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Letterkenny Trad Week 2015

Just to prove that there is life beyond Christmas we are teaming up with our friends at the Regional Cultural Centre to present Letterkenny Trad Week, a feast of traditional music featuring some of the biggest names in folk from January 10th to 17th 2015.

The line up of musicians reads like a whose who of Irish traditional music in particular, with members and former members of almost every major Irish group of the last 40 years coming to Letterkenny that week. It features the considerable combined talents of Ed Boyd (Flook), Ian Carr (Kate Rusby Band), Karan Casey (Solas), Éamonn Coyne (Salsa Celtica), John Doyle (Solas), Kris Drever (Lau), Steph Geremia (Alan Kelly Gang), Paddy Glackin (Bothy Band), Andy Irvine (Planxty), Alan Kelly (Eddi Reader band), Staffan Lindfors (Sofia Karlsson band), Donal Lunny (Planxty), Mike McGoldrick (Lunasa), Maura O’Connell (De Danann) and Martin Tourish (Altan).

Organised by Donegal County Council Cultural Services and An Grianan Theatre in association with EAF, DMEP and Ceol Na Coille the programme comprises three star-studded concerts. Local audiences have the unique privilege of attending the first ever public performance by new Irish super group Usher’s Island, an intimate preview show at the RCC on Saturday January 10th in preparation for their official debut concert at Celtic Connections Glasgow.

Also visiting Letterkenny prior to a major Celtic Connections show is Sea Road Sessions a brilliant new six-piece ensemble from Ireland, Scotland and Sweden, led by Alan Kelly, who play An Grianán on Tuesday January 13th. The final concert of the week is another stellar line-up featuring the first collaboration of legendary Irish singers Maura O’Connell and Karan Casey at the RCC on Saturday January 17th. All concerts commence at 8pm and tickets can be booked at An Grianan Theatre Box Office on 00353 7491 20777 or online at www.angrianan.com.  Usher’s Island tickets are priced €18, Sea Road Sessions are €18/€15 and Maura O’Connell tickets are €12/€10. There is a special 3 for 2 Offer for all 3 concerts for €36, a perfect Christmas gift!

Usher’s Island

Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Mike McGoldrick, Paddy Glackin and John Doyle are among the biggest names in traditional music and they’ve combined their talents to form a new band, Usher’s Island. Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy Irvine has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his 45-year career. From Sweeney’s Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s and then from Patrick Street to Mozaik, Andy has been a world music pioneer. Dónal Lunny has been central to the renaissance of Irish Music over the last four decades. He has been involved in some of the most innovative bands to emerge from Ireland since the 70’s including Planxty, the Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, Coolfin, and more recently Mozaik. As a co-founder of best-selling Irish instrumental outfit Lúnasa and current member of Scottish/Irish favorites Capercaille, flautist and piper Michael McGoldrick is one of the most influential musicians of his generation. He has also contributed to albums by such acclaimed artists as Kate Rusby, Sharon Shannon, Afro-Celt Sound System and Youssou N’Dour. A founding member of the Bothy Band, fiddler Paddy Glackin left to pursue a solo career shortly before the band launched their professional career. He has continued to explore the Irish fiddling tradition ever since, as a soloist and in collaboration with the likes of uillean pipes player Robbie Hannon, guitarist Micheal ÓDomhnaill and fiddler Paddy Keenan. Guitarist and singer John Doyle is a founding member of Irish American group Solas and recently served as band leader for Joan Baez. He received a 2010 GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional World Music album with fiddler Liz Carroll.

Sea Road Sessions

The ‘Sea Road’ designates the maritime route historically linking Sweden, Scotland and Ireland, the home countries of a brand new six-piece line-up comprising singer/guitarist Kris Drever, accordionist Alan Kelly, guitarist Ian Carr, banjo ace Éamonn Coyne, flautist/singer Steph Geremia and bassist Staffan Lindfors. Having frequently crossed paths in other projects, they now pool their formidable talents and diverse repertoires for this brilliant ensemble show.

As friends and peers for many years, these 6 individuals have performed and recorded with each other in various ensembles. However, this is the first time they will take to the stage together for what promises to be a stunning collaboration, presenting a fresh and exciting body of work including traditional music from Ireland, Scotland and Sweden as well as new compositions both vocal and instrumental.

Maura O’Connell and Karan Casey

Music fans have the chance to see the first collaboration of two of Ireland’s finest singers Maura O’Connell and Karan Casey, who are joined by accordionist Martin Tourish and guitarist Ed Boyd as part of a Music Network Irish tour, at the RCC on Saturday 17th January. Blending Irish and progressive American folk singing styles, O’Connell burst onto the trad scene in the 1980s as vocalist with De Danann. The Ennis singer’s career has brought her international acclaim, two Grammy nominations and collaborations with everyone from Bonnie Raitt, Nanci Griffith and Dolly Parton to Alison Krauss, The Chieftains and Van Morrison. Former lead singer with Solas and a highly-acclaimed solo artist, Karen Casey is one of the most highly regarded vocalists in folk music, performing with such luminaries as James Taylor, Liam Clancy, Peggy Seeger, The Dubliners and Imelda May.

Usher’s Island, Sat 10 January, RCC Book now

Sea Road Sessions, Tues 13 January, An Grianán Book now

Maura O’Connell and Karen Casey, Sat 17 January, RCC Book now

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Christmas Gift Vouchers available now

A voucher makes a great gift for the theatre or comedy lover in your life!

A voucher to An Grianán Theatre is your ticket to year round arts and entertainment. We have a lot of fantastic shows already booked for 2015 including Des Bishop, Neil Delamere, Druid Theatre, Ballet Ireland, Conal Gallen, Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, Robin Hood, Michael Harding, Mikel Murfi, Eilish O’Carroll, Johnny McEvoy, Isla Grant, Stockton’s Wing, the LMDG’s The 39 Steps and Sister Act…and that’s just a tiny selection of what’s to come in 2015!

Future theatre performer in the family?

If you are buying a gift for a budding young performer our vouchers can be also be used to pay for youth theatre membership, drama classes or summer schools.

You can buy vouchers online right here or call us on the box office 0749120777. We can even post them to your loved one with a personalised message.

Vouchers are valid for one year from date of purchase and can be redeemed against any events on sale through our box office which includes some events at the Regional Cultural Centre and the Earagail Arts Festival. You can also use them to pay for artworks at most of our exhibitions.

NB: here are An Post’s dates for last dates for posting in time for Christmas.

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Black Friday Special

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Letterkenny One Act Festival 2014 Results

Here are the results of this year’s Letterkenny One Act Festival:

 

Blue Riband: Belvoir Players  The Spelling Mistake

 

Best Play – Open:  Belvoir Players  The Spelling Mistake

2nd-  Open: Bradán Players  Unveiling

3rd –Open: Theatre 3 The Virtuous Burglar

 

Best Director – Open: Chris Darcy – The Spelling Mistake, Belvoir Players

Best Actor – Open:  Simon Sweeney – Machut in The Spelling Mistake,  Belvoir Players

Best Actress – Open:  Michelle Reade – Vera in Unveiling, Bradán Players

 

Best Play – Confined: Phoenix Players – The Hitman

2nd  – Confined: Newtowncashel Drama Club – Cliff’s Edge

3rd – Confined : Model Box Productions – Stay Carl Stay

 

Best Director – Confined: Ursula Morahan – The Hitman, Phoenix Players

Best Actor– Confined: Vincent Morley – as Carl in Stay Carl Stay, Model Box Productions

Best Actress – Confined: Mary Walsh – Alice in The Hitman, Phoenix Players

Best Technical: Set Design in The Spelling Mistake, Belvoir Players

Adjudicator’s Award: Moment of theatre  at the beginning of Cliff’s Edge , Newtowncashel Drama Club

 

Adjudicator: Mr Larry McCluskey GIDA

Festival Secretary: Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh

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On yer bikes! Top international cyclists take to the stage this Saturday

We have a special event this Saturday morning (15 November 2014) featuring Letterkenny cycling star Philip Deignan and Olympic cyclist Lizzie Armistead. They’ll be doing a Q&A session with the public allowing a fascinating glimpse into the elite world of professional cycling,  and then cycling enthusiasts can join them for a ride around town. Find out more about the event here.

Doors will open at 10.30am. All proceeds in aid of the North West Junior (Cycling) Development Fund.

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Letterkenny One Act Drama Festival 2014

The organisers of the Letterkenny One Act Drama Festival have another great line up of amateur drama companies from across the island of Ireland competing this week.

Tickets for each night are €8/€6 or save some money by becoming a Friend of the Festival – it’s €15 for an individual or €30 for a couple and entitles you to complementary tickets for each night of the festival – contact the box office on 0749120777 for further information.

Thursday

On Thursday night competing in the Confined competition we have Ballyshannon company Dark Daughter Productions with Jean McConnell’s Deckchairs 3 – Cruise Missile.  When Janet embarks on her first cruise, she finds herself overwhelmed by the array of delights on offer. However, there is a fellow passenger who is only too willing to be her guide and mentor. It is the flamboyant Goldie, who is familiar with all the wrinkles and most of the crew. But her instant friendship is something of a mixed blessing.

Also competing in the Confined section are the Phoenix Players from Tubbercurry who are presenting The Hitman by JCW Brook. The husband of an elderly unhappy married couple decides to get rid of his wife—but does it all work out?!

Competing in the Open competition are Belfast’s Belvoir Players. In The Spelling Mistakes by Eugene Labiche, Caboussat is standing for election as President of the local Agricultural Committee, but Caboussat cannot spell and is only able to hide this deep flaw by allowing his daughter Blanche to write out, and correct, his speeches. The plot thickens when Poitrinas arrives, not only in search of Ancient Roman remains, but also to seek the hand of Blanche for his son.

Friday

On Friday we have Model Box Productions from Wicklow with Peter Tolan’s Stay Carl Stay. Set in New York, this is the story of a mild mannered woman dominated by her boyfriend, who on the advice of a therapist adopts a dog, Carl. Life gets interesting when Carl learns to talk and dance! They are competing in the Confined group.

Newtowncashel Drama Club are from Co Longford and are presenting Cliff’s Edge by Paul Beard. A suicidal failed actor, a maniacally depressed pub landlord and a schizophrenic passerby are the characters in this blackest of comedies. Set on the cliff top at Beachy Head, this carefully researched piece of modern theatre has received critical acclaim since its showcase in Edinburgh and subsequent productions in Chicago, Madrid, Stockholm, Melbourne and Prague.

Newtownabbey’s Theatre 3 present Dario Fo’s The Virtuous Burglar in the Open section. A burglar is discovered when the owner of the flat returns unexpectedly with his mistress. When the owner’s wife arrives, the burglar is forced to pretend that the mistress is his wife. Other spouses and lovers appear and the burglar – apparently the only one not having an affair – is forced into pretending to have multiple wives. Then his own wife arrives!

Saturday

On Saturday we have two plays competing in the Open section – the Bradán Players from Dublin and the Bangor Drama Group from Co Down. The Bradan Players are producing Vaclev Havel’s Unveiling, a three hander which sees Vanek call to the house of his friends Vera and Michael and the unfolding conversation which drives the course of the evening.

The Bangor Drama Group are staging Sharkey by Michael Levers. Sharkey has a lot to come to terms with. Looking for answers, he returns to his old church and to the minister there, who is his ex-partner, Lavinia. What happens in the church takes Sharkey to a world beyond his dreams, because there is a story about life and death that some people have forgotten.

Local group the Letterkenny Music and Drama Group are performing out of competition with their play Love in a Glass Jar by Nancy Harris. Eve and Patrick are two strangers who get chatting on a dating website and agree to a face to face meeting in a hotel room. Patrick is in his forties and separated from his wife. Eve is a successful single woman in her thirties and is tired of being let down by love. She wants a child and wants to know the father, but she doesn’t want a man in her life. The dynamic between them shifts and flows with comic and painful results as Eve and Patrick both struggle to come to terms with their loneliness and each other.

Letterkenny One Act Festival 2014, Thurs 13 to Sat 15 Nov at 7.30pm – Book now!

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Thrilling Wildlife Adventures with Gordon Buchanan

Join us for an evening of thrilling wildlife adventures as recounted by acclaimed cameraman and TV presenter Gordon Buchanan.

Gordon, whose TV shows include Springwatch, Big Cat Diary, The Bear Family and Me, The Polar Bear Family and Me and new series The Snow Wolf Family and Me will be sharing exciting personal recollections as he lets you into his world of weird, wild and wonderful wildlife.

With twenty years experience of traveling across the globe, Gordon has a reputation for relishing dangerous and tough assignments. Listen to his adventures as he leads you through his life of challenging expeditions and enthralling wildlife experiences. Marvel as he shares his tales alongside his own film footage and brilliant images of all that he has come to face.

Have you got any burning wildlife questions? Gordon has travelled the planet – from South America, Asia, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Alaska – and will definitely have some interesting answers!

This is a show for any wildlife enthusiast who wants to enjoy the spell-binding stories of the natural world from a man who has experienced danger face to face.

Wed 12 Nov 2014 at 7.30pm Tickets: €15/€13 Book now!

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Book Launch: Kieran Kelly – Letterkenny: Where the Winding Swilly Flows

Letterkenny: Where the Winding Swilly Flows is a new and exciting history book by local writer, actor and schoolteacher Kieran Kelly.

We are very pleased to be hosting its official launch tonight at 7.30pm. In addition to the book launch we’ll also be hosting a reprise of Kieran’s short play Echoes of Time, originally produced by An Grianán to mark Letterkenny’s 400th anniversary.  Entry is free and light refreshments will be served.

Copies of the book will be available on the night in both paperback and hardback. Only 100 copies of the hardback version have been printed so we expect those to be in demand.

Throughout the book’s 22 chapters, the entire history of the town and local region have been meticulously researched and explored, starting with the formation of the valley in the last Ice Age with theories to how the town got its name, right up to the present day.

Along the way, you will find out interesting facts about the town of Letterkenny that perhaps you never knew before. For example, did you know that Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Palin (of Monty Python fame) and Patti Boyd (ex-wife of Beatle George Harrison) all have ancestral descent from Letterkenny? Or that at one stage, over ten thousand people were packed into the Market Square to attend a monster Land League meeting at which Michael Davitt spoke? Or that Donegal won their first Ulster Junior Championship title in Glencar?

As well as meeting many colourful characters who helped shape and define what Letterkenny would eventually become, the book explores ancient Gaelic battles along the banks of the River Swilly, the formation of the modern town in the Ulster Plantation, the various families of the Ascendancy Big Houses, the rise of local government, the building of the Cathedral and various educational establishments, the local impact of World War 1, the arrival of the Port and Railway systems, twentieth century industrial and commercial development as well as in-depth history of various sports and drama clubs important in the social integration of the town’s inhabitants.

Complemented by an assortment of maps, graphs and photos, this bright and colourful publication also hosts new illustrations by local artist John Ruddy that cover these key events important in the town’s history.

 

Echoes of Time is Kieran’s play that looks back at Letterkenny’s plantation past. It toured local primary schools with great success in 2011.  Original cast members Nora Kavanagh and Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride are joined by youth theatre member Patrick Quinn soon to be seen in Bugsy Malone. Like the book it contains many snippets about Letterkenny that you probably haven’t heard before.

Tues 28 October at 7.30pm. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served.

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Fairytale fantasies with Samantha Robinson

Our next exhibition opens on Thursday 23 October and comes from mixed media artist Samantha Robinson. Samantha specialises in work aimed towards children and invites you to join her in her whimsical world of fantasy.

Using an eclectic range of techniques, Samantha creates beautiful artworks that will bring life and excitement to any child’s room. The paintings are created using a myriad of different fabrics, paint, ink, drawing, glittered embellishments, buttons, wax and glow in the dark touches. Each piece is a collage layered with texture and colour lovingly crafted by Robinson in her studio.

Art for your children by Samantha Robinson at An Grianán Theatre Letterkenny Oct to Nov 2014.

Little Red Riding Hood from the Art for your Children exhibition by Samantha Robinson at An Grianán Theatre Letterkenny Oct to Nov 2014.

‘Blast off into Space’ embodies every child’s fantasy of what the universe consists of. Bright colours and glittery swirls wrap themselves around floating planets and dreamy stardust creating a mesmerising universe that anyone could happily get lost in. As well as paintings of imaginary worlds, there are also classic fairy tale stories such as Little Red Riding Hood transformed into pictures for those children who have their favourite bedtime stories

Some of the more intricate pieces are one of a kind but repeats can be made on certain pieces upon request. Many can also be personalised with your child’s name, birthday or a phrase that means the most to you. Robinson dedicates her time and work to creating the perfect piece to suit every child.

Art for your children by Samantha Robinson at An Grianán Theatre Letterkenny Oct to Nov 2014.

A fairytale castle from the Art for your Children exhibition by Samantha Robinson at An Grianán Theatre Letterkenny Oct to Nov 2014.

The paintings come in a variety of sizes ranging from 4’x6’ to 5ft x 5ft but despite the dramatic difference in size within the collection, each unique piece will transform any room into an imagination haven.

Samantha studied at Chelsea College of Art, graduating in 1999 and since then has been creating one-of-a-kind pieces combining print, drawing and paint. With such a dynamic imagination and having children herself, Robinson happily fell into the world of children’s art as that’s where her heart lies. Younger eyes and untarnished imaginations see art in an entirely new way and so Art For Your Children was born in 2008. Although a relatively new venture, Robinson has already collected an impressive fan base including people like pop star Gwen Steffani.

Official opening:  Thurs 23 October at 6.30pm – all are most welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

The exhibition will continue until 21 November and will be open daily except Sundays and Bank Holidays.

 

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Carmen – our biggest ever opera production!

Featuring a 22 piece orchestra live on stage, a chorus of 60 local adults and children and professional opera singers including Ireland’s Ann Jennings and American soprano Diana Bryan-Mc Laughlin, Carmen is our biggest ever opera.

Following their large scale production of La Boheme at the Earagail Arts Festival, the North West Opera are presenting their next production here at An Grianán this week.

George Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most popular operas of all time and features some of the most memorable and loved classical music ever.

As with La Boheme, this production will feature professional opera singers in all the principal roles, ably backed by a supporting cast and chorus drawn from the local community.

In addition we are very fortunate to have the score performed live on stage by Egypt’s Cairo Opera Orchestra under the baton of the internationally acclaimed conductor Nader Abbassi. With 22 members, it is the biggest live orchestra that we’ve ever has accompany an opera performance and adding in the supporting cast and chorus of around 60 adults and children, this is quite simply the largest scale opera to date in An Grianán.

Sharing the stage with Irish soprano Ann Jennings is American soprano Diana Bryan-Mc Laughlin who will perform the role of Michaela.

Carmen

Carmen tells the story of young, naïve soldier Don Jose, who is bewitched by the beautiful and fiery gypsy Carmen.

In order to escape arrest, Carmen seduces Don Jose with the famous song Seguidilla. Don Jose is then arrested and on his release she again seduces him with an exotic gypsy dance but heartlessly mocks him when he tries to leave to return to his Barracks. Don Jose subsequently deserts the army to follow her into a life of crime, joining a band of smugglers.

Later, bored with Don Jose, the fiery, temptress abandons him, scornfully taunting him to run home to his mother.  She turns her attention to the exotic bull fighter, Escamillio, who sings the hugely famous ‘Toreador’ song. But Jose’s desire for Carmen will eventually bring ruination them both.

Performance Dates

Fri 17 and Sat 18 October at 8pm
Tickets: €20 (children under 12 €10)
Book now!

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