Looking back at Culture Night in Laois
Review of Culture Night in Laois, Friday 21st September
Laois had a host of events happening around the county on Friday 21st September for Culture Night 2018. There was definitely something for everyone to enjoy this year. Families enjoyed a wonderful Circus Street Theatre performance and Circus Skills Workshop with Maria Corcoran and friends at the plaza at County Hall, including stilt walking, juggling, hula hoop, balance, acrobatics and more. At the Parish centre, Portlaoise a great crowd turned out to Explore Cultural Connections with music, song, dance and food displays by intercultural groups and visitors also got to take in a beautiful display of Mountmellick Embroidery by the Portlaoise Group. The Dunamaise Arts Centre screened the wonderful Oscar nominated animation film ‘The Breadwinner’ and launched the most wonderful out of this world exhibition titled ‘A Painted Otherworld’, curated by Rebecca Deegan with work by eight artists who’s focus is the surreal. Laois Youth Dance Ensemble showcased their new premises at 74A main street, Portlaoise with a photographic exhibition Heart, Bridges a Dance film and a contemporary Dance Class Taster for young people. Portlaoise Comhaltas gave Free Music Lessons in St Francis School, New Road, Portlaoise and Laois Writers Group held an open evening and were joined by new budding writers at Portlaoise Library. Later into the night, at the Dunamaise Theatre, an appreciative audience enjoyed the most amazing concert by singer-songwriter James O’Connor, joined by Matt Cross (drums), Terry Byrne (guitar) and Denise Boyle (fiddle) performing all original music. A group of people took the opportunity to take a free bus tour to visit Roundwood House, Mountrath to view the most amazing Pop Up Exhibition by artist Jen Donnery, titled “Hidden Spaces” celebrating the beautiful hidden spaces of the house. At Heritage House, Abbeyleix families enjoyed ‘Stories from the Past’ read by local school children. Arles Art Group had a wonderful exhibition of Arts and Crafts at the Community Hall, showcasing their work. A group of people visited the Pop Up Gaeltacht at An Sean Chistin, Ballyfin for an informal evening of chat as Gaeilge with some music added in. Free guided tours took place at Donaghmore Famine Workhouse led by Trevor Stanley and free guided tours took place at Emo Court. An interesting interactive visual arts event called ‘Fold and Rise’ was held at Castlewood Farm, Durrow hosted by artist Maeve Collins.
At the Balcony Theatre, Mountmellick a packed house thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Best of the Irish’ directed by Frances Harney, where costumed performers brought the great Irish writers of prose, poetry, drama, music and song alive on stage. Mountmellick Library hosted the Ashling Art Group exhibition and Mountmellick Comhaltas visited St Vincent’s Hospital, Mountmellick for a performance. There was a family puppet show at Portarlington and Stradbally Libraries and late opening at the Laois Arthouse Gallery to show the wonderful work of six artists “The Stradbally Six” that included paintings, ceramics and film. Also in Stradbally the Ratheniska CCE had a Culture Night Seisiún at Droimnin Nursing Home for residents, staff and visitors. Mount Henry Art Studio in Killenard opened to welcome visitors for most of the day to enjoy viewing and making art. A large crowd attended and enjoyed a traditional musical evening hosted by Spink Comhaltas, in Knock Community Hall.
Laois County Council would like to thank all those involved in organising events in Laois.
For more information about Culture Night please contact:
The Arts Office, Laois County Council, Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co Laois
or visit the National Culture Night website www.culturenight.ie