Carlow Arts Festival Announces Return to Live Events This June

May 6, 2022

Carlow Arts Festival, the first big cultural event of the Irish Summer, returns this June with a host of live and in person events for all ages.

Taking place from Thur 9 – Sun 12 June, Carlow Arts Festival is excited to welcome back audiences to a joyful, exciting and dynamic festival of multi-disciplinary arts presented at their festival HQ in the grounds of Carlow College and at various locations across Carlow town.

With a programme bursting with creativity, Carlow will come alive with a truly eclectic mix of music, circus, dance, theatre, visual arts, street art and so much more.

Festival highlights include international shows and premieres (Seeking Unicorns by Italian artist Chiara Bersani, Work by Italian-Belgian artist Claudio Stellato), theatre (Sinéad Cormack’s The Shed and the family friendly Goupil & Kosmao by French artist Étienne Saglio) dance (Philip Connaughton’s No Control, Tobi Omoteso’s Aye), Circus (For As Long As We Are Here by Darragh McLoughlin), street art (from anonymous French street artist Ememem), visual art (ART WORKS Exhibition, Augmented Body, Altered Mind by AlanJames Burns) and O’Hara’s Quarter at Carlow College will come alive with music (Ye Vagabonds, Strange Boy, Malaki, Tolü Makay, Wyvern Lingo, Booka Brass Brand, and Tadhg).

A host of free, family-friendly events will take place across the weekend on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June as Cruinniú na nÓg, Ireland’s national day of creativity for children and young people, coincides with the festival. Highlights include the first Carlow Carnival of Collective Joy, a mesmerising spectacle, created by the children and young people of Carlow, that will parade through Carlow town on Saturday afternoon. The Cruinniú na nÓg Tent will become an exciting hub for family friendly entertainment and workshops including Dance Battle with Tobi Omoteso and a stage-fighting workshop with Carlow Youth Theatre. Other highlights for families include the giant living tulle dolls The Bathers by Clédat & Petitpierre and the theatre show Goupil & Kosmao by Étienne Saglio featuring a magician and his cantankerous assistant, the stuffed fox Goupil.

Announcing details of the 2022 programme, Carlow Arts Festival’s new Artistic Director & CEO Benjamin Perchet said:

“Carlow Arts Festival marks the long-awaited return of the summer arts festival season to Ireland and we are delighted to have the chance to come together and share with people from Carlow and beyond a truly eclectic multidisciplinary programme. We look forward to introducing artists’ work that is vital and visceral, thoughtful and thought-provoking. We hope that the festival will be a powerful celebration of community and that it demonstrates our commitment to social inclusion and diversity in the arts. 

We especially love that the 2022 festival coincides with Cruinniú na nÓg on Saturday 11th June and it will be exciting to participate in the creative adventures of our young people. Our ‘Carnival of Collective Joy’, created in partnership with Carlow’s young people, is the first project under the banner of Assembly, our new long-term embedded programme centred on investing in local and national artists, commissioning multidisciplinary work and developing long-form participation work, on a with and not for Carlow communities’ basis.”

Programme Highlights for 2022

Premieres: Carlow Arts Festival will premiere new work by a number of Irish artists including Sinéad Cormack’s The Shed, an immersive theatre show for just one audience member at a time, Philip Connaughton’s No Control, a moving new dance piece inspired by loss of privacy and performance space, and Darragh McLoughlin’s For As Long As We Are Here where circus artists perform astonishing acts of physical endurance.

International Work: Carlow Arts Festival also brings some really exciting work from international artists to Carlow including Seeking Unicorns by Chiara Bersani, an Italian artist whose work emphasises the political significance that a body can assume, and Work, by Italian-Belgian artist Claudio Stellato, an extraordinary piece of physical theatre-slash-visual art.  French visual artists Clédat & Petitpierre present The Bathers, two larger-than-life living dolls made entirely of pleated tulle and and anonymous street artist Ememem will bring small touches of colour to Delta Sensory Gardens this festival. Ememem fills cracked pavements and walls with beautiful mosaic designs, in the process both repairing and enhancing our lived environment.

Family Friendly Events: Carlow Arts Festival 2022 is jam packed with fun, free and family friendly performances and workshops as Cruinniú na nÓg, Ireland’s national day of creativity for children and young people, coincides with the festival. Highlights on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June include the first Carlow Carnival of Collective Joy, a mesmerising spectacle that will parade through Carlow town on Saturday afternoon in partnership with the children of Carlow. The festival features lots of family friendly entertainment with theatre from Goupil & Kosmao by Étienne Saglio, music from DJ Leigh, Dance Battle with Tobi Omoteso, theatre workshops with Carlow Youth Theatre and the whimsical outdoor performance The Bathers by Clédat & Petitpierre. The festival will also celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the family classic Annie with a screening at their Outdoor Cinema on the Saturday night.

Music Events: O’Hara’s Quarter hosts some of Ireland’s most acclaimed stars including Strange Boy, Tolü Makay, Wyvern Lingo, Malaki, and a special homecoming performance from Carlow’s very own Ye Vagabonds in VISUAL, as well as Bounce, an inclusive club, featuring DJs and performers with intellectual disabilities ,that creates a fun, safe and accessible space for people of all abilities to socialise and dance the night away. Carlow Arts Festival has also partnered with Carlow Live & Local to present three days of the best local talent, including Jerry Fish, Shane Hennessy and a host of rising stars.

Visual Art and Artworks 2022: World-class visual arts features strongly in this year’s programme. AlanJames Burns presents ‘Augmented Body, Altered Mind’, an immersive interactive experience that explores the relationships between technology, neurodivergence and climate change. This year’s ARTWORKS exhibition Speech Sounds launches as part of the festival in VISUAL on 9 June and will feature work that considers communication, language and the body. It includes artists commissioned through curator Iarlaith Ni Fheorais’s VISUAL residency along with Irish and international artists selected through the annual ARTWORKS Open-Call.

Carlow Arts Festival: the first big cultural event of the summer runs from Thur 9 – Sun 12 June and is filled with cultural treats for everyone, the festival is a chance to relax, to discover, and to celebrate together.

Booking via (on sale from 9am Fri 6th May).

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