Imagining Ireland, a collaborative event with Culture Ireland, produced by Serious in association with the National Concert Hall, Dublin, was attended by over 1,500 people including Ireland’s Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D. It was the first flagship event of the year long Culture Ireland programme GB18, celebrating Ireland’s cultural connections with Britain.
This vibrant, contemporary and high quality programme of events across all artistic disciplines involves hundreds of Irish artists travelling to dozens of prestigious venues, institutions and festivals across Britain. It will see 100+ artists in more than 60 projects tour to over 40 venues and festivals across England, Scotland and Wales.
Curated by Gary Sheehan of the National Concert Hall and Paul Noonan from Bell X1, playing their only London show, Imagining Ireland featured some of Ireland’s most exciting new artists including Loah, Saint Sister, Seamus Fogarty, Mango/Mathman, Stephen James Smith and Maria Kelly, with the orchestra of Crash Ensemble.
Imagining Ireland kicked off a jam-packed month of Irish arts events across Britain. Other highlights in March include:
• UK premiere of the Abbey Theatre’s The Plough and the Stars at London’s Lyric Hammersmith
• A series of Irish film screenings across Britain including Bristol, Manchester and the Irish Film Festival in London
• A tour of Irish band Kila to London, Manchester and Stockton-on-Tees
• St Patrick’s Festival – for the first time, Irish artists will appear in all 33 London Boroughs across St. Patrick’s weekend as part of increased activity funded through the Culture Ireland GB18 programme
• Musicians Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, John Doyle at the Irish Cultural Centre in London
• Irish poets Rita Ann Higgins, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Tara Bergin and Iggy McGovern, Sinéad Morrissey and Miriam Gamble will read and take part in StAnza in Fyfe
• Screening of Irish silent film classic Little Old New York with live music accompaniment by Morgan Cooke at London’s Barbican Centre
• A unique festival of new music from Ireland, Éiríocht, in London
• London Book Fair – Literature Ireland leads an increased Irish delegation at the annual global industry event for literature, now in its 47th year
• Camden Music Trail – Camden Market will play host to an Irish music trail in celebration of the Year of the Woman. The Market will showcase an all-female Irish music trail, continuing its support of emerging talent and Irish culture. Curated by First Music Contact
• Exhibition faigh ar ais ar an fharraige by artist Shane Finan in Rye, Sussex
• A series of events in Manchester celebrating Irish silent film director Rex Ingram and a rare screening of the 1921 American silent epic war film, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The full programme of GB18 can be found here.
Speaking before the concert, Minister Madigan said:
“I’m thrilled to see such a breadth of Irish musical talent and showcased at such a prestigious venue. Imagining Ireland will give the audience a unique chance to experience the vibrant Irish music and spoken word scene, further advancing Ireland’s reputation for artistic excellence. This event, as part of Culture Ireland GB18, serves to celebrate Irish arts in Britain and the cultural connection we share”.