The Arts

In association with Sligo Today

New York Performance Group for Sligo Bealtaine Festival

Added: 03/05/18 : 06:57:17

New York Performance Group to play Sligo as part of the Bealtaine Festival
The month of May sees the return of the annual Bealtaine festival, a month-long national celebration of the arts and creativity as a life-long journey.
This year the festival is 23 years old but shows no signs of slowing down with its most ambitious programme of events yet. ‘Be Our Guest’ is the first in a three-year-themed event showcasing the very best of Ireland’s older artists in theatre, literature, visual arts, dance and music. 

A highlight of the nationwide ‘Be Our Guest’ programme is Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) by the wonderful Split Britches duo of Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver.

This ‘Bealtaine on Tour’ special lands in Sligo’s The Factory Performance Space on Friday 4th May.

Combining a Dr Strangelove-inspired performance, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) explores ageing, anxiety, hidden desires and how to look forward when the future is uncertain. In our Situation Room, twelve audience members are invited to become a Council of Elders to discuss the global issues of the day, as the company weave in satirical insights and humour in the guise of Strangelove’s general and president.
This event runs alngside an incredible programme of Bealtaine events hosted by Sligo Arts Service.
Age & Opportunity acknowledges the principal support of the Arts Council of Ireland for the Bealtaine festival.
For more information visit

Cairde's Big Auction tonight

Added: 03/05/18 : 06:49:58

Each year Cairde Sligo Arts Festival holds The Big Auction - a fundraising auction, which raises essential funds towards making the festival happen. This always proves to be a great night out with amazing donations, unbelievable bargains and a lot of fun along the way with our auctioneer Niall Canning. 

The Big Auction takes place tonight, Thursday May 3rd at the Glasshouse Hotel from 8pm.

Some of the items for auction this year include a range of incredible artworks from artists Michael Wann, Cormac O’Leary, Lorna Watkins, Barra Cassidy, Marilin North, Heidi Wickham and more; jewellery and accessory donations from The Cat and the Moon and Cait & I; vouchers for Cafés & restaurants, gym memberships; a wonderful range of holistic treatments; a myriad of indoor and outdoor activities; festival and concert tickets, and much more! 

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival will take place this year from July 7th to 14th and once again Sligo will come to life with an incredible range of music, theatre, spoken word, dance, poetry trails, children's and family events, visual art and more.

Some of this year's festival highlights include the annual massive outdoor celebration Park Fest on Sunday July 8th, and the addition of the Circus Big Top coming to Stephen St Car Park in Sligo town from July 12th to 14th. The Big top will be filled with circus, street theatre and cabaret performances; clowning and circus workshops for children with performances by Tumble Circus, Lords of Strut and more.

The annual Cairde Visual open submission show presented by the Model will run from Wednesday July 11th to August 19th and will present work from local, national and international visual artists. Music highlights will include Flook, Jerry Creedon Trio, Katie Laffan, Lemoncello, New Jackson Music & Margie Lewis, Disco é Cultura, Niwel Tsumbu & Eamon Cagney. Highlights for kids include the multi-award winning theatre company This Egg with Me & My Bee – an engaging and comic show with a serious message about saving the bees.

Festival Director Tara McGowan says “Cairde Sligo Arts Festival is on its way to becoming a major flagship arts festival for the North West. We are really delighted to have such strong support from so many different sectors in Sligo helping us to raise valuable funds to make the arts festival happen. The Big Auction is always a fun night.

Jon Kenny and Mary Mc Evoy in character in The Match Maker Mary Mc Evoy returns to the North West in "The Match Maker"

Added: 27/04/18 : 11:57:01

By Dervilla Keegan

THE MATCHMAKER based on the novella “Letters of a County Matchmaker” by JOHN B. KEANE one of Ireland’s most celebrated writers, will play in The Rainbow, Ballroom of Romance in Leitrim Saturday, April 28th. 

The production directed by Michael Scott stars television favorite Mary McEvoy known for her role as Biddie in the long running RTE series Glenroe and actor and comedian Jon Kenny who was part of the Irish comic duo d’Unbelievables with Pat Shortt. Kenny is also best known outside Ireland for appearing in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.

Together they play a myriad of characters in this hilarious and earthy dramatic comedy. But for Mary Mc Evoy going back to the Ballroom of Romance will be a trip down memory lane as she and director Michael Scott return to a place that touched their hearts 10 years ago. 

In 2008 Mary starred under the mirror ball of the famous Ballroom in another of Michael Scotts productions, called “Dancing at the Ballroom”. It brought together professional actors with local people taking part in the performance under the creative guidance of Scott. It was here that the local community made a lasting impression on Mc Evoy. 

She happily looks back at it in glowing terms describing it as “My favorite gig of all time”, no mean compliment considering Mc Envoy’s acting caliber and career to date, “The locals were amazing” she says recalling how they enthusiastically partook in Scotts project to create what she describes as “lovely community theatre”. People came from far and wide to be part of it. She explains, “the whole community supported it” In fact McEvoy laughs as she warmly adds, “Most of them were in it”!

She is looking forward to returning to the ballroom and hopefully catching up with some of those familiar faces when she stars in “The Matchmaker” alongside Jon Kenny. The play follows the efforts of Dicky Mick Dicky O Connor to make matches for the lonely and lovelorn.

Keane, an avid observer of people and the cultures that bind and create their view of the world uses “The Matchmaker” as an exploration of rural loneliness. He was also aware that generations of people became masters of their own destinies late in life, and only then began to look for companionship and love, once their duties as minder of aging parents were concluded or they had finally inherited, or were the left over brother or sister.

Many of the themes are still very relevant. When a common sight is heads looking down at screens while engrossed in social media  “People don’t talk to each other very much anymore’ Mc Evoy observes although she’s more hopeful that our love affair with our phones might be turning sour and people are becoming more aware of the negative aspects to them. She acknowledges still the many positives that the internet has given in reducing social isolation by helping people keep in touch and share common interests.

She’d be a firm believer of the importance of becoming computer literate later in life for those kinds of reasons. Other issues are very close to her heart. She’s very passionate about what she sees as the lack of a voice for rural issues, and how she sees contemporary Ireland as “very urban centered” with rural Ireland as being “very neglected”. There’s often ignorance from city dwellers about the day-to-day reality of living in rurally.

“There’s a thriving culture of people being ignored,” she says.

But even though the play deals with such earthy themes of isolation she says that audiences can look forward to a “very very funny play”! With a focus on loneliness, its not just emotional loneliness, it’s physical too. The characters aren’t backward coming forward as they are frank about those needs. As Mc Evoy says when looking for a match they don’t want to be hard done by, and make sure using Keanes dialogue that “the natural faculties are in fair working order”!

Through his inimitable way with words and his sense of “devilment” and wit, Keane delves into the longings, hungers, fears and foibles of this collection of lonely county people and creates a marvelously colourful world, taking us back to a simpler time, when phones were few and far between and the only web was one left behind by spiders.

The Matchmaker will no doubt receive a warm welcome returning to old friends and new friends at the Ballroom, April 28th. 8pm. Tickets are available to book at the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance and an array of local businesses.


Photo: Catriona Bonner Macbeth at The Glens

Added: 27/04/18 : 12:04:22

New York City. 1996. The world is a blurry, neon, sweaty daze and the Club Kids rule the party scene with no signs of slowing down.

It's long past midnight but behind the glamour, glitter and late-night raves, something wicked this way comes...

This colourful take on the William Shakespeare’s Macbeth will make you think of the bard’s writing in a whole new way.

With compelling visuals and a soundtrack to remember, it is perfect for those who are both new and seasoned in Shakespeare.

as part of the Where We Are Now LGBT+ Theatre Festival
2pm, 2nd May
8.30pm, 3rd May
The Glens Centre, New Line, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim
(071) 9855833