Lasta Festival comes to Dunamaise Arts Centre

Lasta Festival comes to Dunamaise Arts Centre


Dunamaise Arts Centre’s Young Curators Bill O’Brien and Aoife Dunne, as part of their role as NASC Network Young Curators, present Lasta Festival– a festival for young people, by young people.

Dunamaise Arts Centre and its partner venues in the NASC Regional Venue Network have teamed up to present a national festival across seven regional theatres. Throughout the past year, the Young Curators had the opportunity to meet up with curators from other venues. They attended a wide range of shows and events such as the Galway International Arts Festival and the Dublin Fringe Festival. This all culminates in a week long festival of events from the 3rd to the 8th of June 2024, with each event hand selected by Aoife and Bill with young audiences in mind.

Bill O’Brien, a Portlaoise native, is currently studying a Masters of Education (PME) in Secondary Education at UCD and is an accomplished musician and music teacher.  Playing banjo, guitar and mandolin as well as singing, Bill primarily performs traditional Irish music, but also enjoys playing jazz, country, bluegrass and classical music. He has performed at many notable events over the years, including Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, National and International Ploughing Championships, St. Patrick’s Day Festival Dublin, Kilkenny Arts Festival and Bealtaine Festival.

Aoife Dunne, from Abbeyleix, is a student and about to enter year three of Sculpture/ Combined Media in the Limerick School of Art and Design.  Aoife has a particular interest in community engagement and is a member of Plan International’s Youth Advisory Panel, a global development organisation broadly focused on Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on girls and women. Aoife completed a QQI Level 6 course in Advanced Art in Abbeyleix FETC and previously exhibited in Dunamaise Arts Centre as part of the graduate show from this course in 2022. She was also a participant in the Leave a Light On Programme in December 2021, and in Faoin Spéir festival as part of Re:CENTRING Laois in April 2022. 

Programme of Events

The festival kicked off on the 10th of May with the launch event- Shampain Presents: An Irish Destiny Re-Scored. Galway-based and internationally renowned DJ, Shampain, brought an Irish silent cinema classic ‘Irish Destiny’ back to life with a new soundtrack, mixed live as the film was screened in Dunamaise. 

Tuesday 4th June | 8pm | €15

Regular Dunamaise Yoga facilitator Steph McLaughlin will lead this very atmospheric class in Dunamaise Gallery, with immaculate soundscapes created live by Harpanno. Places limited.

Wednesday 4th June | 8pm | €8/€5

A refreshingly unique raunchy comedy, focuses on two girls, PJ and Josie, who start a fight club as a way to lose their virginities to cheerleaders. Their bizarre plan works. The fight club gains traction and soon the most popular girls in school are beating each other up in the name of self-defense. But PJ and Josie find themselves in over their heads and in need of a way out before their plan is exposed. Rated 15A

Thursday 6th June | 8pm | €15 

Pebbledash are a 6 piece shoegaze alt-rock band from Cork, incorporating elements of noise rock and dream pop to create textured and melodic soundscapes. The six-piece recently sold out a headline gig in Cyprus Avenue, Cork, and their debut EP is set to release in mid 2024. 

James O’Connor shares a selection of inspired, heart-felt and uplifting songs. His defiant and rousing music, with unabashedly honest lyrics, are sure to resonate with the soul.

Friday 7th June | Fashion from 6pm, Music from 7pm | €3

The Dunamise’s sustainable fashion swap shops are back! 

A conscious clothes swap, facilitated by artist Rebecca Deegan, kind to the environment and your wallet! 

From now until the event, exchange good condition clothes, accessories, and shoes for tokens in the Dunamaise Arts Centre. All genders and sizes welcome! On the day, swap each token for a new-to-you piece of fashion!

With special guests Shauna Ward and My Brat Bhride.

Join us in the Mezzanine afterwards for a celebration of Traditional Irish music with Portlaoise TradFest. A live sessiún with some of Laois’ best trad musicians.

Saturday 8th June | 2pm | Free

Family-friendly dance performance for ages 4+. With playful energy, impressive acrobatics, comic timing and a joyful soundscape, two dancers create a magical world through the clever manipulation of simple balloons.

Saturday 8th June | 8pm | €15

Greenshine is a Cork based RTE Folk Awards nominated trio, consisting of Mary Greene, Noel Shine and their daughter Ellie. Greenshine’s music straddles the boundaries of Folk, Indie and Americana with outstanding harmonies, skillful stringwork and critically acclaimed songwriting.

Established in 2006, the NASC Network is a partnership of eight venues who work together to present touring projects and share marketing and other areas of expertise. The Young Curators Programme is based on a project originally conceived and delivered by Backstage Theatre, Longford in 2020 

The Dunamaise chapter of the Young Curators Programme and LASTA Festival events are funded by the Arts Council and Creative Ireland Laois.