Two GIAF shows to open at The Kennedy Centre in Washington

25 May 2016

Olwen Fouréré’s riverrun and Enda Walsh’s Rooms to form part of Ireland 100

Our Artistic Director Paul Fahy is travelling to Washington this week, where the Festival’s 2013 smash hit riverrun and 2016 installation Rooms are opening at America’s national cultural centre, The Kennedy Centre.

The shows form part of Ireland 100: Celebrating A Century of Irish Arts and Culture, a major festival highlighting Irish culture and its relationship to America. It runs until 5 June.

Curated by Alicia Adams, Vice President of International Programming and Dance and featuring Artist-in-Residence Fiona Shaw, it includes performances by some of Ireland’s best contemporary musicians, dancers, and theatre companies as well as a literature series, documentary screenings, installations and culinary arts.

Olwen Fouéré: riverrun

Finnegans Wake is one of Joyce’s works that people largely fear, due to its stream-of-consciousness narrative including bits of songs, literary references, place names and puns in several languages.

Enter Olwen Fouréré’s 'riverrun'. Her performance of Anna Livia Plurabelle’s meditation on life in the final section of the book is breathtaking. Work on the adaptation began in 2011, including performed readings of the work-in-progress in Dublin, Paris, Lyon and Galway. It premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival in 2013, and went on to receive worldwide acclaim.

You don’t need to be an academic or a scholar: just abandon yourself to the performance. Fouéré didn’t actually read the entire book; instead she dipped in and out, probing the voice of the river. During the performance she shouts, whispers, captures our attention and lets it wander, allowing us to understand Joyce’s brilliance through her gentle excavation of his work.

Enda Walsh: A Girl’s Bedroom

‘At the age of six, a girl leaves her bedroom and family home and walks. She never stops. Until now.’ That’s the concept behind 'A Girl's Bedroom', the second in a series of theatrical installations created by Tony-award winning Enda Walsh, in collaboration with the Galway International Arts Festival. It premiered at the Festival in 2015, and features the voice of award-winning actor Charlie Murphy.

Galway has become a hugely significant place in the working life of Enda Walsh. It’s where he has premiered many of his most powerful plays, such as 'Ballyturk' and 'Room 303'. He’s committed to doing more of these ‘room’ installations, saying: “I’ve decided to make a room basically every year until I die.” No protest from us.

Also performing at Ireland 100 is trad supergroup The Gloaming, along with Fishamble: The New Play Company’s premier of Tiny Plays for Ireland and America, part of the year-long centennial celebration of President Kennedy.

Olwen Fouéré is set to star in the Kellie Hughes and Galway International Arts Festival 2016 co-production 'Death at Intervals', which will have its world premiere in Galway in July. Enda Walsh has also written, and is set to direct, a new play for the Festival, 'Arlington [a love story]', which will also premiere at the Festival.