Announcing the Galway International Arts Festival 2021 Programme

12 July 2021

Galway International Arts Festival announces an exciting programme of live in-person arts experiences, with world premieres and new collaborations, alongside an enhanced digital programme.

2021 Festival dates: 28 August – 18 September 2021

Today Galway International Arts Festival announced details of the 2021 Festival, which this year, due to the impact of Covid-19, has moved from its usual home in July to the later dates of 28 August – 18 September.

Tickets go on sale this Friday 16th July at 10am from

The Festival features exciting live in-person arts experiences across theatre, music and visual arts, as well as a wide range of in person conversations in the 2021 edition of First Thought Talks.

The 2020 edition of the festival reached audiences across Ireland and the world through its engaging digital programme. Keen to keep that connection with those who may not be able to attend in person, GIAF 2021 includes an enhanced digital element, which will see a number of live streams and view on demand events. Audiences can choose how they wish to engage – in person or online.

The full programme is available to download here.

What's On This Year at GIAF

Galway International Arts Festival is renowned for building lasting relationships with and supporting artists, commissioning and presenting new work across art forms, especially in theatre and visual arts and this year is no exception. The line-up includes 10 premieres and commissions, including a funny and moving new play from Enda Walsh, Medicine (co-produced with Landmark Productions), a new production of Happy Days performed in the Irish language in the stunning landscape of Inis Oírr from Company SJ and the Abbey Theatre in association with Dublin Theatre Festival and Galway International Arts Festival, The Seagull [after Chekhov] adapted by Thomas Kilroy from Druid, filmed exclusively for GIAF, an in-person virtual reality experience from Brú Theatre, a new work part theatre, part miniseries, part dance Volcano from Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects, After Love, a new collaborative project led by Stephanie Dufresne, and a new space to explore in the evolving Rooms series from Enda Walsh and Paul Fahy – Bedsit.

GIAF is delighted that the much-anticipated second part of John Gerrard’s Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work (a Galway International Arts Festival’s commission for Galway’s European Capital of Culture 2020) will open the 2021 Festival when it premieres in Derrigimlagh Bog Connemara on 28th August. The first part of this mesmerizing work, Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work, was experienced by over 120,000 people last autumn at the Claddagh. The visual arts programme also includes, at the Festival Gallery, Joy Gerrard who will unveil her expanded exhibition Precarious Freedom: Crowds, Flags, Barriers, featuring a number of exciting new pieces. Also at the Festival Gallery, audiences will be invited to leave a token of those who have passed away in the last number of months in a unique House of Memory.

For the first time GIAF partners with Other Voices on a special live-streamed Festival concert from St Nicholas’ Church, as part of the Courage series which will feature NewDad, Anna Mullarkey, Tolü Makay, Susan O’Neill and Mick Flannery. The music programme will also feature performances by the Galway Ensemble in Residence Contempo, with special guest Finghin Collins and a multimedia production showcasing contemporary/Irish historical music from CelloVision.

The acclaimed First Thought programme this year includes Talks / Vinyl Hours and podcasts. The discussion series returns with guests including Misha Glenny; Bonnie Greer; Noelle Browne; Sinéad Burke, Fintan O Toole, Peter Lunn and Dr. Teresa Lambe amongst others, to discuss everything from cyber-hacking to the impact of remote working on rural Ireland to vaccine development. The 2021 Vinyl Hours series will see guests Philip King, Sinéad Burke, Niamh Regan and Brian Kerr, reveal their most treasured songs in special in-conversation events.

Announcing the 2021 Elevate Artists

Continuing to support artists at all stages of their careers, the Festival today also announced the first 6 recipients of Elevate, a new commissioning/bursary strand from Galway International Arts Festival for work across both live and digital platforms. These new works will be developed and presented across 2021 and 2022.

The Elevate 2021 artists are Joselle Ntumba and Beulah Ezeugo - Éireann and I, a digital archive documenting the experiences of Black migrants in Ireland; dancer and choreographer Kristyn Fontanella creating a new short solo dance based on her Irish step dancing lineage; director Andrew Flynn and writer Donal Ryan to workshop a new play adapted from Ryan’s novel From a Low and Quiet Sea; musician / composer Michael Chang project Cuimhne Uisce, an immersive and interactive experience featuring the live performance of his original compositions, with simultaneous video mapping and projections; and singer/songwriter Niamh Regan working on new music In The Meantime.

See programme event guide by genre here

Speaking today, John Crumlish, Chief Executive GIAF said,Despite the many challenges of the last year for everyone, I feel that we at Galway International Arts Festival are very lucky in that we will get to present a festival that we are very excited about. Its indoors and outdoors, its city and county, its bearla agus gaeilge and its in person and online. We are really looking forward to it and we very much hope that audiences will enjoy it.”

Artistic Director Paul Fahy said,We are thrilled at the prospect of live audiences returning to our theatres, galleries and other venues to experience great work in person from all our wonderful artists in addition to those who will join us remotely. It is such an honour to work with so many brilliant creative artists and colleagues to deliver this programme and we are so grateful to them for their commitment, passion and brilliance.”

Galway International Arts Festival acknowledges the support of its principal funding agencies, The Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, Galway City Council, its Education Partner NUI Galway, its Energy Partner Flogas, and Drinks Partner Heineken®.

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture for funding Mirror Pavilion, and for the additional support provided by Festival Energy Partner Flogas, Festival Partner Aerogen and Bluesky Ireland.