Tipperary celebrates Bealtaine festival in style

Festival season has commenced with a vast and varied sprinkling of all things music, arts, film, dance and culture-related is now springing up all over the country following months of careful preparation. In Tipperary the Bealtaine Festival 2012 has just been unveiled, launched in The Source Arts Centre in Thurles. The May-day festival opener provided attendees with a taste of things to come throughout Bealtaine, the month of May, with world class performances from internationally renowned storyteller Niall de Burca and close harmony vocal trio Swingabella.

Festival season has commenced with a vast and varied sprinkling of all things music, arts, film, dance and culture-related is now springing up all over the country following months of careful preparation. In Tipperary the Bealtaine Festival 2012 has just been unveiled, launched in The Source Arts Centre in Thurles. The May-day festival opener provided attendees with a taste of things to come throughout Bealtaine, the month of May, with world class performances from internationally renowned storyteller Niall de Burca and close harmony vocal trio Swingabella.

‘Celebrating creativity as we age’ is the theme of Bealtaine 2012, Ireland’s largest collaborative arts festival that is run in association with Age & Opportunity, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes greater participation by older people in society through partnerships and collaborative programmes. In 2012 the festival is asking ‘What kind of old do you want to be?’ and ‘What kind of world do you want to grow older in?’ And in exploring the answers, hundreds of theatrical, cinematic, craft, photographic, choral, dance and other events are taking place around the country. Right here in Tipperary more than 60 events will be staged across the county with thanks to the organisers, North and South Tipperary Arts Services and Tipperary Libraries.

The Bealtaine Festival is described by Age and Opportunity as an invitation ‘to try something new, to explore something creative this Bealtaine in recognition of the life enhancing joys of constant learning and our capacity for creativity at all stages of our lives’. The month-long festival invites people aged 50 and over to engage with arts and cultural activity and offers opportunities to re-ignite the flame of creativity and unlock hidden talents through theatre, the visual arts, music and literature. Tipperary’s Bealtaine flame will be re-ignited in libraries with everything from Spanish classes to classical music programmes to story-telling taking place. For example, on May 18 in Cashel Library there will be a telling of The Three Fat Women of Antibes – a story about three best friends who diet. Julie Sharkey returns with this hilarious one woman show, an adaptation of the short story by W. Somerset Maugham. For details on this particular event contact Suzanne Brosnan: +353 (062) 63 825.

Translunar Paradise, an award-winning show told in music and mime about life, death and enduring love, presented by Theatre Ad Infinitum, will be performed at White Memorial Theatre, Clonmel on May 23. For details contact the venue: +353 (052) 23 333.

Active retirement and community groups are organising various events. Rathkeevin ICA will be having drama classes for the month of May in Rathkeevin Hall, and on May 16, also at the hall, Deirbhile Dromey is giving a talk on creative writing and will read extracts from, and sign copies of her book The Pink Cage.

Tonight, May 2 Niall de Burca will perform at the South Tipperary County Museum in Clonmel at 7pm. Admission is free but places are limited so booking is essential (contact 052 6134565/6134552); he will also perform at Carrick-on-Suir library today at 2pm (051 640591) and Cashel Library today at 11am (062 63825).

The festival’s cinema offerings will include ‘An American in Paris’, ‘My House in Umbria’, and ‘Last Chance Harvey’ and will be shown in a number of venues around South Tipperary. The tour is presented by ‘access>CINEMA’ and the Irish Film Institute, with support from Seven Seas Active 55.

The three films selected for the Bealtaine Film Tour this year are diverse in genre and were deliberately selected to appeal to the wide tastes of older audiences. My House In Umbria, based on the novella by William Trevor, takes place after a tragic train accident. Four survivors find solace in the villa of an English writer, Mrs Delahunty (Maggie Smith). As they struggle to come to terms with the disaster, an inspector tries to figure out exactly what happened. Last Chance Harvey, a romantic drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, focuses on two lonely people who tentatively forge a relationship over the course of three days. An American in Paris, directed by Vincente Minnelli and winner of six Academy Awards, is perhaps the greatest dance musical of all time, starring Gene Kelly as a young artist who finds love on Paris’ Left Bank to a glorious Gershwin score. The Tipperary Excel Arts Centrewill screen ‘My House in Umbria’ on May 10 at 3pm; Brewery Lane Arts Centre will screen An American in Paris on May 15 at 8.15pm, and My House in Umbria, May 22 at 8.15pm; and South Tipperary County Museum will show An American in Paris on May 17 at 2:15pm, and ‘My House in Umbria’ on May 24 at 2:15pm.

Amongst events at day care centres, St Vincent’s Day Care Centre in Tipperary Town will be having an African drumming event, a magic show, traditional music and dance. Other opportunities available during the Bealtaine Festival 2012 in Tipperary include internet classes, genealogy information, dance, music and drama. For more information contact your local library or arts officer.

The Bealtaine Newspaper, giving an overview and details of all festival activities is available to pick up for free from Centra stores nationwide.  Also check out Bealtaine on Facebook and Twitter – and ‘Mary’s Bealtaine blog’ on www.bealtaine.com. Age & Opportunity wishes to acknowledge the support of the HSE and The Arts Council of Ireland.