From ANU’s Thirteen to Nic Green’s Fatherland to Louise White’s Way Back Home to Dead Centre’s Lippy to The Trailblazery’s Rites of Passage; this programme, more than any other in Dublin Fringe Festival’s history, actively encourages you to think and participate in a state of the nation debate through the work presented in it. HotForTheatre’s BREAK platforms a school staff room as a microcosm for a broader Irish society, while Collapsing Horse’s Distance from the Event hurls us into the future to look back on the now. \
Over the past five years it has been an extraordinary privilege to work alongside artists who are politically and socially engaged; who want to make work that questions who we are as a nation, where we’ve come from and where we are going. In thinking about the design for this brochure we spoke to our designer about the idea of a ‘soft revolution’. I think that has really happened in the performing arts in the past five years in Ireland. A whole new generation have cut their teeth (mostly here at Dublin Fringe Festival) and come of age, bringing you, an engaged and enthusiastic audience, with them.
This year we have aimed to strengthen and bolster some of those artists by co-producing work with them, notably Thirteen with ANU and BREAK with HotForTheatre. With BREAK, we initiate Fringe on Tour, where HotForTheatre will play run on dates in Draíocht, Blanchardstown. We are also delighted to have commissioned the incredible musical duo Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Nic Gareiss to make their first theatre show under the direction and design of Willfredd Theatre’s Sophie Motley and Sarah Jane Shiels.
In participating in The Gathering, we’ve invited Irish artists abroad to come back home with something new, most notably the brilliant Maeve Higgins, who premieres her first play Moving City, commissioned by the festival, at Smock Alley Theatre. We’ve also invited some of our favourite international artists back to the festival; Taylor Mac, Melanie Wilson and Nic Green among them.
On a bittersweet note, as this is my last programme as Director of Dublin Fringe Festival I want to thank all the brilliant people I’ve worked with over the past five years; our project partners Project Arts Centre, Irish Theatre Institute, Fishamble: The New Play Company, Theatre Forum Ireland, Dance Ireland, The Lir and Bewleys Café Theatre; our funders The Arts Council, Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland; my guardian angel Una Carmody; the amazing staff and board of Dublin Fringe Festival who go above and beyond to make miracles happen each and every September; and above all the extraordinary and inspirational artists I have had the great privilege to work with. In the words of Jerry Maguire (and Dr. Evil), with tongue planted only slightly in cheek: You complete me. I wish the wonderful Kris Nelson, who takes up the role of Dublin Fringe Festival Director after the festival this year all the very best - I know he will have a blast working with all these amazing people.
There’s an abundance of riches in this programme; laughter, tears, wonder, terror and excitement with a few head-scratchers from pioneers out on the edge in the mix. As always, I encourage you to take a chance on something new. I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for everything.