About Galway International Arts Festival

Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) is a major cultural organisation, which produces one of Europe’s leading international arts festivals; develops and produces new work that tours nationally and internationally; and presents a major discussion platform, First Thought.

The organization has played a very significant role in placing Galway firmly on the map, as both a key cultural centre for the arts and a cultural tourism destination on the Wild Atlantic Way. It now looks forward to playing a central role in the European Capital of Culture 2020 designation awarded to Galway.

Galway International Arts Festival

The festival takes place each July in Galway, Ireland and covers a range of art forms. In 2016, over 200 events took place in 26 venues over the course of 14 days with an attendance in excess of 200,000.

Previous festival highlights include Joni Mitchell, Bill Viola, The National, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, St. Vincent, John Grant, The Gloaming, Elvis Costello, John Gerrard, Hughie O’Donoghue, Sophie Calle, Louise Bourgeois, Cormac McCarthy, Ivo van Hove, David Hockney, Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, Fabulous Beast, Michael Clark, Hofesh Shechter, Marina Abramovic, Steppenwolf, Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop and Circa. GIAF also works regularly with leading Irish companies including Druid.

The 40th Galway International Arts Festival takes place from 17-30 July 2017, with the full programme now launched.

Festival highlights include an impressive Absolut Big Top programme featuring Irish singer/songwriter Gavin James, Passenger, The Coronas and The Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson, who will present Pet Sounds in its entirety for the last time. Other Absolut Big Top acts include Jenny Greene & the RTE Concert Orchestra and Ladysmith Black Mambazo

The overall music programme has much to over this year in terms of quality and diversity, from rock, gospel, soul and techno to traditional Irish music and folk

A major exhibition of sculpture by Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco, titled Dark Night of the Soul, and a new Festival commission by Irish artist John Gerrard (co-commissioned with the Thomas Dane Gallery, London) will form part of the Visual Arts programme.

The festival will also present four world premiere theatre productions, including a major new music theatre co-production with Landmark Productions titled Woyzeck in Winter, which will feature a sensational cast including Patrick O'Kane, Camille O'Sullivan and the legendary Rosaleen Linehan. The full theatre programme will include the 'spectacular' production of Tristan & Yseult by Kneehigh, while world-renowned theatre company Druid will present Crestfall

Galway International Arts Festival is known for its extraordinary street programme, with past events such as Dragonus, The Giant Divas, Red Ball and Art is Trash laying siege to the Medieval city and holding visitors in their thrall. Festival 2017 will again include an extraordinary street programme, including The People Build by Olivier Grossetête and Chariot of the Sea by French masters of street spectacle Transe Express

GIAF Productions & Touring

Galway International Arts Festival also produces and tours its own theatre productions and exhibitions nationally and internationally, and, with its co-producing partners, has recently toured to London, Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Chicago, Adelaide, Sydney and, most recently, to the Kennedy Center’s Festival Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture in Washington.

Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival co-production Woyzeck in Winter, will transfer to London’s prestigious Barbican Centre in September following its world premiere at the Galway International Arts Festival in July 2017.

The Festival’s other recent work includes Arlington, by Tony Award winning playwright Enda Walsh, (a co-production with Landmark Productions), which premiered at Galway International Arts Festival 2016, toured to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in March 2017, and had its New York premiere at St. Ann’s Warehouse in May 2017.

Galway International Arts Festival’s hit installation Rooms, also written and directed by Enda Walsh, made its New York premiere in May this year also. The installation, which is a series of three short works - Room 303, A Girl’s Bedroom and Kitchen - premiered at Galway International Arts Festival between 2014 and 2016 and were presented together under the collective title of Rooms at the Festival in July 2016. A Girl’s Bedroom also toured to the Kennedy Center, Washington DC in 2016.

Other notable productions include Ballyturk (co-produced with Landmark Productions), starring Cillian Murphy, Mikel Murfi and Stephen Rea, which won Best Production at the Irish Theatre Awards 2014.

Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival’s production of Misterman by Enda Walsh starring Cillian Murphy played Galway, New York and London.

TheEmergencyRoom and Galway International Arts Festival’s production of riverrun, in association with Cusack Projects Ltd., by Olwen Fouéré, played Galway, London, Edinburgh, New York, Adelaide, Sydney and Washington. The same team produced Lessness by Samuel Beckett, also starring Olwen Fouéré, premiered at the Barbican’s International Beckett Season, London in 2015 and travelled to Paris in 2016.

Invitation to a Journey, a Festival co-production with CoisCéim Dance Theatre, Crash Ensemble and Fishamble: The New Play Company, which premiered at GIAF 2016, toured to Dublin in July 2016, while Death at Intervals by Kellie Hughes, which also premiered at GIAF 2016, toured to Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2016.

The Galway International Arts Festival co-production with Northlight Theatre of Christian O’Reilly’s Chapatti, starring John Mahoney and Penny Slusher, premiered in Chicago in March 2014 and played in Galway during Festival 2014.

First Thought Talks & GIAF 

Galway International Arts Festival’s discussion platform First Thought  is a thought leadership platform focused on creativity that showcases thought-provoking discussion with both Irish and international thought leaders on forward-thinking ideas and creative best practices from a range of arts and non-arts disciplines.

Frist Thought takes place each year as part of the festival and, increasingly, as a stand-alone event. The platform is a forum for discussion on creativity across a range of fields and disciplines, with the aim of engaging, informing and inspiring creative discourse.

Since its introduction in 2012, the programme has developed significantly, with 17 events and 40 high-profile panelists discussing the single theme of identity at Galway International Arts Festival 2016. This year's theme is Power, with talks including; The Power of Theatre with Emma Rice, The Power of Less with Rebecca Earley and The Power of Home with Marwa Al–Sabouni.

Past participants include former president Mary Robinson, producer and musician Nile Rodgers, John Mullholland, Editor of The Observer (UK), actors John Mahoney and Cillian Murphy, BBC TV presenter Dr Gabriel Weston, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Great Britain Nicholas Hytner and Michael Dowling, CEO of one of the biggest private health facilities in the world.

GIAF’s Chief Executive is John Crumlish and its Artistic Director is Paul Fahy.