Cork's set for bumper two weeks of music, theatre, dance, art and family events

In her weekly Theatre Nights column, Jo Kerrigan looks at some of the key shows this week
Cork's set for bumper two weeks of music, theatre, dance, art and family events

Dancer Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín in rehearsal with her father Pádraig Ó Duinnín for Bád Shiobhán. Picture Clare Keogh. 

THE Cork Midsummer Festival is upon us! Opening last Monday, it runs to June 27, pouring out a full two weeks of music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, and family events. And don’t we just need it after the year we’ve had!

Naturally enough, since the entire festival had to be planned during lockdown restrictions, many of the events are online, but that’s not a drawback. In fact it’s a positive encouragement.

As Deirdre Kinahan of Landmark Productions points out: “Hey, invite your friends round, get in some drinks and nibbles, and enjoy an evening at the theatre — what could be better?”

There are a few live shows, one of the most delightful surely being Art Gifts’ City Stage: On Your Doorstep, a short live performance of music, theatre, poetry, opera, circus or dance, delivered to your doorstep! These individual performances are free, but need to be booked. Tomorrow and Saturday in these locations: Blackpool / The Glen; Knocknaheeny / Sunday’s Well; Ballyphehane / The Lough; Mahon; Ballincollig; Montenotte / Mayfield; Blarney; Ballintemple / Blackrock; Douglas; Glasheen.

Marie Mullen in The Saviour
Marie Mullen in The Saviour

Landmark Productions stage The Saviour, a blistering new play by Deirdre Kinahan, online at Everyman this weekend. Marie Mullen and Brian Gleeson are directed by Louise Lowe.

Kinahan is renowned for her plays which attack and expose the wrongs at the heart of our society. In The Saviour, she charts the extraordinary shift in social, political and religious life in Ireland over the past 30 years.

Kinahan is emphatic on what a dreadful place the older Ireland really was for women. “It was a Catholic caliphate where the church controlled every aspect of our being. The whole battle was played out over women’s bodies. If you had children without marriage you were a whore, if you didn’t have kids, you were a dry old stick, a joke, a waste. Your only purpose was to produce. Bullying works all over the world and the church in Ireland was expert in bullying. This poor woman in The Saviour was a victim to that past and yet clings to it with fervour. She can’t and won’t see it for what it was.”

It’s a metaphor, says Kinahan, for what this country has come through. And she has a warning. 

“They’re still out there, even in this modern Ireland, waiting in the long grass. They’d drag us back in a moment if they could.”

Her aim is to draw her audience in, get them involved, then hit them with the dark truths beneath the surface. “Hopefully they will leave with new attitudes, a changed perspective. That’s what theatre can do.”

The Saviour, Saturday, June 19 at 3pm and 8pm; Sunday, June 20, 8pm, live online.

Regina Crowley, who devised that unique show, Notes To A Star, at Blackrock Castle Observatory last week, will be performing Prometheus Now for Gaitcrash against the dramatic backdrop of a melancholic warehouse on the Marina next week, June 21-23.

The figure of Prometheus is used to reignite a spark of hope and renewal, in a compelling online performance which features an exciting blend of classical piano, theatre, sound art, and videography.

How about something to stimulate while strolling through the city? Bassam Al-Sabah’s Longing, Beyond, commissioned by the Glucksman and curated by Chris Clarke, conveys visions of war, resistance and perseverance.

In the window façade of Finn’s Corner, where the Grand Parade meets Washington Street, the work comprises a scaffolding installation of video monitors, hand-tufted rugs and sculptural objects. On display throughout the festival. Go along and gaze as long as you want to!

Don’t miss Bád Shiobhán, a new work by choreographer Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín in association with the Firkin Crane. Featuring her father, traditional boat-builder Pádraig Ó Duinnín, it shares the culture and tradition of boats and boat-building. Online from tomorrow until Sunday, but can also be accessed via streaming on demand June 19/20. Find it at www.corkmidsummer.com/whats-on?

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