Buzz, chat, art, music and much more with Elemental

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 21.23.09The Elemental Arts & Culture Festival is going for its third outing in the city this week, starting this Thursday (Sept. 11) and running until Sunday (Sept. 14). It has been getting better year on year so here’s hoping it’s a cracker this time around.

As always, there is a very diverse set of events planned taking in visual art, forgotten skills, dance, theatre, music, eco-workshops, spoken word, walking tours and more. From a band in a bookshop to an exhibition about beloved toys; from a play about ‘manning up’ to street performances, there is lots to enjoy (I outline two of the most unique events in detail below).

Jennifer Allen, of Elemental, said: “We are very eager that all age groups can find something engaging in the programme, where you come away having learned something new, or you see something in a new light. All while having fun, of course!”

The full programme (very stylish in itself) is available at locations citywide or online at

Salon du Chat

SdC_EP_1Fresh from their success at Electric Picnic, Salon du Chat has a new talk ‘menu’ for Elemental this Friday at 7pm in Canteen, Mallow Street.

“Adding a touch of theatre and the surreal to the art of conversation, Salon du Chat is an arts project with a twist. Recreating the atmosphere of Bohemian Paris, with a knowing nod to online chat rooms, Salon du Chat is a shrine to the art of good conversation. Relax with a welcoming glass of bubbly as you browse the Conversation Menu. Then a friendly chat hostess will seat you at a table with a mix of friends and strangers and help you to spark up the conversation. Like any meal the starters will get the palate warmed up, while mains are for meatier matters and dessert could get risqué.”

Amongst the most popular topics at Electric Picnic were ‘What the Frack?’, ‘Give Me a Reason to Love You’, and ‘Online Sharing is Caring’. Expect to find an eclectic mix of pop culture, politics, music, sport, word play and the whimsical.

I tried this out with some friends at the Culture & Chips Festival spiegeltent in June and it was interesting. One tip: try to get a mix of friends and strangers because it’s easy to just shoot the breeze with pals otherwise! Salon du Chat is supported by Limerick City of Culture 2014.

We bring the summer with us

JackTheBeemanRyanStatueThis is a new bee-themed sound installation from award-winning Limerick audio creators Grey Heron Media, which will make its debut at the festival. In collaboration with Limerick’s Buzzing, Grey Heron has produced a special, newly composed sound experience.

The installation will run from 10.30am-5.30pm on Saturday September 13 at the Coach House @ Culture House, No. 2 Pery Square.

It’s open to all ages and only requires participants to relax back into a deckchair and open their ears. The fun and immersive 12 minute sound installation will run continuously from 10.30am to 5pm and will also be interlaced with three 30 minute sound-based events, which will further explore our relationship with bees and the natural world around us.

The nice people at Grey Heron say: “As visitors step into the Coach House they will be transported, by a multi-layered sonic experience, back to the golden summers of their youth or to the sunny days of the months just gone. They’ll feel the remembered heat on your face as it’s evoked by a soundscape of jangling ice-cream vans, sizzling barbecues, swooping swallows, sliothars on ash, crashing waves and the hum of the bee-loud glade. But our summers and the sounds of summer are changing in almost imperceptible ways, until we take time to listen. There are silences amidst the sound.”

It’s a seriously enticing description! The accompanying events are as follows:

12.30-1pm: Lift it up to the Sun: Sound selections from the field(s): This 30 minute listening event presented by Grey Heron Media features recordings from their varied back-catalogue, which reflect on our relationship with the natural world around us, interspersed with reflections from the team on some of the stories from behind the mic. This is an event for anyone interested in great audio storytelling and how people respond to the natural environment.

3-3.30pm: Bee Experimental: Practical things you can do to help bees buzz: This event is hosted by Dr. Veronica Santorum of Limerick’s Buzzing. Over the course of half an hour Veronica will tell us about the practical things that we can all do to help wild bees in our locality, while also giving us an insight into why we should be working together to help wild bees in Limerick.

5-5.30pm: A Life with Bees: A Conversation with added sound: The final event is a very special one-off public interview with Jack “the Beeman” Ryan, the famous honey “farmer” from Emly. In a life-time devoted to bees and beekeeping Jack has built a very special relationship with the bees and other wildlife with which he shares his home, a honey farm on the border of Limerick and Tipperary. Jack, now in his 80s, is a very passionate and charismatic advocate for wildlife and in this special event he will share his memories and philosophical view of the relationship between humans and bees with the audience.

Limerick Arts Encounter/Dance Limerick events to note

Limerick Arts Encounter has been running, and will continue to run, various arts events around the city.

I saw the exceptional What Happened Bridgie Cleary by Bottom Dog TC in mid October and reviewed it for Irish Theatre Magazine. Read it here.

The episodic theatre piece, The Boneyard Man, has been running weekly for a month at Dr John’s to great success. The last instalment this Thursday is sold out but don’t fret, there are other delights to sample this week.

Sorcha Furlong & Gemma Doorly- Performing in W.A.G at Theatre at the SavoyTheatre at the Savoy is upon us. W.A.G by Gemma Doorly is in the lunchtime and teatime slots on Thursday and lunchtime on Friday.

W.A.G is a hilarious black comedy about the forced showdown between an Irish Soccer star’s wife and his mistress. Set in the lavish surroundings of the soccer star’s mansion while he is away, his wife has invited a guest around for a drink and a chat – his mistress. Armed with intimate photos of the mistress and a threat to leak the story to the newspapers – W.A.G is ready to fight for her marriage to the death!”

Evening Theatre at the Savoy then follows on this Friday and Saturday at 7pm. Galway’s Fregoli Theatre Company will present Dorset Street Toys.

Dorset Street Toys-Fregoli Theatre Company - Theatre at the Savoy“A child prophet is taken from a basket sent drifting down the Liffey. A young girl clutching a dolly is taken from her home. A man in a superhero cloak hides from the streets he once thought to save. A woman steps out into onto the street to sell the only thing she thinks she can. Fregoli are delighted to present the debut of Dorset Street Toys, a provocative, harsh but ultimately moving exploration of love, lost childhood and the Dublin streets”.

Bookings by phone at 085-8554341 or at


There are Indie and foreign film screenings going on at the former Belltable Arts Centre at 69 O’Connell Street. A particularly exciting upcoming one (Nov 27) is Before Midnight, the third in Richard Linklater’s masterful Before and After films with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. There’s also an ongoing visual art exhibition there too. Check out the Lime Tree’s programme for even more theatre etc too.

The Dance Limerick programme is in full swing too, with classes and performances galore. It is taking part in Limerick Arts Encounter with The Limerick Experiment in its base, the Dance Limerick Church. This will involve performance and a conference (Nov 29-Dec 1).Fifteen Limerick artists, from different disciplines, have come together with a view to creating a collaborative, developmental work and that’s central to the event

Missing_webAlso, there is a really exciting event on in the same venue on November 7 in the form of Missing by Coiscéim Dance Theatre. I saw the Coiscéim show, Swimming With My Mother, a few years back in the Belltable Unfringed Festival and was absolutely blown away. It’s the only contemporary dance show ever where I enjoyed every single minute. The theatrical elements were fabulous. Rightly or wrongly, I have high hopes for this one! It’s great to see a company of Coiscéim’s calibre return to Limerick.

The premise of Missing is: “It is hard to imagine what it might feel like if a loved one went missing. This poignant new duet broaches the experiences of the families and communities left behind. Missing is a reminder of the fragility and beauty of moments shared. It is a dance poem to those absent and to those left in the abyss of the unknown.”
It is choreographed by David Bolger and will be performed by Emma O’Kane and Tom Pritchard. See the website for more info.

The Plough and the Stars not to be missed next week

Local theatre fans are in for a treat next week when The Abbey Theatre brings the Sean O’Casey classic, The Plough and the Stars, to the new Lime Tree Theatre in Mary Immaculate College.

The play got rave reviews and marks a momentous occasion as the first Abbey Theatre main stage production to come to Limerick in over two decades. The tour only visited a handful of places in Ireland and the UK and it will conclude in our own fair city for seven performances from October 30 to November 3. Hopefully, it will be the first of many more local visits by the national theatre.

The plot is as follows: “Set in a tenement house, against the backdrop of the Easter Rising in 1916, The Plough and the Stars is both an intimate play about the lives of ordinary people and an epic play about ideals and the birth of our nation.”
“Amidst the tumult of political upheaval, Jack and Nora Clitheroe are ‘like two turtle doves always billing and cooing’, much to the ridicule of their bustling neighbours.  But when Ireland calls, Jack must choose between love for his wife and duty to his country. Heartbreaking, disturbing and very funny, The Plough and The Stars is an historic play that every generation needs to see.”

Director, Wayne Jordan, has been praised for bringing an “invigorating” perspective and “exciting clarity” to the play. I saw his recent venture, Alice in Funderland, and was really blown away so I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with this iconic piece. Chalk it down for an upcoming review.

The ensemble cast includes Kate Brennan, Kelly Campbell, Dara Devaney, Mark Fitzgerald, Tony Flynn, Gavin Fullam, Joe Hanley, Keith Hanna and Laurence Kinlan among others.

Tickets are available from the box office on 061-774774 and It runs from Tuesday to Saturday next week nightly at 8pm and there are two matinee shows on Wednesday, October 31 and Saturday November 3 at 2.30pm. Tickets are €30/€22 (conc.) and €16 for daytime performances.

Unfringed Festival 2012 starts tonight, Oct 16

The Limerick Unfringed Festival 2012 kicks off tonight (October 16) with a specially commissioned play, Siege.

The festival will run until October 28 and will include new and established theatre, music, dance, cinema and literary events. This year’s festival is curated by Duncan Molloy and the theme is ‘Darkness on the edge of town’.

The Unfringed used to take place in January but I think the new timeslot is a good move and spreading the festival events over 12 days will hopefully encourage audiences. There are a few ticket bundles available too, which might soften the financial outlay for some. The prices for events range from €7 to €22.50. The programme is a heady mix, with a lot of local input, so I would encourage people to support the festival by attending at least one event if they can at all. I’ll get to (and review if possible) a few things myself.

Siege is a local affair—written by Ciarda Tobin, directed by Marie Boylan and starring Aidan Crowe, Erica Murray and Joanne Ryan. The plot outline is as follows: “Pa is missing, Mouse is on the warpath and the houses are burning. This new short play, set in Limerick and inspired by the Trojan war, follows the exploits of Helena and her daughter as they discover Mouse’s secret and are forced to escape his fury. This is a highly charged urban play, which swings from karaoke to chaos and comedy to tragedy. It is rough and ready; it is savage and familiar. The production will be fast paced and physical.” The venue is the Belltable and it runs until Thursday.

Thursday lunchtime marks the first of three shows tying in with Lunchtime Theatre at the Savoy. Bandit—fresh from the Dublin Fringe—is on at 1pm on Thursday and Friday this week. On Friday (October 19) and Saturday nights, the multi award winning, Silent, by Pat Kinevane, is on at the Belltable. Act Without Words II by Samuel Beckett is on this Saturday and Sunday (two shows a night). The venue is site-specific but audiences meet at the Belltable.

Also on Sunday, Molloy’s own work—Mass—is on in the afternoon in the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Mass is on again on Sunday October 28. Interactive dance performance, Chimaera, by Angie Smalis is on Sunday and Monday night. On Tuesday October 23, there is a screening of the George Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Mimic by Raymond Scannell is on Wednesday and Thursday night (October 25). Also on Thursday and Friday, Payback and The Wheelchair on my Face will feature at Lunchtime and Teatime Theatre at the Savoy respectively. On Thursday, The Loft will host Under the Influence where comedian/actor Pat Shortt and playwright, Mike Finn, will discuss their inspirations. Later that same evening, there will be a celebration of Richard Harris presented by Bottom Dog Theatre Company and The Little Apple.

On Friday night, French jazz musician, Tigran will perform and on Saturday, band Scullion will perform. Unique live game, Day Zero, is taking place, every 20 minutes from 1-4pm on Saturday. The idea is that the city has been overrun by zombies and you have to find a way to survive. The venue is site-specific but audiences meet at the Belltable. On Sunday, the festival will conclude with a production of David Mamet’s Oleanna.

Find out more about the Unfringed programme at or download it here.

Art in the Attic and On the Park this weekend

Local artists and art lovers will play a vital role in two visual art events this weekend.

Art in the Attic—an innovative fundraiser for the Mid West Simon Community is running this Saturday (Sept 15)—from 2-8pm in the University Concert Hall.

If you have any stored or unwanted quality works of art, you can donate these to be sold in aid of the charity. It is accepting donations of paintings, etchings, framed photographs/prints, lithographs and sculptures in the coming days and even on the day (although it is preferable for cataloguing etc to hand material over before the event itself). Proceeds from the exhibition and sale of all artwork will go to the charity, which supports those who are homeless. There is no entry fee but all donations will be gratefully accepted.

There will be paintings and objets d’art on display from prominent local artists, along with donated gems from the collections of Limerick’s art owners. Visitors will also be in with a chance of winning artwork by leading Limerick artists, as well as other great prizes on the night. To make a donation, contact Dave on 085-2193968 or Susan on 086-1033195.

If you’re not all cultured out after the Elemental Arts and Culture Festival and Art in the Attic, there is a free open-air art exhibition in Pery Square this Sunday (Sept 16).

Art on the Park—so-called because the paintings will be displayed on the railings of the People’s Park—is modeled on the well-established exhibition at Merrion Square in Dublin.

Local artists will exhibit original paintings and limited edition prints in the exhibition so visitors can meet and buy art directly from the artist as well as perhaps gaining an insight into their work. No commission is included in the price of the paintings and the exhibition will run from 10am-2pm.

The event is being co-ordinated by Patricia Roberts, from No.1 Pery Square Hotel and Limerick Art Society, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Ms Roberts said that the area “is a superb, tranquil setting for this artistic venture…we want to raise the profile and showcase the Georgian Quarter of Limerick and Art on the Park is the perfect event to help us do so. We’re encouraging all Limerick artists and printmakers to take part; hopefully it will be a big success and become a regular sight in Pery Square”.

Pat O’Neill of Limerick Art Society is keen for all artists to get involved. “We have a wealth of wonderful artists in Limerick and this is a perfect way for all local artists to showcase their work. As Limerick is the first Irish City of Culture in 2014, we’re delighted to begin running a regular event like Art on the Park to profile our local artists and we’re hoping that the people of Limerick will come out and support our first such event,” he added.

More info at