 2015!! After an truly packed arts calendar in Limerick last year, I hope that momentum will carry on and I’m sure the community- whether practitioners or audience members- will guarantee this. Limerick will be one of the cities vying for European Capital of Culture 2020 and after a great City of Culture 2014 year, we’ve shown that ‘Yes We Can/Is Féidir Linn’ spirit that is essential to win the prestigious bid. Now onto some news…

The Good…

The Arts Council has awarded €1.8m in funding to Limerick arts organisations—a 3.5% increase on last year, The Limerick Leader has reported.

The Irish Chamber Orchestra received €860,000; the Association of Irish Choirs received €125,000; Limerick Printmakers, €60,000; Fresh Film Festival, €53,000; Dance Limerick, €125,000; EVA International, €222,000; Limerick City Gallery of Art, €112,500; Limerick Arts and Culture Centre (69 O’Connell Street, former Belltable) and the Lime Tree Theatre, €125,000 and Friars’ Gate Theatre, €20,000. The Limerick City and County Arts Service received €102,000.

The results of the funding means that there will be some great theatre, dance, music, film, visual art and more in local venues this year. Huzzah!!

On the Wire (7)On The Wire—a Made in Limerick project for City of Culture 2014—has been nominated for a prestigious Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Production. The piece, about World War I as seen through a local lens, was really excellent and a true highlight of the year. The atmospheric venue in the Sailor’s Home was complemented by amazing set/production design and the performances were superb. On the Wire was written and performed by Marie Boylan, Mike Finn, Conor Madden, Amanda Minihan and Shane Whisker as was directed by Terry O’Donovan  for Wildebeest Theatre Company.

Limerick City of Culture was also nominated for the Judges’ Special Award. Congrats to every involved with both nominees. The awards ceremony take place on February 22, at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

The Bad…

It is with heavy heart that I say that one of my favourite regular theatre fixtures in Limerick, Theatre at the Savoy, is taking a break for the next while. The good news is that the venue, the Savoy Hotel, was purchased last year and will undergo some refurbishment—including the areas near the lobby where the monthly event has taken place since 2012.

A statement released said that “regrettably, Theatre at the Savoy will…go dark for the next few months”.

“Theatre at the Savoy opened its doors at The Savoy Hotel in Limerick in 2012 and since then has brought almost 70 different quality national and international productions to Limerick. In three short years, Theatre at the Savoy became a renowned fixture on the theatre touring circuit.”2dbbda33-04c7-4c82-ba5c-b866bd033f7c

Colm O’Brien, Maeve McGrath and Pius McGrath of Payday Productions (which ran Theatre at the Savoy) acknowledged “the management and staff of The Savoy Hotel along with the management of The Lime Tree Theatre for invaluable support over the past three years. Most importantly we would like to thank our loyal audience and members of the local press without whom Theatre at the Savoy would simply have been a good idea, instead of the cultural success it became. Thank you all”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing lots of the productions over the last few years and greatly enjoyed most of them. Personal highlights for me included I Do, Bandit, My Life in Dresses, The Sweet Shop, The Wheelchair on my Face, Dorset Street Toys, A Chip in the Sugar and Songs of Joyce to name but a few. The event showed that there is a hunger for lunchtime/café style theatre in the city. We can only hope that Theatre at the Savoy returns with gusto later in 2015.

Chaplet of Roses at Dance Limerick tomorrow (Thurs Dec 18)

Photo credit: Alina O’Shaughnessy

Photo credit: Alina O’Shaughnessy

Chaplet of Roses, a new work by locally-based choreographer/ dancer, Angie Smalis, and performance artist, Colin Gee, will premiere tomorrow (Thursday December 18) at Dance Limerick (St John’s Church, John’s Square) at 8pm.

“Inspired by the 15th century tapestry Honor Making a Chaplet of Roses, this beautiful new dance work is a contemporary interpretation of an allegory of courtly love depicted in the artwork…The tapestry was created circa 1410 in The Netherlands and was itself inspired by romances of the 12th and 14th centuries. It is now held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Four characters are depicted in the work: one is making a crown of roses with the caption ‘I am Honor who makes chaplets for my children’; a second says ‘To please my friend better, I shall put on this pretty hat’; an inscription above the third identifies him as ‘Pleasure’ while the fourth has the caption ‘Homage to my good lady, my protectress’.”

Colin Gee and Angie Smalis are developing this work while in residence at Dance Limerick this month. The duo first met during a Mediated Bodies workshop in Ireland in 2006, which explored the interaction of dance, choreography and media technologies, and made a video together in 2009.  Chaplet of Roses is a natural progression of this interest, offering a perspective of the work through an online video, in addition to the live performance.

Photo credit: Alina O’Shaughnessy

Photo credit: Alina O’Shaughnessy

Reflecting on the work, Colin Gee said: “This project seeks to explore a contemporary interpretation of a courtly love allegory as a notion of individual and community morality…Our interest centres on how honour is linked to community and moral accountability through the consideration of multiple perspectives: the viewer’s and those of the figures depicted in the tapestry”.

Angie Smalis added: “This is a really interesting process, exploring the characters in this beautiful artwork, what they represent and how they relate to each other. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with Colin on this and I love the idea of creating the different perspectives of the work through the film and the live performance. It will be quite different, so I really hope lots of people will come to see what it’s all about!”
Tickets are €12/€10.  For further information and booking, see www.dancelimerick.ie. Chaplet of Roses is funded by the Arts Council through the Dance Project Award and supported by Dance Limerick.

I want to give a special mention to Dance Limerick for the team’s great work since its formation. It has brought much needed life to its base as a venue over the past year—hosting a broad range of events—as well as acting as a resource organisation for professional dance in Limerick and beyond. Dance Limerick hosts performances, talks, classes, workshops, projects and residencies and provides opportunities for dance to be created, experienced and discussed in many ways, by all ages.  For further details, see www.dancelimerick.ie.

Giant video projection, LANDLOCKED, to open tomorrow (Dec 12) until Jan 3

A002_C004_0609K1A large-scale outdoor projection of a series of documentary video portraits, LANDLOCKED, is being launched tomorrow (Friday December 12) at 5.30pm in the Thomas Street Community Gardens.

The work by video artist Christina Gangos will run until January 3 and will feature 10 people “who form the fabric of Limerick” projected on a large city wall on Thomas Street in Limerick City centre.

It was shot by the artist when she was living in Limerick and all the participants stand in silence. Participants were asked “to contemplate life-changing events for 10 minutes while they were filmed. Their thoughts are kept private, yet the camera documents the physical process, the slight movements and gentle motions of a body in thought”.

The people who took part in the recording range in age from eight years old to 50 (at the time of filming).

The project aims to create “a space for silence and stillness above the busy Christmas city streets”.

The giant video projections will be 20m x 11.25m and will be visible on the wall above the Thomas Street Community Gardens during the hours of darkness. The optimum time to view this work is from 5.30pm-7am.

Commenting on the installation of this work, the artist Christina Gangos, said she was “very excited to have the opportunity to project this work in a large-scale outdoor location”.

“So often people and their thoughts are invisible to us, in LANDLOCKED I wanted to create a space for us to commune with others, without shame, social coding or language,” she added.

Ms Gangos is an independent documentary filmmaker, who lived in Limerick city for six years and is currently based in Athens, Greece. She studied journalism and history at the American College of Greece and then went on to do a Masters in Documentary by Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her films have been shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Center Pompidou in Paris, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Gate Theater London, IFI Dublin and various major festivals.

“Her films aim to capture everyday moments and processes, inundated with the ability to disclose reality to the patient viewer. Stripping layer by layer of social representation and décor by elongating time to its normal length, her works in film are documents of bare living.”

Originally created with support and funding from the Arts Council, the exhibition and installation of LANDLOCKED in this prominent outdoor city location is is made possible by the support of Limerick City of Culture 2014. The support of Tony Clarke from City Centre Car Park was also much appreciated.

For more information, see www.landlocked-ireland.com.

Randolf and the Crokers release debut single

Hangin' Single CoverLimerick band, Randolf & the Crokers, will release their debut single, Hangin’ tomorrow (Friday December 12).

The six piece have been gigging a lot locally and any time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing them—most recently supporting Brad Pitt Light Orchestra at the speigeltent at the Culture & Chips Festival—they’ve  been great. Their sound is a lovely blend of blues, country and rock and the single is no exception.

The track will be available on digital download through all the major retailers. It was recorded and mixed in the Lakelands Studios in Athlone by Mike O’Dowd and mastered by Wav Mastering in Limerick by Richard Dowling .

To hear ‘Hangin’ live, the band is having a release party on December 18 in Cobblestone Joe’s—co-inciding with the premiere of the music video for the single, shot by Shane Serrano.

The band formed in 2011 and is now taking the plunge with their first single and an EP in the works for early 2015. Over the past few years the band has played many support slots playing with the likes of O Emperor, Mark Geary, Moscow Metro, John Blek & the Rats and The Lost Brothers.

For more information on the band see www.facebook.com/randolfmusic or @RandolfMusic.

The local music scene has had a stellar year with the success of Fox Jaw, Leading Armies, Moscow Metro and Protobaby to name but a few. Roll on 2015 and more great music!