Up to 45,00 people are expected to enjoy a distinctive and inspiring programme in a range of artistic disciplines at the 41st Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The official opening of the festival will take place later today in Butler House.
Earlier today a packed St John’s Priory enjoyed the opening performance of the festival by The Heath Quartet of Beethoven OP 130.
In recent years the festival, which is the longest running arts festival in Ireland has broadened its programming remit and now programmes the following art forms; Theatre & Dance, Classical Music, Music, Street, Literature, Visual Art and Craft.
Underpinning the presentation of events is the commitment to bring work to Kilkenny that would not be seen outside the festival context, and a desire to commission and produce new work from Ireland and abroad.
Festival Director Eugene Downes said that anticipation was building in the days leading up to the festival opening.
“There’s a great sense of excitement. We’re proud to be putting Kilkenny on the global artistic stage and to bring so many thousands of visitors into the city, providing a real boost to local businesses.
“Some of our artists have already arrived in Kilkenny – Max Streicher is installing his magical clouds in old St Mary’s Church – and a number of concerts, performances, talks and workshops have already sold. I’m delighted at the huge response to two of our most ambitious series, Beethoven Quest and the Marble City Sessions. And up at Castle Yard we’re getting ready for the arrival of Shakespeare’s Globe with their brand-new production of Much Ado About Nothing. The Globe actors tell us that the audiences in Kilkenny are some of their favourite in the world,” he added.