The highlight of the 10th Clonmel Junction Festival announced on Monday is circus entertainment. The Festival which began in 2001 has grown to become one of the most innovative and highly regarded multi arts festivals in the country.
Circus has always played a part in Clonmel Junction festival and this year it takes centre stage.
Clowns, acrobats and contortionists will abound in a selection of Irish and International shows, in street presentations and in the finale Charivari spectacle and torch lit procession on July 10.
With a sprinkling of exotic music, comedy, theatre, dance and a whole range of participatory art cafs, Clonmel Junction Festival’s 10th birthday promises to be a cacophony of colour and fun.
In announcing the programme, Artistic Director David Teevan said - “Circus brightens up the world, bedazzling its audiences with unbelievable feats and bringing good cheer and candyfloss. It is I think a perfect antidote to the relentlessness of the dreadful ‘downturn’. For 10 days in Clonmel we will be celebrating, dancing and laughing.”
The 2010 Festival will include many different types of circus. Representing traditional circus are Ireland’s oldest family circus Fossetts who this year are celebrating 124 years of continuous touring in Ireland. In the contemporary genre of acrobatic theatre shows, there is Les Parfait Unconnus (The Perfect Unknowns) from the thriving Montreal circus world who use clowning and stunning acrobatic skills with live music in their Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus Show.
Also in this genre are Ireland’s very popular Tumble Circus who will be performing the Irish Premiere of their show Nouvelle Carny that had its world premiere at the Adelaide Fringe Festival earlier this year.
Le Coq school of clowning and physical theatre has been hugely influential in modern theatre bringing the skills of the clown into contemporary theatre. Junction Festival has two shows drawing their inspiration from the Le Coq tradition: from Barcelona the very innovative and much sought after Ponten Pie who will perform Copacabana and from Ireland the award winning Cirque de Legume.
The circus theme floods out to the music strand of the festival as well. De Wereldband who first performed in Clonmel Junction Festival in 2003 when both were just starting out, have since then conquered the stages of Dutch theatres and festivals with their musical comedy shows. They make a welcome return to Clonmel with their boundless energy and a musical madness that transcends nationalities as well as generations. The six musicians present themselves as perfectly skilled comics, singers and dancers.
The Festival will start on Friday, July 2 with the World Premiere of Me Seeing You 2, a contemporary dance performance by the Iseli Chiodi Dance Company commissioned by Junction Festival, South Tipperary Arts Office and The Excel Centre. The piece will explore the juxtaposition of dance and video images, the prevalent meaningfulness of the living body over abstract thinking, the ambiguous mirroring relationship between the show and the spectator.
In a new departure, Clonmel Junction Festival will mount the first ever Charivari spectacle and torch lit procession on Saturday, July 10. A Charivari was originally a French folk custom, a noisy mock serenade for newlyweds. It is suggestive of a cacophonous high-spirited procession of colour and a fitting end to the 10th anniversary festival. The Charivari will bring together many of the performers form the theatre shows, participants from the art cafes and the public in a two hour torch lit promenade through the centre of the town.
The Charivari will commence with a spectacular aerial performance accompanied by live music and dance. As the procession proceeds they will be joined by a host of performers including exotic bands, circus performers, musicians and participants from the Carte Blanche Cafs. The Charivari will end on the quays at the heart of the town with live music, dancing and a fire drawing display over the water.
Building on the success of the 2009 Cafs Carte Blanche project, Clonmel Junction Festival will once again take over several disused premises in the town for this coming Festival and create a number of themed interactive cafes. Enrolling the talents of local groups and other interested individuals, the Participation Programme will build seven thematic environments to include song, dance, youth drama, Irish, heritage, film and environment.
Each caf will offer a range of activities, such as classes, advanced workshops, as well as presentation and talks to cater for the wide range of knowledge, skills and interest in each artform. The aim is to engage as wide a range of participants as possible, from the beginner filmmaker to the advanced singer, from the amateur dancer to the keen environmentalist, from the reluctant Irish speaker to the curious historian.
After a sell out run at Junction Festival in 2009 Faulty Towers…the dining experience is back. Basil, Sybil and Manuel return to serve you dinner and a feast of comic delights, some familiar, some off the cuff but all with a “Faulty” seasoning and a guarantee to keep you laughing all the way to the dessert. Basil is manic, Sybil domineering, and Manuel – of course – is hopelessly language-challenged. Everything that can wrong, does in some beautifully controlled chaos. Just don’t mention the war!
Faulty Towers…the dining experience has been winning fans and accolades at Edinburgh, Melbourne and Adelaide Festivals for the last three years. Featuring all the best gags and a great meal, Faulty Towers….the dining experience is a loosely-scripted, pitch-perfect '13th episode' of the TV series which develops the characters made famous by John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs. "This belly achingly funny show is 100% worth every penny" (aussietheatre.com)
Other theatre performances include The Parting Glass written by Dermot Bolger. Performed by Ray Yeates, this one-man show is an examination of Ireland today and the symbolism of the moment when Ireland's hope of heading to the World Cup finals was dashed by Thierry Henry's left hand. The Parting Glass charts one man's journey through love, friendship, family and Ireland's turbulent economic climate, the story of old friends on the cusp of fifty stopping to make sense of their lives, loves and losses, to try and fathom their place as exiles and to take stock of their futures.
More events including rock and comedy performances will be announced shortly.
Tickets now on sale online for all theatre performances: www.junctionfestival.com