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Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Unveils Programme of Events

September 26, 2019 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

Developed through more than 100 partnerships with 33 different countries represented, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture today unveiled its core programme for the year, with the themes of landscape, language and migration.

Galway 2020 will open with a free week-long festival of fire starting on Saturday 1 February 2020 moving through six towns and villages across Galway culminating in a spectacular Opening Ceremony in Galway City on Saturday 8 February 2020.

1 February was traditionally known as Imbolc, an ancient Pagan festival dedicated to women and fertility, and marked the first day of Spring in the Celtic calendar. Reflecting the entwined roots of Ireland’s cultural history in Pagan and Gaelic traditions, it is sometimes known as St Brigid’s Day, after Ireland’s most important female saint. Imbolc has been chosen as the official start of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, launching a programme that will run over four seasons until January 2021.

The programme over the course of the year will range across music, theatre, literature, visual arts, dance, film, architecture, heritage, sport, food, with the majority of projects being free to audiences. Each of the four seasons will open with a spectacular fire festival, referring to the Irish tradition of marking the new season with fire. Each fiery celebration will be created by a different artist or creative organisation.

Galway 2020 Creative Director Helen Marriage said:

“Galway, with its ancient landscapes and histories, its different peoples and its many languages is an extraordinary place, where artists have always led the way.  It is a privilege for us at Artichoke to play a part in shaping this unique celebration of the culture of Ireland, reflecting on its importance in a European and global context. Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture is built on the efforts of those creative people who have chosen to live and work here over the last 40 years. This programme introduces what I hope will be a year of radical thinking. In these challenging times, when Ireland has been thrust centre-stage into the debate about what it means to be European, Galway 2020 invites a community of artists – those prophets of the future – to hold up a mirror and help us make sense of our world.”

Events Include:

• Galway joins with Boston, Belfast and Nashville to host concerts by transatlantic stars of country, blues, gospel, folk and bluegrass

• Mountains of Connemara turning green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in largest ever light spectacle by Finnish light artist Kari Kola

• Druid Theatre takes Ireland’s greatest 20th century one-act plays to towns and villages across Galway county

• American artist, David Best, of Burning Man fame, to create major new work with young people from Derry and Galway

• Giant Mirror Pavilion by Irish artist John Gerrard set in 4,000 year-old Connemara bog

• Dramatic new interpretation of literary epic Gilgamesh by Galway master storytellers Macnas, written by Marina Carr and designed by Julian Crouch

• Margaret Atwood takes part in International Women’s Day celebrations

• J M Synge,  key figure in the Irish Literary Revival, co-founder of the Abbey Theatre, celebrated in major new festival in Galway and Aran Islands

• Homer’s Odyssey presented on tour of beaches of Galway

• Galway’s multiple music and theatre festivals participate in Galway 2020 with enhanced programmes

• 16 European partners join Galway to inspire young European filmmakers

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