Cork’s Cultural Highlights

There’s always something to do in the vibrant city of Cork. Whether it’s shopping trips to Patrick Street and the English market, or trips out of the city to explore the beauty of West Cork and Cobh, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained. Cork also has a thriving arts and culture scene and this year is jam-packed with a range of cultural highlights for visitors to enjoy.

The Everyman Theatre always has an exceptional programme. Later this month, Autumn Royal, written by Kevin Barry, comes to the stage. The play is a dark comedy, set on the northside of Cork city. Autumn Royal is about life and death, love and hate, hysterical dependency, jealousy, rage, horror, and homicidal notions – or, in other words, it’s a play about a family. This world premiere is Barry’s first piece written for the stage, although he is well known for his books Beatlebone and City of Bohane.

BrokenCrow Theatre Company will take over the Everyman from 10 April, remounting their hit family show The Secret Garden and presenting the premiere of Levin & Levin, a new play by Aideen Wylde. The takeover will be completed by a series of workshops and readings. Later in the year, Futureproof by Cork writer Lynda Radley will receive its Irish premiere at the theatre.  Futureproof tells the story of a circus sideshow troupe struggling to attract the attention of crowds ever hungry for novelty and the lengths to which they are prepared to go to protect their livelihood.

In February at the Old Cork City Gaol, Corcadorca Theatre Company will present The Same, a new play from Enda Walsh. This thought-provoking play tells the story of a young woman who meets an older woman, who she gradually learns is the same person as she is. Unnerved by the encounter, she tries to understand if her life is now lessened. Can she continue living knowing she is being steered by another? Another who has left behind information, and teased with terrible images of what’s to come.

As well as great theatre, there are a host of fantastic festivals to enjoy in Cork. The Quarter Block Party runs from 3 to 5 February. This festival of music, performance, theatre, discussion and positivity takes place on North and South Main Street in the city. The festival is now in its third year, with the likes of Donal Dineen and Paddy Hanna having graced previous events. As with previous years, it promises to be a street party like no other.

The Cork French Film Festival takes place from 5 to 12 March. This will be the 28th year of a festival that is bursting with vitality from a host of dynamic young French filmmakers. The festival will be curated by Julien Planté, a renowned French film producer who is based in London.

As summer rolls in, visitors can enjoy the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the West Cork Literary Festival. The West Cork Chamber Music Festival runs from 30 June until 8 July and features a vibrant programme of concerts in St Brendan’s Church and Bantry House. The West Cork Literary Festival also takes place in Bantry from 14 to 21 July. The 2016 programme welcomed big names including Gloria Steinem, John Banville, Carol Drinkwater, Darren Shan, Alice Carey, Zadie Smith and Louis De Bernieres. This year will bring Sara Baume, Jon McGregor, Deborah Levy, Dame Marina Warner, Mike McCormack and Doireann Ní Ghríofa, with more big names to be announced later in the year.

Later in the summer, Masters of Tradition comes to Bantry. Masters of Tradition provides a platform where subtle, and sometimes obscure, elements of Irish traditional music can be heard. By seeking the heart of the music, the festival finds a universal voice that has widespread appeal reaching across many cultural and musical barriers. The fiddle player Martin Hayes has been Artistic Director of the festival since its inception and he always attracts an eclectic mix of big names, with the likes of Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Steve Cooney, Dermot Byrne and Colm Gannon appearing last year.

No matter what time of year you visit Cork, you are sure to find some amazing events to enjoy. Their cultural calendar is full to the brim this year, with arts, music, theatre and so much more to enjoy.

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