Alternative Kilkenny Arts (AKA) is a collaboration of people living in Kilkenny who have an interest in or practice within the arts around the City and County. Alternative Kilkenny Arts Fringe Festival provides a great opportunity for many not involved in the main programme to exhibit, perform, recite and activate their work around the City during the Festival. There has from time to time been a tradition of an informal fringe programme to compliment the main festival. But it has been inconsistent. AKA is endeavouring to bring together these strands under a single programme to promote a diverse range of artistic and creative talent, offer a platform and to raise awareness to patrons of the festival that all of this is going on in our City; all of the time!

In the limited time and within the limited resources we had to put this together, we regret that much of the visual arts strand and many other events are not listed here. It would simply be impossible to cover it all. It is our hope that in exploring our lovely little City that you will wander in to many of the wonderful exhibitions that cram every available wall space in the City and even on our Mayor’s Walk.

We are most grateful to all who have given of their time, shared their skills and donated hard cash to bring this programme together. A big thanks to Karol Ryan for his graphic design work and to all the artists, musicians, creators, practitioners and misfits who make Kilkenny such a unique melting pot of creativity. Most of all we hope that you will go out and shop local and buy and support Alternative Kilkenny Arts! Enjoy the Festival!

There is no committee as such, but these people helped putting stuff together for this, our second AKA Fringe. It’s open to everyone and very inclusive so get involved! Willie Meighan, Malcolm Noonan, Karol Ryan, Arthur Drohan, Niamh Moroney, Cathal McFarlane, Ciaran O Neill, John Cleere , Mary Butler, Catriona Dowling, Andrea Keogh, Willie Byrne, John Morton, Stacy Walsh, Philip Brennan, James Taylor, Ailsa Barrie...

Although largely a vouluntary project, driven by passion and enthusiasm, there are still considerable costs incurred in putting such an exciting programme together. TransferMate Global Payments in the IDA Business Park have come on board as main sponsor for a second year. Kilkenny County Council have also given financial support.

There’s a hugely diverse musical programme happening this year, which kicked off on July 28th and continues until August 14th.

Cleeres Theatre jam packed programme continues with Irish acts such as David Kitt, The Casey Sisters, The Whiskey Kings and international acts Yorkston Thorne Khan, Dick Valentine of Electric Six fame and Spirit Family Reunion. Over in Billy Byrnes there’s an eclectic line up including the legendary Andy Irvine and Sing Along Social on August 14th. Brewery Corner welcomes up and coming acts Rusangano Family, Bad Poster Girl as well as the Songwriters In The Round monthly. Other gigs include Anne McCue in Ryans, Jimmy Crowley in the Home Rule Club and Soul Power in The Pumphouse.

The visual strand features a vast selection of local and national art and craft with exhibitions from Blackstack Studios who celebrate five years at their home at 42 Parliament Street, The Kilkenny Art Gallery with a pop up gallery on John’s Bridge, Fintan Whelan (Rothe House), Helena Gorey (The Lodge, Burnchurch), Dathaí ÓhUallacháin (Harry’s Bar, Langtons), Mary H Hickey (Kilkenny Castle) Tony Oakey (Clubhouse Hotel), Roger Beeken (Rothe House), Agnieszka Lech (Ryans) and Nicky Anthony (Bosco’s Café). None Of The Above from Steve Aylin and Ale Mercado takes place in Kilkenny Arts Office and Recapture from Louis Buggy, Matthew Hickey & Lynda McDonald is presented at 41 Parliament Street. Photographic exhibitions include Anthony Griffin’s An Uncommon Beauty in Cleeres and Project Migrants, a study of the refugee crisis in Loughboy Library. Craft exhibits include Made In Kilkenny with Rhythms In Making at Butler House, Crossover in The Rudolf Heltzel Gallery and Peter Scroope on Williams Lane.

For fans of theatre, comedy and spoken word, in Cleeres Theatre, acclaimed comedy troupe Dreamgun present Mimes In Time (August 1&2), Clear Blue Flaming Red is a night of spoken word from Siobhán Harte, Helena Duggan and Amanda Kelly (August 4th), Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (August 8th-10th) and the panel discussion Hot Air, a community response to climate change on August 6th. An Evening With Liam Nugent sees the cult comedy oddball play Brewery Corner on August 4th, A Hungry Feelin’ a night of Dublin themed work in Ryans on August 5th and Understanding Beckett takes place in the Pembroke Hotel on the same date.

These events are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s happening in Kilkenny over the festival. For a full rundown and ticket details please visit Keep up to date with the festival at and on Twitter at @akakilkenny.



Cleere’s, 3rd August, 9pm. €15.00

Yorkston/Thorne/Khan are an experimental group that includes James Yorkston, one of the most “influential singer/songwriters on the Scottish folk scene”, Suhail Yusuf Khan, award-winning sarangi player and classical singer from New Delhi and Jon Thorne, best known as jazz double bass player with electro outfit Lamb. The trio has released their collaborative debut album ‘Everything Sacred’.

“Playing together as Yorkston / Thorne / Khan, we tackle a wide array of different sounds and songs. Alongside pieces of our own, there’s a fair chunk of improvisation, plus covers of Ivor Cutler’s ‘Little Black Buzzer’ and Lal Waterson’s ‘Song For Thirza’. Jon’s jazz background definitely comes to the fore, as does Suhail’s devotional singing and outstanding sarangi playing. I just do my best to keep up…”– James Yorkston


Billy Byrnes, 4th August, 8pm.€20.00

This is an intimate, all seated, acoustic performance – a rare opportunity to see a legend of Irish music perform up close.

Andy Irvine is a popular folk singer and founding member of the band Planxty. He is an accomplished musician and his talents stretch to mandolin, bouzouki, banjo and harmonica amongst many others. With his impressive repertoire of Irish traditional songs and dexterous Balkan dance tunes, he creates an exciting new fusion of Irish and World Music.


Billy Byrnes, 4th August, 9pm

Musicians are welcome, and there’s no cover charge.


Cleere’s, 5th August, 9.30pm. €10.00

David Kitt is back with a phenomenal solo show, performing many of his much-loved songs as well as new tracks from his eagerly awaited forthcoming seventh album – his first since 2009’s critically acclaimed The Nightsaver.

A busy 2015 took the Dubliner to Body & Soul, Another Love Story, Other Voices and to Vicar Street’s stage with Jape in addition to a string of successful Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, Belfast, Wexford and Limerick dates. The finale – a sold out Whelan’s show in Dublin – was a stunning musical journey throughout Kittser’s past, present and bright future.


Brewery Corner, 6th August, 9.30pm. €12/€15

Rusangano Family is made up of God Knows, MuRli and mynameisjOhn. 2 MCs and 1 DJ. Based in the West of Ireland, the trio have been steadily building their own unique brand of dynamic bass-led music that owes little to genre cliches and style restrictions. Despite their diverse cultural backgrounds, the group operates first and foremost as a family unit. They want you as part of the family too. While the trio have been working together closely over the last two years, Rusangano Family is the amalgamated title that will see the unit push forward with in 2016.


Cleere’s, 7th August, 9.00pm. €10.00

Dick Valentine of hit-machine Electric Six rides into town on a Satanic horse to break it down for you. He will be playing stripped down acoustic versions of songs from the Electric Six catalogue as well as songs from his three solo albums. His newest solo release, “Here Come The Bags” is much bigger in sound than his first two solo releases and can be purchased directly from Valentine at the shows. The acoustic experience with Dick Valentine is low-pressure, high-stakes, medium-rare. Come feel Dick Valentine feeling you. He’s an American music legend and he’s seeking political asylum in your Irish mind. One night only.


Ryans, 9th August, 9pm. €10.00

Bluesy songstress and multi-instrumentalist Anne McCue has released her 6th studio album – Blue Sky Thinkin’ . McCue recorded and produced the album alongside Dusty Wakeman (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam) in Los Angeles and Nashville. The album has been mastered by Ray Kennedy in Nashville. The album reunites the band from her critically acclaimed ‘Roll’ album and allows Anne to explore some of her favourite influences, including Billy Holiday, Charlie Christian, Howlin’ Wolf, Memphis Minnie, Astor Piazzola, Peggy Lee, Irving Berlin, Django Reinhardt, Hoagy Carmichael, Bessie Smith…

“Initially, her stunning voice hooked me in. Then I got inside the songs. The first chance I got, I went to see her perform . . . I was floored!” Lucinda Williams


Brewery Corner, 9th August, 9pm. Free

Bad Poster Girl plays the songs of Emmy Lou Harris, Anne McCue, Cherry Ghost, Eva Cassidy, Barbara Lynn, Eddie Vedder, The Waifs, Tom Waits, Patty Griffin, Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, Lisa Loeb, Delta Spirit, Kristin Hersh, M Ward, Deer Tick, Grand Drive, Patti Smith, Gillian Welch, and more...


Cleere’s,11th August, 9pm. €15.00

Sibling Revelry is the début album from the Casey / Ní Chathasaigh sisters, who grew up in a West Cork household steeped in traditional music and song. Having carved very different careers, they have come together for this special project to mine the musical riches of their family,neighbourhood, county and country, while at the same time creating new melodies from the same deep spring and a unique and heartfelt sound.

The recording showcases their exceptional expressive gifts and is a bewitching mixture of sparkling Irish dance-music, rare and meltingly beautiful airs (some never before recorded), lovely songs and memorable new compositions.


Brewery Corner, 11th August, 8.45pm. €7.00

Three songwriters share the stage performing ‘in the round’ and sharing the stories behind the songs.


Pumphouse, 12th August, 10pm. Free

Soul Power are very pleased to bring you some of the finest R&B and Soul collectors and deejays from Ireland. Included in the lineup we have Bill Kealy (For Dancers Only Dublin & Wexford),David Meehan (Dublin), Darren MacDomhnaill (Pow City Dublin), Jim Larmour (Belfast), Frank Franco (Limerick via Italy) and Geraldine Fahey (The Sunday Social Dublin & Kilkenny). So get those dancing shoes polished and come get some Soul Power.


Home Rule Club, 12th August, 8.30pm. €10.00

Jimmy Crowley has been a central figure in the Irish folk scene since the enthusiastic reception of his debut album The Boys of Fairhill in 1977.

The second album, Camphouse Ballads hurtled the band into the vortex of the folk scene; they were now performing at folk festivals and making tv appearances in Ireland, Britain and America .Both albums were produced by Micheál Ó Dómhnaill of the Bothy Band. Like Chris Twomey of Stokers Lodge, Micheál was a seminal influence in Jimmy’s musical education.


Cleere’s, 13th August, 9pm. €15.00

Over 25 years ago these five traditional musicians started playing together and some of their gigs of the past are the stuff of Kilkenny music legend.. Now, for the firstime time in over five years they reunite for a one-ff gig in Cleere’s.

Paddy Cleere – Banjo, Bouzouki, Vocals

Anthony McAuley – Fiddle

Tommy Lanigan – Bodhrán, Vocals

Liam Moore- Guitar, Vocals

Mick McAuley – Accordion, Whistles, Vocals


Cleere’s 14th August, 9.00pm. €15.00

Spirit Family Reunion is a touring band based out of New York that aims to deliver raw, high-energy honest music.

They have self-produced and self-released two full-length albums (“no separation” 2012 & “hands together” 2015) as well as multiple songbooks and other collections of recordings.



Cleere’s, 4th August, 8pm. Free

Spoken Word to Chill & Burn

By: Siobhán Harte | Helena Duggan | Amanda Kelly

Siobhán Harte has had stories & poems short listed at international competition and had pieces published & broadcast. She really enjoys ‘telling’ the stories and has written and performed many short stories/ monologues.

Amanda Kelly writes about real life. She has had great success with the comic-tragedy ‘The Bus to Ballyragget’ which she wrote & also directed. Her stories are available to read in the Anthology ‘Hammered Glass’

Helena Duggan

Helena is a graphic designer and children’s writer from Kilkenny. Her first book, A Place Called Perfect, will be published by Usborne in 2017.


Brewery Corner, 4th August, 8pm. €5.00

Stand-up comedian and raconteur Liam Nugent presents his very first one-man show, a night of jokes, stories, celebrity anecdotes and a delve into his deepest, darkest past. Warning: political correctness not included! With support from Brendan “Spoofer” Tyrrell.

Prepare for an evening of laughs (and mild terror) with one of Ireland’s most enigmatic comedy oddballs.


Pembroke Hotel, 5th August, 8pm. €10.00

Leading Beckett scholar and poet, Dr Arthur Broomfield gives a lecture ‘Understanding Beckett’, in the Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny on Friday August 5th at 8pm. Dr Broomfield’s study on the works of Beckett The Empty Too : language and philosophy in the works of Samuel Beckett has been critically reviewed and is available from the publishers Cambridge Scholars’ Publishing. Dr Broomfield’s lectures are provocative and thought provoking., ‘For too long interpretations of Beckett have been controlled by academia.I hope, through my lectures, to make his works accessible to the general reader ‘ says the Laois Doctor of philosophy.


Ryans, 5th August, 9.00pm. Free

Following on from last year’s sold out W.B Yeats themed evening ,Cathal McFarlane curates a night of the songs,poems and stories of Dublin City and county presented by a rogues gallery of minstrels,bards and raconteurs.


Cleere’s, 6th August, 8pm. Free

A panel discussion on how we can take control of climate change at a community level when political leadership is missing.

With: John Gibbons Climate Writer and campaigner, Duncan Stewart Environmental campaigner and Eco Eye presenter and James Nix Transport campaigner

Join us for what promises to be an engaging, passionate and heated discussion on the biggest challenge facing humanity and our planet.

FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Cleere’s, 8th, 9th, 10th August, 8pm. €10.00

After a successful run in Cork, Fleabag is back! Fleabag is an anti-heroine; a refreshingly honest woman who isn’t afraid to admit what she thinks is wrong with her. Through her interactions with strangers on the tube, her family and the only real regular at the guinea-pig-themed café she opened with her best friend Boo, we get to see a glimpse of the world through her eyes. Selfish, perverted, cynical and depraved, it may not be pretty… but it’s funny as hell.


Ryans, 13th August, 9.30pm. Free

Captain Anchor’s Cabaret Cruise is a colourful and flamboyant romp through musical theatre, pop and dance. This event hosted by local cabaret superstar Captain Anchor. This show also guest stars cabaret dancer and choreographer Marina Rose.

Captain Anchor creates bespoke cabaret shows and costumes for each event, combining stand up, mime, Burlesque and a razor sharp wit.

This show operates similar to the free fringe in Edinburgh. Free in, but donate your way out after the show!


Rothe House, 5th, 10th, 13th August, 10.30am to 12.30pm. €15.00 (including materials).

Face Traces (5th Aug).

A simple face is drawn on paper with a black or blue marker. A series of tracing paper sheets are added and punched to hold in place. Each child work on every sheet with one colour using fine felt-tipped markers to build up the image. When finished all can be placed against the windows to maximise their illuminosity. A larger piece can then be also collectively created.

Picasso Heads and Figures (10th Aug).

Children have the chance to fold,cut, paint, glue, tear cardboard to form Picasso-styled heads. Eyes, noses, ears and mouths are added and overlapped asymmetrically to create funny sculpture-like tactile objects. Additionally a large “Rothe” figure can be collectively created by the kids in the second part of the workshop. The 17th century meets a surreal 20/21st century.

Plexiglass and Bubble Abstract Canvases (13th Aug).

Acrylic paints are poured onto plexiglass and mix directly on the surface. Paper is then placed over the wet paint which absorbs the paint and then the sheet is removed to be let dry. Each child can create a number of these simple prints using a variety of colours. Once the kids have practice a larger collective piece can be worked on.

The second part of the workshop entails painting small plastic-wrapped canvases where paint is squirted under the plastic using plastic syringes which also produce air bubbles that stay trapped to form organic patterns and shapes. A larger canvas can be worked on at the end by all the kids.

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