Thursday, May 21, 2020

FROM October 16-25 this year, the Imagine Arts Festival will take place in Waterford City. With many festivals making the decision to take a year out to regroup, it will be welcome news that the annual Imagine festival will run as planned.

The Waterford Writer’s Weekend under the guiding hand of Waterford playwright, Eimear Cheasty, will also run this year as planned.

The organising team are currently working hard behind the scenes to allow the festival to proceed in a manner which is safe for audience members and those participating in the event.

Festival Manager Nora Boland says, “We are living in uncertain times for all arts events and Waterford is suffering a great loss in its festival calendar this year and we know that the 2020 Imagine festival will offer lots of colour and light for people this October.”

Some changes will be observed this year, and the absence of a physical brochure will definitely be one of those changes. However this change is a cost-effective measure to allow the organising committee to change content if needed, in the case of some of the festival content moving online, or moving venue.

In times of uncertainty, it is difficult to look too far ahead. To that end, Nora Boland said “We have all seen the success of online arts in recent weeks and months, but we would still like to create a safe space where there are physical audience members, and events taking place in venues around Waterford. Older audience members may prefer not to be in crowds, so we may run a limited number of events online.”

Audience numbers are expected to be greatly reduced in line with guidelines around mass gatherings, however due to the uncertainty of what the regulations will be in October, it is not known how many tickets will be available for each event.

We can expect a more home-grown feel from this year’s festival, with those participating in Waterford Writer’s Weekend expected to be local and national talent, as opposed to international talent. This is a two-pronged approach; firstly from a logical travel perspective, but also generating an appreciation for supporting local and national talent at a time when the arts will rely on their communities to allow them to keep producing works of art.

Three commissioned works will be aided with an Imagine Arts grant this year. An open-call by the committee asks interested members of the public to submit a proposal to [email protected].

“The Arts are so important for the public’s well being and Waterford has been so well served over the years by their artistic community and anyway now that we can return our gratitude or give artists a platform is so important at this stage,” said Nora.

Those welcome to apply should be local artists hailing from a broad spectrum of the arts, including theatre people, dancers, circus and multidisciplinary groups.


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