Thursday, May 02, 2013

Ollie Breslin and Mark Graham launch the 2012 Imagine Arts Festival

A SUPERB line-up of events has been announced as part of the 10th Imagine Arts Festival, which is taking place from October 19 to 29. As the festival celebrates a decade of life in the city, Ollie Breslin, Artistic Director of Imagine, casts his eye over the programme and looks back at the beginnings of the event.

Like all good ideas, the Imagine Festival flowered from a discussion in a pub, during the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

“We were saying wouldn’t it be great to have something in Waterford,” Ollie said. Fond memories harked back to when the Arts For All Festival took place in the city in the 70s and 80s and the appetite for a new festival was born.

“The whole idea behind Imagine is to showcase local talent and to have the opportunity to bring the best in national and international acts here, so that we don’t have to leave Waterford to see top class stuff.”

The committee behind the festival work voluntarily all year round to pull together the 10-day event, with budgets at an all time low.

“We have less money now than ever before,” Ollie said, as he revealed that funding from Fáilte Ireland has been slashed from €12,000 to zero this year.

Despite the difficulties cuts to funding present, he said the people behind Imagine are determined to put Waterford on the map, and in previous years people have flown from across the waters to enjoy the exciting line-up which includes everything from theatre to dance, Trad music, children’s activities and poetry readings.

While 10 years is a milestone for any event, Ollie sees it as a stepping stone.

“We see it as year ten of 50 or 100. However, we are totally dependent on the public. If they don’t come out to see the events, there will be no Imagine Festival.”

Picking out some highlights for 2012, Ollie said local talents like Katie Kim and O Emperor should go down well, while Danú are reforming the original band especially for the festival.

Two shows premiere during the festival, The Crow on your Shoulder by Eimear Cheasty and Dissidents by Pat Daly. There is also an impressive line-up in the Spoken Word category, with Mark Roper launching his new book and another poetry reading by Rita Ann Higgins with support from Megan Nolan.

A new element to the line-up this year is the History and Heritage Day, where all local museums will be open to the public for free and there will be free tours around the town, allowing people to delve into local history.

An exciting event for foodies is the Film and Feast event in Waterford Health Park, where the classic film Babette’s Feast will be shown to viewers as they enjoy a banquet based on the menu in the film.

There’s also an emphasis on workshops in the calendar of events, with something for both adults and children to sink their teeth into.

The Trad Festival has proven popular in the past and, as well as the performance by Danú, there will be Sean Nós dance workshops, a Singers Club and more. The Quay Sessions section will see top traditional musicians perform in seven different venues over two nights, while a Festival Club takes place in Dooley’s Hotel from midnight to 2am on October 19 and 20.

“There’s something for everyone and if people aren’t happy with the line-up then get involved and change it. We have an open door and welcome new energy and new ideas,” Ollie said.

For more information on the festival see and keep in mind that numbers for some events are limited and early booking will help secure your place.


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