About the festival

This years festival is a celebration of coming together, so it’s fitting that we’re mainly ‘under one roof’ at the beautiful Carlow College St. Patrick’s - our Festival Campus HQ. Shake off your daily life and and immerse yourself in artistic adventures over our week-long festival. We’ve a brilliant line up in the O’Hara’s Pavilion, featuring The Strypes, Rusangano Family, Stomptown Brass, DJ Kelly-Anne Byrne, R.S.A.G., Emmet Kirwan, Sarah O Gorman and Exiles. In between acts, indulge yourself with all that the Irish Village Markets has to offer.

I’m happy to say that Carlow’s world-class visual arts scene features stronger than ever in this year’s programme, with the Hotron ART WORKS Exhibition at VISUAL and Hand Made Magic featuring the work of Daria Martin and Oscar Schlemmer. Further afield, look out for SITE WORKS – remarkable art in unusual locations around Carlow town. Expect video installations from Sinead Keogh, and Brian Hand & Orla Ryan; unexpected public space interventions from Ceclila Bullo, Karl Burke and John Cullen; and Ireland’s internationally renowned Crash Ensemble in concert at the ruined splendour of Duckett’s Grove.

I’m thrilled we can bring some wonderful international acts to Carlow this year. They include one of the most engaging and uplifting works of theatre I have ever seen Pss Pss (Switzerland) and the beautiful Cow-Go-Round from France. Saturday night will go off with a bang when Ondadurto Teatro from Italy will thrill Carlow with the explosive free spectacle of C’era Una Volta (Once Upon A Time).

We are delighted to play host to a world festival première with the screening of Philip Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach. This epic work runs to 4.5 hours and presents an opportunity to indulge in the visual and aural fantasy world he created with director Robert Wilson and choreographer Lucinda Childs. Also on the big screen this year, we’re delighted to partner with the Irish Film Institute to present Carlow on Film, a unique collection of vintage and contemporary work.

For me, the theme of coming together is clearest with our new strand of events that create new opportunities for people of all backgrounds in Carlow to engage in the arts. Emma Martin, the internationally profiled, locally based choreographer is creating The Thumping Heart with local young dancers and musicians. Circus company Extraordinary Bodies (UK) will be working during the festival with community members of all abilities towards creating a big spectacle event for 2018... watch this space. Ondadurto Teatro have worked with Gypsy Communities all over the world and we are happy to say they will be working with our own young Traveller community in the lead up to the festival. Emmet Kirwan will bring his unique skills to a masterclass for young spoken word artists and Carlow Youth Theatre are working alongside Yvonne McGuinness at VISUAL.

We have even more events for kids and families this year. Pop-up performances for all the family will feature Pietr Kloon, Professor Plunger, Extraordinary Bodies and Sevesfeathers. The Book Doctors from Children’s Books Ireland will be writing prescriptions for the next books your child should read. And to we have some really fun events that children can join in including Body&Soul hit Sing Along Social, and Mystery Movie - where you get to decide what we screen.

We’re proud to say a massive 70% of our programme is free. But of course that doesn’t mean what we offer costs nothing. So we ask you to please be generous with your donations and of course enjoy everything that our ‘coming together’ of 2017 has to offer.

We look forward to seeing you in Carlow this June.

Jo Mangan
Director Carlow Arts Festival


Past Programmes
The Team
Memorandum of association
Audited Accounts 2014
Audited Accounts 2015
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