Galway International Arts Festival in London

10 April 2019

This week, Galway International Arts Festival tours its production of ROOMS by Enda Walsh to the Barbican in London and announces Live-Stream of First Thought Talk with Irish Artist, John Gerrard.

The full programme for GIAF2019 will be announced in May and whilst putting final touches to the programme, the team are also in London this week preparing for two events which brings a touch of Galway to the British capital.

Today Galway International Arts Festival opens the UK premiere of their renowned ROOMS series by Enda Walsh in the Barbican in London, where it forms part of the centre’s 2019 season. Audiences can experience Enda Walsh’s five poetic stories in one immersive installation for the very first time.

To coincide with GIAF’s visit to London, the Festival will present its 3rd international First Thought Talk at the Embassy of Ireland there, with Irish artist John Gerrard, one of Ireland’s most unique and internationally celebrated artists best known for his large-scale and site-specific works.

Taking place on Tuesday 16 April, Paul Fahy will join Gerrard in conversation to discuss his work, and his exciting collaboration with GIAF for Galway 2020.


Comprising absorbing and vivid texts by Enda Walsh that draw you into the highly intimate lives of five individuals, they are narrated by some of Ireland’s most distinct voices – Niall Buggy, Charlie Murphy, Donal O’Kelly, Paul Reid and Eileen Walsh.

Designed by GIAF’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy, who has collaborated with Walsh on these works over the past five years, the ROOMS series is comprised of Room 303, which premiered at Galway International Arts Festival in 2014; A Girl’s Bedroom which premiered at the 2015 Festival and also toured to Washington’s Kennedy Centre as part of Ireland 100: Celebrating A Century of Irish Arts and Culture; Kitchen which premiered at the 2016 Festival, Bathroom which premiered at the 2017 Festival and the fifth in the series, Office 33A which premiered at the 2018 Festival. Room 303, A Girl’s Bedroom and Kitchen toured collectively to the Irish Arts Centre in New York in 2017.

Enda Walsh commented: "I am absolutely delighted that five of the installations from the ongoing Rooms series will show in the Barbican in London. Rooms started, and continues from, my earliest understanding of what theatres meant to me. It was a room where we got to meet strangers. In these small rooms, it’s an attempt to stop and listen to someone, to knit a commonality between them and us, to allow ‘the quiet’ to talk.”

Paul Fahy, Designer of ROOMS and Artistic Director of GIAF commenting on the collaboration with Walsh said: “We are thrilled and honoured to return to the Barbican, one of the world’s leading international stages, following on from Woyzeck in Winter and Lessness during the International Beckett Season in 2015. It will be a real thrill to see all five Rooms together for the first time.”

Head of Theatre at the Barbican Toni Racklin added, “We are thrilled to have a Galway International Arts Festival production – Rooms, by Enda Walsh - at the Barbican. The five meticulously designed rooms will be installed together for the first time in one space here at the Barbican. Having previously seen Rooms in Ireland, one each year at GIAF, I’m looking forward to revisiting them all as one experience. The stories revealed in each intimate environment, recounted in exquisite detail by some of Ireland’s finest actors, will, we believe, fascinate London audiences, resonating long after the event.”


This First Thought Talk with John Gerrard is part of a reception hosted by Ambassador of Ireland, Adrian O’Neill, to welcome GIAF to London. It will be live-streamed from the Embassy of Ireland on the GIAF Facebook page at 6.30pm, Tuesday 16 April.

First Thought Talks is the Festival’s thought leadership platform, which places a spotlight on issues of the day and showcases thought-provoking discussion on forward-thinking ideas. In its 107 talks to date, the programme has featured everyone from authors to war correspondents, supermodels to CEOs, constitutional lawyers to psychotherapists and playwrights to presidents. It aims to significantly progress the position of culture and creativity in society and make it a central pillar of Irish life.

GIAF’S production of ROOMS by Enda Walsh opens at the Barbican in London on Thursday 11 April and runs until 19 April.

GIAF’s First Thought Talk with John Gerrard will be live-streamed from the Embassy of Ireland, Great Britain on the GIAF Facebook page at 6.30pm, Tuesday 16 April.

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of Culture Ireland with the UK premiere of ROOMS. The Festival would also like to acknowledge its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland and Festival Partners Heineken® and NUI Galway.