The Festival Committee have been working tirelessly since it was decided to reform in April of this year. Cootehill Arts Festival was first established in 1988 and had great success and enjoyed great support and enthusiasm from the people of Cootehill and beyond, but sadly it faded away for various reasons. The idea to reform the Arts Festival had been kicked around for quite some time and after several meetings it was agreed to re-establish. We have an excellent and vigorous committee, chaired and directed by artist John Blakey, and administrator and treasurer Connie Whelan.
With its unique blend of visual theatre, music and magic, Footsbarn Theatre Company, one of the world’s leading touring companies and renowned for their exciting adaptations of classics such as Shakespeare and Moliere, will be bringing their 400-seater circus big top to the festival this year. On the bill, will be 2 performances of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ on the 23rd and 24th of August and 2 performances of a ‘Molliere Farce’ on the 26th and 27th of August.
On Friday 25th August, there will be the Rescue 116 Memorial Concert, held in honour of the 4 crew who lost their lives off the coast of Mayo in March. We felt this would be a fitting tribute to hold as Captain Dara Fitzpatrick’s family hail from Cootehill. A special Memorial Programme is being printed with forwards from Prince William – himself a rescue helicopter pilot – and from president Michael D. Higgins. The concert will be hosted by Ray D’Arcy, and performers will include Triona Marshall of The Chieftains, Martin Tourish, The Clew Bay Pipe Band, Janice Igoe, Declan O’Rourke, The Roscommon Solstice Choir, world champion Irish dancers, and other major stars yet to be announced. Money raised from this event is to be donated to the RNLI.
For the duration of the festival we also have the honour of featuring a retrospective exhibition on the works of the late David Gallagher. David was born and raised in Camden, London and attended the Hornsey College of Art. He would later go on to teach in the comprehensive school in Cootehill. The scope of David Gallagher’s work is wide in range and the exhibit will showcase some of his finest works, including sculpture, bronze and scrap metal, pottery, paintings and screen prints.
Throughout the week there will be many other events staged at venues around the town, including circus skills, art and theatre workshops, story-telling, poetry readings, photography exhibition and a Festival Miscellany. A special exhibition of paintings from Annaghmakerrig, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre will be on display in the library throughout the Festival. Visitors to the town will notice scarecrows appearing all over the place as Cootehill’s Scarecrow Competition is running concurrently with the Festival. There are generous cash prizes for first second and third.
Tickets for both Footsbarn and the Rescue 116 Memorial Concert are available now on Eventbrite.ie
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