Kilkenny Arts Festival: Theatre dance and opera - a dramatic line up for festival

It’s all about the Bard this year, with nine performances of As You Like It by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, who come to Ireland for the very first time.

It’s all about the Bard this year, with nine performances of As You Like It by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, who come to Ireland for the very first time.

In years gone by, Kilkenny Castle played host to Shakespeare productions during the festival, and it is very exciting that such an iconic international theatre company will be in Kilkenny to perform Shakespeare outdoors here once more. A small group of travelling players take up residence in the Castle Yard throughout the festival to perform As You Like It, using a stage based on paintings and etchings from Shakespeare’s time. Rosalind, the daughter of a banished duke, falls in love with Orlando at a wrestling match, but her usurping uncle banishes her from court. Disguised as a boy, she seeks out her father and his friends in the Forest of Arden, and it’s there that she meets Orlando again... Filled with cross-dressing and love notes, poetry and brilliant conversation, satire, slapstick and passion, this gloriously funny romance is not to be missed!

Tickets are literally flying out the door for these shows and patrons should also note that these are OUTDOOR PERFORMANCES. Patrons are advised to come prepared and dress appropriately for the weather on the given day.

In a special series of related sessions, Fintan O’Toole and Derbhle Crotty will illuminate Shakespeare’s life and times in a unique event at the Watergate on Fri Aug 17, while Abbey Theatre director Fiach Mac Conghail discusses the challenges of directing Shakespeare with Globe director James Dacre at 12 noon on Sun Aug 12 in The Parade Tower. The British Council is supporting Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s visit to Ireland and they are presenting a series of events entitled Next Door Neighbours at festivals throughout Ireland this summer to coincide with the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad. Director of the World Shakespeare Festival, Deborah Shaw will be in conversation with Fintan O’Toole on Sunday Aug 19th at 1pm also in The Parade Tower.

CoisCéim is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary dance companies, led by award-winning choreographer David Bolger and they bring their beautiful dance piece Swimming with My Mother to the Watergate on the first weekend of the festival. This show is a delightful and tender work which will inspire audiences both seasoned and new.

Kilkenny Arts Festival has a long and rich history of presenting classical music programmes that feature leading musicians from all over the world. For the first time, that loyal audience has the opportunity to experience opera at the festival. Kilkenny Arts Festival is delighted to be working with Cork Opera House to present their production of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Featuring Irish divas Cara O’Sullivan, Mary Hegarty and Majella Cullagh this production offers a fresh and innovative take on a classic opera and is set to be one of the hot tickets of this year’s programme.