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Imagine Arts Festival announce an eclectic festival programme

Imagine Arts Festival announce an eclectic festival programme of 80 Acts, Performances & Events

October 18th to 28th officially launched in Waterford City by Author Megan Nolan

A variety of 80 events have been announced for Waterford’s 18th annual Imagine Arts Festival. 55% of the programmed events will be on offer free of charge throughout the festival which takes place at venues across Waterford City from October 18th to 27th, 2019.

Three of Waterford’s finest festivals are rolled into one under the umbrella of the Imagine Arts Festival, including the Waterford Writers Weekend along with the John Dwyer Trad Weekend an eclectic and international events programme to choose from under Imagine Arts which celebrates theatre, dance, music, visual art, discussion and debate.

The 2019 Imagine Arts Festival programme is an exciting multi-disciplinary series of events that promote the best of the arts featuring regional, national and international work packed with magical fun, spooky happenings, mega music gigs, theatre, dance, spoken word, art exhibitions, and a litany of literary events with some of the country’s top authors.

Speaking at the programme launch of Waterford’s largest arts festival at an event in the heart of the city’s planned new Cultural Quarter, Deputy Mayor of Waterford Cllr Seamus Ryan said said how proud he was of the calibre of Waterford acts participating and how they stand up among the national and international acts in the programme for this year. He paid tribute the amazing John Dywer who in his eighties will still be playing sessions throughout the trad weekend. He also made a call to Waterford people to get out there and support this important festival that achieves so much with so little and thanked the voluntary committee for all their hard work.

The festival programme was officially launched by Waterford local and author Megan Nolan whose debut novel has just sold to Jonathan Cape in a pre-empt. ‘Acts of Desperation’ will be published in spring 2021 with another currently untitled novel to follow. Rights to the novel are also currently being sold in the US, Germany, Italy, Spain, Serbia, Brazil and Norway. During the Imagine Arts Festival in October Megan will take to the stage with her father and playwright Jim Nolan to participate in a public interview.

Amongst the highlights of the 2019 festival programme is the unveiling of a retrospective exhibition of works by Rosemary Higbee plus a gigantic visual art trail. A guided tour of the municipal collection at the brand new Waterford Art Gallery with Dr Eimear O’Connor HRHA.

For the John Dwyer Trad Weekend, a strong traditional music and dance programme will feature with a gala concert starring John Dwyer on fiddle who will be joined by the country’s top trad musicians. Sean-nós singer Ann Mulqueen, singer and accordion player Breda De Paor, internationally acclaimed uillean pipe player David Power and poet Mark Roper will host a very special evening ‘In High Places’ a unique collaboration between musicians and a poet, based around the mysteries of the Comeragh Mountains.

Literary highlights are many and the Waterford Writers Weekend is this year curated by author Cat Hogan, the rich programme offers twenty-four different events; some of the highlights include the announcement of the national Waterford Poetry Prize and Sunday Miscellany in the Theatre Royal. A conversation with authors Sheila O’ Flanagan, Ciara Geraghty and Melissa Hill, a reading with Willie Vlautin, a chat between crime writers Andrea Carter and Jo Spain. Sunday Brunch with Jim and Megan Nolan and a conversation with Ian Maleney.

Comedy will also headline at this year’s festival with stand up legend Kevin McAleer as he brings his new show ‘Guru’ to town; audiences can join Lama Kevin for an evening of living hilariously in the moment, with meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing.

Family fun is on offer with Spraoi’s Wicked Woods and Waterford Youth Arts present Horrible Histories, unique walking tours of Waterford City led by candlelight with a depth of interesting characters to be met along the way.

A host of theatre and dance productions will be on offer including a Youth Dance celebration featuring everything from classical ballet to Bollywood and more. ‘A Modern Day Parable’ will be presented by Outcast Theatre, ‘Madhouse’ will be showcased at the Theatre Royal a production written by Una Hackett and PJ Gallagher, starring Katherine Lynch and Shane O’Reilly.

Renowned for its rich musical programme, this year’s Imagine Arts Festival features an impressive schedule including performances from Oregan in the US with ‘The Delines’ with their incredible ‘Soul Country’ sound, a cabaret show on the life of ‘The Whistling Girl’ by Honor Heffernan and composer Trevor Knight and tells the story of wise-cracking poet, journalist, and civil rights campaigner Dorothy Parker. A gig with 2018 Single of the Year winner Kitt Philippa and a City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra concert plus more. A ‘Choons and Tales’ Trail will be on offer at city pub venues throughout the festival.

The annual ‘Booze, Blaas and Banter’ event celebrating the City’s Quayside and maritime heritage will also offer lots of interesting chats and craic including a special tribute to Waterford poet and writer Sean Dunne by his friend and fellow poet Thomas McCarthy.