Arts & Culture

‘The show must go on’ - Dundalk arts scene adapts to restrictions

Arts: Despite new restrictions there’s plenty of activities locally

Michelle O’Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O’Keeffe

‘The show must go on’ - Dundalk arts scene adapts to restrictions

An Táin Arts Centre Director Paul Hayes has told how there is plenty of activity still taking place saying “the show must go on” despite coronavirus restrictions.

The town’s cultural hub is refusing to be defeated by the pandemic and is determined to ensure the arts thrive locally despite the country currently being in Level 3 of Ireland’s Plan for Living with Covid-19.

An Tain still has plenty going on with their children’s arts and cultural activities allowed to continue and their dance and theatre residencies still rehearsing.

And while people are not permitted to attend exhibitions and shows under the current restrictions the arts centre is finding innovative ways of entertaining audiences online with theatre and music performance on live streaming, exhibitions online and a virtual book club.

Paul said: “We are still very much still open – the show must go on.

“We may not be open for events or exhibitions at the moment; but there's still a wealth of safe activity taking place.

“Our Dance Artist in Residence Fiona Keenan O'Brien is currently rehearsing for her showcase at the end of the month.

“And the Theatre Company in Residence Encore Productions - RehabCare Dundalk are back in the building rehearsing their next production.

“Our school of music and drama workshops for children are also continuing.

“We are remaining positive and are finding new and exciting ways to keep the arts thriving locally.”

An Tain has also taken their theatre performances and exhibition openings online.

There was a live streamed theatre Zandra Queen of Jazz last Friday that was a great success.

Paul encouraged people to get into the swing of things and don a fedora, flapper dress and feathers and enjoy a cheeky cocktail in their sitting rooms while enjoying the online show.

“We use three cameras for the live stream so it is very interactive, rather than the usual one camera, which can be static”, he said.

“Using three cameras makes such a difference to the audience’s experience.

“With these live streams the show is always put on in An Tain theatre as it is important the performance is from the theatre in town.”

Creative Spark’s ‘Hold Steady’ exhibition, which was due to take place last Friday in the gallery adhering to safety guidelines, was moved online for a Facebook Live exhibition launch and artists talk.

Paul said that people, from the comfort of their own homes, were able to view each piece of art live online and enjoy talks given by artists in residence.

Creative Spark has five artists in residence and 15 print studio members exhibiting this year.

Creative Spark’s print studio coordinator Grainne Murphy said: “We are of course disappointed people can’t come see the artwork in the gallery but we are so grateful to Paul and the team at An Táin for coming up with virtual alternatives.

“We will have a live stream on Friday Night via An Táin Facebook page where director Paul will interview some of the artists.

“There will also be a video and photos of all artworks.

“All pieces will be on sale through An Táin box office.

“We really want to showcase the artists and artworks as best we can.

“It is an outstanding show with some really amazing pieces ranging from printmaking, weaving, painting and more.

“The artist really should be commended for the work they have done in creating their pieces, especially in the current restrictions.

“We hope that people will have a chance to see the show if the current restrictions ease to level two in three weeks.”

Also, on Friday October 30th Glas Quartet, a new, vibrant quartet, featuring a line-up of musicians born and bred in County Louth, will make their An Táin Arts Centre debut, with a live-streamed concert on An Táin Arts Centre's Facebook Live.