Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Thursday

Don't forget that 1st September is a First Thursday. Once again a wide range of cultural spaces will be open from 6 pm to 8 pm. It's common for many of the venues to have special events or launches of new exhibitions on the evening.

Personally I'll be popping by Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar for the opening of Notes On The Missing Oh.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dublin Living Awards

There's a new awards competition in town - the Dublin Living Awards. Its aim is to showcase businesses and other organisations that make Dublin a great place to live and work. There are 20 categories, from "Dublin Theatre of the Year" to "Best Green Contribution to Dublin Life".

Entries close on Thursday September 9th at 8 pm.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dancing Shoes - The George Best Story

Dancing Shoes is a musical about the late, great footballer George Best. Telling the story of his childhood in Northern Ireland, his controversial career with Manchester United, and his troubled later life, this lively musical is full of catchy songs and great characters.

The show starts a little slowly, but that's alright - it's just taking its time to properly introduce Best. Perhaps due to being inspired by real-life events Dancing Shoes has a very believable and engaging story to tell. (It's a tribute to the Manchester United of the late '60s that many of the players' names are still well-known.) It's also pretty funny, particularly during the second act.

The show runs for about 130 minutes plus an interval of 20 minutes. I really wasn't sure what to expect from Dancing Shoes - I was pleasantly surprised.

Dancing Shoes is on until Saturday 3rd September. Times: Tuesday - Thursday 7:30 pm, Friday 5:30 pm & 8:30 pm, Saturday 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm. Tickets priced from €20 to €50, with all seats for the early Friday show good value at just €20.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Science Gallery - Elements

Science Gallery's current exhibition is called Elements. Here's how they describe it:
ELEMENTS invites you to see Science Gallery's latest exhibition go off with a bang as we explore the beauty of the elements, the design icon that is the periodic table and stir up some reactions in the atomic kitchen. Science Gallery and Trinity College Dublin's School of Chemistry present an interactive exhibition exploring the beauty of chemistry.

It's a simpler, more general concept than the themes of many of their other exhibitions, but it works well. The most common natural elements are so seemingly familiar that they might seem like unpromising candidates for an exhibition, but Elements does a good job of combining facts (both novel and well-known) with real, tangible exhibits, many of them fine works of art in their own right.

There are also various interactive experiments.

Elements continues until 23rd September. That's Culture Night, as it happens, and the exhibition runs from 17:00 to 23:00 that day. Other than that normal Science Gallery opening hours apply - from Tuesday to Friday the gallery is open from 12:00 to 20:00 and on Saturday and Sunday opening hours are 12:00 to 18:00.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Upcoming charity events

This Saturday sees a Seisiún for Somalia featuring over 100 traditional musicians and dancers on the corner of Grafton St and St. Stephen's Green from 10.30 until 19:30.  Everyone involved has given their time for free and every cent will go to Concern's East Africa Appeal.  If you're passing by, throw some money in the box and enjoy some good trad for a good cause.  More details from  Let's hope it doesn't rain on them!

In a similar more crafty vein, the following Saturday, 3rd Sept (gosh, autumn already) sees a day of handmade craft events in support of the same cause (but this time via Oxfam).  HandmAid Craft Day takes place in Damer Hall, on Stephen's Green and entry is €5 for adults, and a mere nothing for kids.  Again a lot of volunteers offering their time and skills to teach people how to knit, crochet, embroider and more advanced techniques like lace knitting, Tunisian crochet and spinning (yes, those mad people who want to take fibre and make it into yarn).  There's also be a cake sale of homemade goodies and a general market area where people can offload wool they'll never use, etc.  Oh and some raffles sponsored by local knitting shops.  I'm so there.

21st Century Irish Craft at the National Museum

The lovely Dr Audrey Whitty, who I interviewed about working in Collins Barracks earlier this year is giving a talk on Saturday at 12.30 on Irish 21st century crafts at the National Museum (the barracks part).  No need to book but places are on an first come first serve basis.

'Ashes to Ashes' in The Complex

New theatre company Fast Intent have a play on in the Complex in Smithfield. Ashes to Ashes is a Harold Pinter play and is Fast Intent's first production.

The play is something of a psychological mystery or drama; I will say nothing about the plot, as trying to figure out what's going on is very much part of the experience. Although there are moments of humour, this isn't light entertainment - it's very intense, powerful material. I spent quite a bit of time after the performance chatting to the other DublinCulture regular contributors about the play, discussing what it might be about. (In that respect it reminded me of a Beckett play.)

Fast Intent can be pleased with their debut production. The physicality of the acting is very strong. (Were those real tears at one point? We think so.) The language at times sounds a little odd and unnatural, but perhaps that's to be expected in a play that wallows in its strangeness.

Confusing, thought-provoking, and highly engaging.

The play is on from 23rd to 27th August, starting at 8 pm each evening and running for 45 minutes. Tickets cost from €10 to €14 and can be bought at the door or by calling 086 8333435. Over 16's only. The production is performed by permission of Samuel French Ltd.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skerries census 1911 festival

This weekend sees north county Dublin town go back in time with a full schedule of events celebrating the 1911 census.  They are encouraging people to dress in Edwardian clothing in the town.  Events include guided historical walks, period re-enactments of drama and things like school.  Silent films from the time will also be screened.  Skerries Historical Society have a photographic exhibition too.

This festival was originally scheduled to coincide with this year's census in April but had to be postponed when two fishermen were very sadly drowned, an event that would ironically tie the fishing village past and present neatly together.  It's now a fitting part of Heritage Week.

Tickets cost 2/6*
*I'm kidding - all the events are free.  Some more details are here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Plays out this week

After a quiet few weeks, several new plays are starting this week.

Curse of the Starving Class starts in the Abbey Theatre on Saturday 27th, with previews beginning on Tuesday 23rd. The Abbey's website helpfully points out that "this production contains nudity and will feature a live animal on stage."

The latest play in Project Arts Centre is Beckett's All That Fall. It previewed tonight and opens tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd.

The Harold Pinter play Ashes to Ashes also begins on Tuesday 23rd, in the Complex in Smithfield. It's nice to see the venue offering a new theatre company their first break.

If you're looking for lunchtime theatre, there's a new play in Bewley's, Holy Mary.

Also running at the moment is Hay Fever in the Gate Theatre, and Bedbound in the New Theatre.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Romeo & Juliet in the Iveagh Gardens

As Nina mentioned a few days ago, Cracked Light Productions are performing free shows of Romeo & Juliet in the Iveagh Gardens this week. I went to Friday evening's show and enjoyed it. I particularly liked that the actors made full use of the space offered by the park, rather than confining themselves to a small area as if they were on stage. One warning: your enjoyment will depend on the weather. It's not just the ever-present risk of rain; when the wind picks up and starts to shake the park's many large trees, it can be difficult to hear the actors properly. I shouldn't complain though - it's great to see a theatre company providing free, outdoor performances of Shakespeare's most famous play.

The background of the production is interesting. Instead of charging for the show the company got sponsorship from Tesco and LUAS, and also raised funding on the excellent website.

There are two more performances: one today at 3 pm and the other tomorrow, also at 3 pm. If the weather remains good I'd recommend seeing the show.

National Heritage Week has begun

National Heritage Week runs from 20th August to 28th August. Information is available from

Friday, August 19, 2011

As it's Friday...

Those of you on Twitter will be familiar with the #ff hashtag, meaning 'follow Friday' or 'friends follow'. It's horribly overused of course but the idea is sound - tell people about Twitter accounts worth following.

So as it's Friday, I thought I'd do something similar here and mention five organisations/websites I like: - a bit like in some ways, but about culture and entertainment in the rest of Ireland as well as Dublin. Lots of competitions.

Dublin Event Guide for Free Events - the website for a weekly newsletter about free events on in Dublin.

Third Floor Espresso / 3FE - the best coffee shop in Dublin, bar none.

Project Arts Centre - along with the better-known Abbey Theatre, one of my favourite theatres. Very affordable. - the official website for Temple Bar, run by Temple Bar Cultural Trust. Temple Bar has been and continues to be a success, and makes a huge contribution to culture in Ireland.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Romeo & Juliet in Iveagh Gardens

Having crawled back to the blogosphere from my dissertation-induced hiatus, I was just a few moments ago informed by the Twitters about a free performance of Romeo & Juliet in Iveagh Gardens. Tonight would have been a lovely evening to go, but unfortunately I discovered the 7 pm performance only after arriving home to Maynooth. However, if you share my fate and would love yourself some Bard in the park, fret not: the good folks of Cracked Light Productions will be asking wherefore art thou Romeo until 21 August. The performance times are:

Thursday-Friday 7 pm
Saturday-Sunday 3 pm

I am told that this performance was already put on in Ranelagh Gardens last week - I don't suppose any of our readers had the fortune to see it and report?

Launch of Culture Night 2011

Culture Night 2011 has officially been launched, and it looks just great. 156 venues in Dublin alone this year! I'll be writing more about this, but for now check out details at

Well done to everyone involved in organising this, and especially Temple Bar Cultural Trust.

'Ashes to Ashes' in The Complex

August can be a little quiet for new theatrical releases, so I'm pleased to see that theatre company Fast Intent are soon to present a production of Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes. Fast Intent are a new (unfunded) amateur company and this is their first production. Here's how they describe the play:
A man questions a woman about an old lover. The answers she gives him speak of a collective history of suffering. Ashes to Ashes, Pinter’s penultimate play, was written in 1996 against the backdrop of the Balkan War and asks how intimate relationships can operate within a world of violence. Images of war permeate the text; as the characters grapple with shadows and reflections of an unknowable past. With his inimitable dark humour, Pinter merges the personal and the political, creating a sort of sinister love story cast in the shadow of the cruelty and violence that has dominated recent history.

The venue is The Complex, Smithfield Square, Smithfield. (The Complex has an interesting story in its own right but I'll leave that for another time.) The play is on from 23rd to 27th August, starting at 8 pm each evening and running for 45 minutes. Tickets cost from €10 to €14. Bookings can currently be made by calling 086 8333435.

The production is performed by permission of Samuel French Ltd.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Anime weekend

If you fancy something more Eastern this weekend, the Chester Beatty Library are running an Anime weekend in association with the Japanese Embassy on both Saturday and Sunday.  They have a series of movies and a talk by Jimmy Murakami.  Best of all: it's entirely free!  Some but not all movies will be suitable for kids and the full details are here.

Dublin Latin American Festival in Project Arts Centre

The Dublin Latin American Festival is on in Project Arts Centre this evening and tomorrow i.e. Friday 12th August and Saturday 13th August. The programme consists of a mix of films and dance performances. The films are from Mexico, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, and tickets cost €4 per film. The "folkloric dance performance" on Saturday is at 4 pm and again at 7 pm; tickets costs €10.

Project Arts have a good special offer for the festival - buy one dance performance ticket and get admission to one of the films for free.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

B for Baby - nationwide tour

The highly-acclaimed play B for Baby will be showing in theatres around the country over the coming months. I saw it last year as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival and liked it a lot so I'm pleased for the Abbey Theatre at the success the play has enjoyed.

Most of the locations on the tour are of course outside the Dublin area, but the play will be on in Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray on 13th & 14th September, and will finish its run on 19th November back where it started, the Peacock Stage of the Abbey Theatre.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Irish Meteorological Society Photography Competition 2011

The Irish Met Society is running a photography competition. Entries can be of any Irish location and must have a seasonal or weather theme. The competition closes on 30th September 2011 and there will be several prizes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No Drama Theatre returns

No Drama Theatre are restarting their weekly drama workshops today (Tuesday 9th August) after their summer break. The classes are great fun - and your first one is free. Workshops run from 6:45 pm to 9 pm in Synge Street CBS on Synge Street.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Supper Safari

It's out of character for us to mention a singles night but I liked the sound of it and it does involve eating in 3 different Dublin restaurants, so why not?

Supper Safari is the brainchild of Avril Mulcahy and it takes place on Wednesday, 24th August.  The concept is 30 men, 30 women, 3 restaurants (hopefully within walking distance!)  You have a different course in each eaterie.  I think it sounds exciting.  Avril says she's "not promising that you'll find Mr. Right...but I am promising you fun."  I've done a few speed dating events over the years and, at €55 (including the meal), this one is moderately priced.  Booking is available here.

She has certainly done her research.  Mulcahy did a Lenton 40 dates in 40 nights earlier this year and her blog of the exploits makes for a great read. Apparently, there's talk of this event being covered for television in the future, so get in now before you have to go on tv as well! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Danleo exhibition in Little Green Street Gallery

I admit it: I'm a sucker for bright, bold, striking images. Subtlety, social commentary and introspection are all well and good but if I had to choose I'd rather look at eye-candy full of colour and vitality. (Yes, I enjoyed Avatar.) So, I'm pleased to say that I liked the new danleo exhibition in the Little Green Street Gallery.

Danleo's style is simple and vivid - it's very similar to many comic book or manga styles. If there are any clever allegorical references hidden in the art, I must admit to having entirely ignored them. The works are enjoyable as a visual experience, and that's good enough for me. You can have a look at danleo's art on his website, here. It won't be to everyone's taste but I like it.

The exhibition continues until Thursday 11th August. Little Green Street Gallery is just off Capel Street, on the corner of Little Britain Street and Little Green Street.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Music in August

I often think we lack information on music events at, despite my review of Prince last week.  You might have heard Morning Ireland mention today that the RTÉ Concert Orchestra is doing the music to Casablanca live tomorrow night along with a screening of the film in the National Concert Hall.  Tickets are €25 - €40 and on sale here. There's a second performance of it on Saturday night as well.  This sort of production is on the increase and indeed they plan a whole series of these events, though the only other one I can find on their website is a screening of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the Grand Canal Theatre in November, which will also feature Cór na nÓg.  That sounds cool enough that I might even consider watching LoTR again.

Later on this month on 26th August, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will perform the works of John Williams in the NCH.  Now I heard this (or a similar one) concert before in The Helix and it was completely awesome.  Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, ET, Schindler's List, Jaws, the list goes on.  I found myself saying repeatedly "he did this too?!" So good I want to go to it again right now.  My only complaint at the time was that they only did Star Wars once.

For those who like their music without singing, the NCH has an evening called Tango Extremo meets Piazzolla on Sunday, 21st August.  This features the fantastic music of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.  The pictures show people tangoing but it's not clear there's actual dancing as part of the performance.  Tickets are a tiny €15 so I suspect not.

At the top of the, ahem, scale, the Philadelphia Orchestra is in town on 29th August to perform works by Sibelius, Ravel, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovksy.  Tickets are pricey for this one (€40 - €85) but I always like to remember that you can hear the music from everywhere in the main auditorium.

Dublin Garden Squares Day

Dublin Civic Trust is running its second Dublin Garden Squares Day on Saturday 27th August. There'll be a series of free events in each of the five Georgian Squares involved - St. Stephen's Green, Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square, Parnell Square and Mountjoy Square. The events include historical walking tours of each square.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A few things on in August

As we mentioned last month, on the first Wednesday of each month for the rest of 2011 the OPW are opening their venues free of charge to the public.

Today is the start of the Dublin Horse Show. It runs until 7th August.

The Northside Music Festival is currently on-going. It runs until 18th August. Also run by Dublin City Council, Opera in the Open starts tomorrow, 4th August, and continues weekly for the rest of the month.

Tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month, which means that many art galleries and cultural spaces will remain open late, often with special events. The Little Green Street Gallery have an exhibition launch that day as well.

No Drama Theatre hold a weekly workshop on acting and drama. It's relatively informal, and lots of fun, and returns on Tuesday 9th August.

The Dublin Viking Festival is back at Wood Quay on 13th August.

National Heritage Week runs from 20th to 28th August.

Salute, the military-themed festival, is on the weekend of 27th & 28th August. I really enjoyed this last year, although they were lucky with the weather.