Build up underway for Clonmel Junction Festival

Clonmel Junction Festival has over the last decade established itself as one of the most significant multi-arts festivals of the summer festival season programming a distinctive mix of high quality Irish and International theatre, circus, and music.

Clonmel Junction Festival has over the last decade established itself as one of the most significant multi-arts festivals of the summer festival season programming a distinctive mix of high quality Irish and International theatre, circus, and music.

The festival launches its brand new redesigned website www.junctionfestival.com this week with all the features shows doing on sale online for all the early birds.

The festival is interwoven with a lattice of participatory arts activities, most notably the Cafés Carte Blanche programme, which each year offers a selection pop up cafés curated by different artists, in which the public and visiting performers and artists meet and engage in conversation and offer the possibility of creating work together.

This year’s theatre programme highlights include Actors Theatre Company’s production of the controversial German play “The Golden Dragon” which challenges the developed world to question its attitude to migrant labour,. This will be followed by “The Girl with the Iron Claw”, a Norwegian feminist fairytale performed with masks and puppets by the exciting young London company The Wrong Crowd. Both these shows are part of the British Council’s Next Door Neighbours Cultural Olympiad in Ireland, which in Clonmel, will also include a poetry and conversation event on the theme of Migrating Mythologies (speakers tbc).

Irish theatre highlights include Pat Kinevane’s powerfully moving and stunningly beautiful show “Silent” which tackles the critical issues of alcoholism, homelessness and depression with theatrical poise and Sonya Kelly’s endearing personal story “Wheelchair on my Face”.

The festival will welcome back the Swiss circus theatre company Nicole and Martin whose magical White Tent and accompanying wagons and trucks will be fitting up in the centre of town where they will perform three of Grimm’s Fairytales. Another returnee to Clonmel is shadow puppeteer Mr Bunk, whose low-tech on stage shadow puppetry and whacky humour was a huge hit in 2011. This year he will go one better adding a 3D finale.

Ronan Tully, nephew of Eugene Lambert continues the family puppeteering tradition returning from Barcelona to Clonmel to premiere his new show Circo Islu which is performed in a custom-made mini big top that seats 25 people.

The music programme highlights include the legendary Malian blues guitarist Boubakar Traore, the rising Portuguese Fado Diva Viviane and an evening of Reggae with ex-Bob Marley band member Natty Wailer.

Local swing band The Pearly Whites will host French “Garage Swing”

band Oncle Strongle, playing a full evening concert together and the Festival Finale event.

The rock music program is headlined by band of the moment Royseven.

There will be great blues from Crow Black Chicken, The Rambleers and Gavin Glass and the Tourettes. Japanese Popstars, possibly the biggest dance act to come of Ireland, play O’Keeffes on Saturday 14th July.

Classical music lovers can look forward to a visit from the Irish Chamber Orchestra performing a programme of Pachelbel, Elgar and Tchaikovsky as well as a concert from the Clonmel Junction Festival Choir who will be performing a Haydn mass amongst other pieces.

The comedy programme is headlined by UK comic Steven K Amos making a rare visit to these shores. Eric Lalor and Colm O’Regan’s play Irish Mammies comes to Clonmel and the festival hosts Irish premiere of Joe Bone’s Bane trilogy.

This year the festival will also have three participative venues as part of its fourth Cafés Carte Blanche series. Director Maisie Lee will host the Stage Door Performance Café, a combination of drama and open mics sessions, and visiting performers’ workshops and talks, during which the public will be invited to engage in discussions and practice with the makers of the shows in the main programme.

The Festival’s Associate Artists Lynn Mather and Brigid Teehan will explore the cross over terrain of arts and health in the Arts and Wellbeing Café.

CJF Participation Director Theresia Guschlbauer will curate a series of talks, workshops and activities in The Common Thread Café exploring personal mythologies and community narratives.