Galway Arts Festival: Take 3 With Howie the Rookie

Tom Vaughn-Lawlor in Landmark Production's Howie the Rookie.

Tom Vaughn-Lawlor in Landmark Production’s Howie the Rookie.


To celebrate Landmark Productions return to Galway Arts Festival after the magnificent success of Misterman, here on the Galway Arts Festival blog we’re looking at three things that make Howie the Rookie, which Landmark Productions will be bringing to the Festival this summer, simply unmissable. Originally devised as a play for two actors, this updated version will see a solo Tom Vaughn-Lawlor play both Howie and Rookie as they weave their way through the dark underbelly of urban life. 


1. Mark O’Rowe

As well as being one of the leading Irish playwrights of his generation, Mark O’Rowe wrote Intermission one of the most successful  (and darkly hilarious) Irish films of the Noughties and Perrier’s Bounty, both of which starred Cillian Murphy. O’Rowe also co-penned the critically acclaimed and deeply moving Channel Four drama Boy A, which featured a breakout performance from Andrew Garfield, aka, Spiderman. His work on Howie the Rookie has been widely lauded. When it was first performed, the play took the Irish Times/ ESB Theatre Award for Best New Play. O’Rowe was also awarded the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for the original Howie the Rookie in 1999.


2. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

While Tom is perhaps best known for his television work (namely, his electrifying turn as Nidge in RTÉ’s Love/Hate) his is also a highly accomplished stage actor, having graduated with a drama degree from Trinity’s Samuel Beckett Centre before continuing his training at RADA. Tom has featured in many acclaimed productions, including those of Irish classics like Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, Friel’s Translations and John B. Keane’s The Field. Notably Tom appeared in the title role of The Resistable Rise of Atruro Ui directed by Jimmy Fay at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin for which he won the Best Actor Award in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2009.


3. Landmark Productions

Since 2003, Landmark Productions have been one of Ireland’s leading theatre producers. Galway Arts Festival was delighted to co-produce with Landmark Misterman, which went on to incredible national and international success. In 2011, Landmark Productions received the Judges Special Award at the Irish Times Theatre Awards for their ‘sustained excellence in programming and for developing imaginative partnerships to bring quality theatre to the Irish and international stage.’ In 2012, Landmark Productions’ The Talk of the Town, written by Emma Donoghue, based on the life of Irish writer Maeve Brennan, saw Catherine Walker take Best Actress and Peter O’Brien Best Costume Design at the Irish Times Theatre Awards. We are very excited to be welcoming Landmark Productions back to Galway once more.


Tickets for Howie the Rookie are on sale now. To avoid disappointment, secure yours by clicking here. To find out more about the play, check out



Galway Arts Festival 2013: Exclusive Images of Fabulous Beast.

fabulous beast7

To celebrate tickets going on sale today for The Rite of Spring /Petrushka double bill in the Black Box Theatre on July 15th, here on the Galway Arts Festival blog we’re sharing exclusive and beautifully evocative images of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre hard at work for what promises to be not just a major international co-production but one of the theatrical highlights of the year. Huge thanks must go to our Festival photographer Colm Hogan whose stunning images always capture the magic and creative force of Galway Arts Festival.

As you can see below, under the gifted stewardship of Michael Keegan-Dolan Fabulous Beast are in the process of creating an unforgettable re-imagining of Stravinsky’s classic The Rite of Spring. The addition of Stravinsky’s Petrushka and that fact that both will be getting their Irish premier at this year’s Festival makes this double bill very special indeed.

Tickets for The Rite of Spring /Petrushka double bill in the Black Box Theatre on July 15th are available now. To secure yours and avoid disappointment, simply click here.

Glen Hansard’s ‘Pluck of the Irish’.

The Glen Hansard documentary entitled ‘Pluck of the Irish’ aired on CBS on Saint Patrick’s Day and was very warmly received.

‘Pluck of the Irish’ is an intimate, moving look at Glen’s life and career and a must-see for Frames fans and anyone with an interest in Irish music. We’re delighted to share the documentary above and we say well done to the crew at CBS for putting together such a lovely account of Glen and his work to date. Enjoy.

Glen Hansard will play this year’s Festival Big Top on July 25th. To secure your tickets, click here.

GAF’s Take Three: Josh Ritter

Josh Final 2012 Laura Wilson-7

With so many fantastic national and international acts set to light up the Festival Big Top stage for 2013, here at GAF we think you’ll enjoy taking a moment to savour some of their best live performances. Roll on July!

We’ve decided to kick off with three live videos from the great Josh Ritter, starting with his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night, performing the first single from his new album The Beast in its Tracks called Joy to You Baby. We’re as fond of this beautiful performance as David is:

In 2002, Josh went to St James’ Church in Dingle to perform for the esteemed Other Voices series. The result was very special indeed. Taken from that performance, this video is of Josh performing one of his most popular songs, the gorgeous Kathleen:

Everyone loves a good pop song and Right Moves is surely that. Here’s Josh and his band thoroughly enjoying themselves performing on Later… with Jools Holland in 2007:

Tickets for Josh Ritter and special guests at the Festival Big Top on July 20th are on sale now from or simply click here to secure yours.

Happy Friday: A Great Week for Galway & Galway Arts Festival


One of the greatest things about the GAF experience is getting to work with some of the best, most creative individuals and teams this country and indeed the world has to offer. To see people who have become friends and colleagues enjoy continued success is something GAF takes great pleasure in and on that note this week has been a special one.

Once started out as a tiny Irish film and went on to win the hearts of millions across the globe before being turned into a Broadway conquering musical. The GAF connection to Once is strong: its star Glen Hansard will play the Festival Big Top this year, while Enda Walsh, the playwright behind Once‘s stage incarnation, is also the creative force behind Misterman, which GAF co-produced in 2011. Misterman went on to earn rave reviews from New York to London.

Speaking about the European premier of the musical Once at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on Tuesday night, GAF’s artistic director Paul Fahy said, ‘It is great to see the musical Once have its European premiere in Dublin where the story is set. The show opened at the New York Theatre Workshop the same week the Landmark and Galway Arts Festival production of Misterman opened at St. Ann’s Warehouse in December 2011, and we are so pleased for playwright Enda Walsh and all the creative team enjoy such success over the past year. Once is such a beautiful story, which has the capacity to melt the hardest of hearts and it was terrific to see a deserved standing ovation as the show opened this week in the Gaiety Theatre. We wish the company continued success as they prepare to open Once in London’s West End next month.’

Also on Tuesday night the 5th IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards took place in Dublin, with Galway’s Monroes taking the National Live Music Venue of the Year award and the Róisín Dubh taking Best Live Venue in Connacht. We’re very lucky to have such quality live music establishments on our doorstep. Congratulations to all.

With the great news from the Irish Theatre Awards on Sunday night, it is fair to say that it has been a fantastic week for Irish Arts, for Galway and for GAF. Here’s to more of that!

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on for the latest news on this year’s Festival. Tickets for Grizzly Bear at the Festival Big Top and Glen Hansard at the Festival Big Top are on sale now. To purchase yours, simply click here. To join the GAF online community, click here for Facebook and/ or here for Twitter and say hello.

The Irish Times Theatre Awards 2013: A Great Night for Galway


There’s no better way to kick off this year’s GAF blog than with news of last night’s Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, which took place at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham to honour what has been another great year for Irish theatre.

Much to the delight of all at GAF, Galway dominated proceedings with DruidMurphy taking Best Production, Little John Nee winning Best Sound Designer for Sparkplug, Marie Mullen taking Best Supporting Actress for her part in Druid’s Conversations on a Homecoming and a richly deserved Special Tribute Award, while Aaron Monaghan took Best Supporting Actor for his work in Conversations on a Homecoming.

Speaking on behalf of himself and GAF’s chief executive John Crumlish, artistic director Paul Fahy said, ‘We are delighted so many great theatre artists from Galway were nominated for the theatre awards and are especially pleased for the accolades paid to Tom Murphy and Marie Mullen. DruidMurphy was an amazing undertaking and so deserving of its awards tonight.’

The GAF team would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners at this year’s Irish Theatre Awards. Here’s to another year of world class Irish productions.

A full list of winners is available from

Take a Bow, Galway Arts Festival 2012

Oh, what a brilliant few weeks it has been. On behalf of all the GAF 2012 team, thank you so very much for your enduring support. Not only has it been another incredibly successful year, we have broken records for attendance across the board. A staggering 30,000 people turned out to see the fantastic Absolut Festival Gallery and a truly phenomenal 160,000 people attended the festival over two weeks. What can we say only a huge and heartfelt thanks. What an inspiration it is to see that despite everything – or perhaps because of it – a real love of the arts still exists in this country.

Over the course of the festival, various teams have been working away to ensure that events and experiences were captured for everyone to enjoy, now and always. GAF TV have been working especially hard, the fruits of which you can check out on their YouTube channel here, where you can enjoy highlights from this year’s festival, like this wonderful look at Macnas’s This Thunderous Heart:

While the two weeks in July when the festival takes place are GAF’s primary focus, work on the festival takes place all year round. For breaking news, exclusive content and to keep in the loop about next year’s preparations, not to mention enjoying the fruits of festivals past including this year’s, be sure to check out our website, our Facebook page and our Twitter feed Over the next few days, we’ll be posting highlights of 2012, which you won’t want to miss.

All that remains is for us to say one final word of thanks to the people of Galway, all our sponsors, our fantastic performers, our volunteers and all of you who supported GAF 2012 in your thousands. Here’s to a record breaking 2013. We’ll leave you with a few exclusive images from this year’s magnificent festival, taken by Colm Hogan. Until next time.

Macnas turn the streets of Galway into a wonderland with This Thunderous Heart.

Artistic Director Paul Fahy basks in the fantastic setting of the Absolut Festival Gallery, which welcomed an amazing 30,000 people through its doors during the 2 weeks of the festival.

Spain’s Kamchatka perform their unique brand of street theatre for delighted on-lookers during GAF 2012.

Not Over Yet: Sam Amidon at Galway Arts Festival

It is hard to believe after all the energy and triumphs of the past few weeks that Sunday, July 29th is finally here but while the end maybe near GAF 2012 is a long way from winding down. Tonight, folk star Sam Amidon plays the Róisín Dubh at 9.30pm. Sam’s live shows are very special events, mixing video, stories and reworkings of old and not so old music to create a unique audio visual experience. The Guardian has described Sam’s performances as ‘startling, moving stuff’, so don’t waste your Sunday night, get down to the Róisín Dubh. Sam’s support acts come in the shape of Dublin’s Spook of the Thirteenth Lock whose critically acclaimed album The Brutal Here and Now was released last April, plus RM Hubbert. For more info, check out:

Sam’s brand of folk is the perfect accompaniment to your Sunday morning coffee, so why not take a moment to savour his track, Saro:


Let’s Dance: Kormac’s Big Band at GAF 2012

Tonight DJ Kormac and his Big Band take to the stage in the Róisín Dubh for what promises to be the perfect way to spend your Saturday night. The Big Band comprises of a barbershop quartet, drums, double base, trombone, clarinet, trumpet and banjo, with Kormac acting as conductor, possibly the only conductor you’re ever likely to see scratching records while he works. The results are energetic, fun and an unforgettable live experience, so polish up your dancing shoes and let the good times roll. Kormac’s Big Band kick off at 10.30pm in the Róisín Dubh tonight – write it down folks! In the meantime for your viewing pleasure, here is a GAF  TV look at Kormac and the band:

GAF Classical: T’ang Quartet

Fans of classical music are in for a treat this Saturday, July 28th, when T’ang Quartet play Saint Nicholas’s Church. Formed in 1992 , T’ang Quartet are Ang Chek Meng, Ng Yu-Ying, Leslie Tan and Lionel Tan. The quartet takes its name from both its founding members but also the Tang Dynasty, referencing the era’s golden age of artistic expression.

The T’ang Quartet blend Eastern and Western influences, reinterpreting classic works for the modern age. Their show Comedy and Tragedy combines film and music, including the Buster Keaton classic Haunted House,which the quartet will accompany. The programme also includes Aulis Sallinen’s Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik’s Funeral March and the Chinese composer Bright Sheng’s String Quartet No.3.

Classical fans will not want to miss this one. For tickets and more info, check out If you fancy a quick break at your desk, here is a clip of the T’ang Quartet in action. Prepare to be mesmerized:

  • Click to follow the GAF blog and receive notifications of new posts and exclusive content by email.

  • Categories

  • Join the conversation on GAF Twitter

    Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

  • GAF Facebook

  • Advertisements