Above - Clonmel Junction arts festival Director Nollaig Healy, artist Tonie Walsh and festival Manager Bridget Deevy at the River Suir window installation at the festival office on Parnell Street. This year's festival will be curated around the theme of the river. The festival takes place from July 2nd-8th and the full programme of events will be announced in May.
Junction Festival time is approaching again and preparations for Clonmel's annual event are well underway, with a familiar face returning to oversee the event.
Involved in running the Clonmel Junction Festival for eight years, after a four-year absence Nollaig Healy returns as festival director to Clonmel to take on the challenge of organising what is now considered to be one of the major festivals in the country.
Nollaig, who was involved in Junction from 2006 to 2013, said she was looking forward to the challenge of putting together an exciting programme for the Clonmel arts festival, which will be launched in mid May and this year will run from July 2nd to July 8th. This year the festival theme is the River Suir and the slogan “Clonmel-It's a Suir Thing” will be central to the festival.
The new director, who spent the last four years working with the Kilkenny Arts Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival and the Gate Theatre among other projects, is keen to introduce more of an emphasis on theatre with the Clonmel festival.
“There has been a very strong emphasis in recent years on music but I would like to focus on theatre. I feel there is a real appetite for professional theatre in Clonmel and the primary thrust of this year's festival will be theatre” said Nollaig.
The Clonmel festival will provide a platform for established artists and newcomers.
It will also provide a platform for international artists alongside an incubation space for small theatre companies and emerging artists.
Nollaig is also keen to strengthen the links to the community with the festival .
“I believe it should be for the people of Clonmel. The festival is based on the theme of the river, which is central to the town, and there will be a number of major projects with a river focus playing a major role in the festival” said Nollaig.
She is anxious for “home grown heroes” to express themselves as part of the festival and emerging talent would be given an opportunity during the festival.
Nollaig said she was enjoying the challenge as director of the festival to ensure that the festival, which began in 2001, maintains its reputation as one of the best and most important arts festivals in the country.