10 highlights of the Cork Midsummer Festival

Cork Midsummer Festival launches today for 10 days of theatre, art and family fun. Des O’Driscoll selects a few of the upcoming highlights.

10 highlights of the Cork Midsummer Festival

Dance: Cappaghlass

West Cork native Tara Brandel has used the name of her home valley near Ballydehob for this contemporary dance created in response to the current refugee crisis. Brandel will also perform Gawky and Awkward, a short solo that looks at one woman’s experince of having dyslexia.

Tomorrow, Firkin Crane, 8pm. €8-€12

Picnic in the Park

There will be entertainment, but this is one of those events that works simply because it gathers people to have fun in a public space. Try to stand near the busts of Tom Barry or Michael Collins so you can watch the frowns appear on their statues once the Maypole Dance begins.

Fitzgerald’s Park, Sunday, 11.30am

Theatre: Futureproof

There’s a particularly strong strand of local theatre at this year’s festival, and much is expected of a revamped production of a play that was first seen in 2011. Set in a circus freakshow, Cork playwright Lynda Radley’s show addresses all sorts of body-related issues.

The Everyman, June 16-24, €9-€24

Theatre: Far Away

Corcadorca’s aptly-named production will bring people beyond the city to Spike Island, an evening that begins with a boat ride from Cobh. Caryl Churchill’s play stars Pauline McLynn, and hopefully there’s mandatory incarceration at the old prison for anyone who mentions ‘Go on, go on’.

Spike Island, June 19–July 1, €24-€35

Theatre: Neon Western

The unfinished version impressed last year at a late night show at an industrial estate. This cinematic production also has the feel of a social event for the audience.

Another late play, SLSD, explores club culture at the same venue.

Marina Commercial Park, June 16-18 & 21-24, 11.30pm. €16-€20

Visual art: Museum of the Moon

Basically, this seven-metre installation of the moon uses NASA imagery of the lunar surface for an experience that brings us as close as any of us are likely to get. Buzz Aldrin, one of only 12 people to actually go to the Moon, will give a talk at the installation, but tickets for that are long gone.

CIT, June 21–23, free

Discussion: City of Ideas

A number of artists will hold public talks about their work, including Moon creator Luke Jerram, whose CV also includes a 95m water slide installed on a street in Bristol. Bring it here! Top billing for the talkers goes to Bob Crowley, the city’s own master set designer.

Bob Crowley, Glucksman Gallery, June 22, free

Opera: Front of House

Majella Cullagh leads the cast in Tom Lane’s unconventional opera performance. Forget about tales of lascivious noblemen and fiery gypsies — this original piece revolves around two vacuum cleaners who’ve worked in the Opera House for many years.

Cork Opera House Foyer, June 23-25, 12.30pm/6pm, €10-€12

Music: John Spillane & Cónal Creedon

This duo are as Cork as tripe and drisheen, and their Rebel credentials will be further embellished with songs and stories to mark the 30th anniversary of the closing of the North Infirmary. They’re even performing in the hotel that was created on the site of that famous hospital.

Maldron Hotel, June 23, €15

Literature: Crosstown Drift

A three-headed happening featuring readings across the city, a bus tour, and a gala event at the River Lee Hotel. Kevin Barry, Lisa McInerney and Sally Rooney are among the literary stars involved, while a Spitting Rhymes strand will feature slam poetry and hip-hop rhymes.

Various, June 24-25, free-€15

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