TO WIN a global award for Best Event/ Organisation (IFEA) in its first year, 2017, speaks eloquently of Limerick Fringe. Set up 18 months ago by a professional committee of artists on an honorary basis, this year’s becomes a four day suite of cookie, brilliant performance.
It looks set to be more of a crowdpleaser too with the introduction of free street theatre to lure us in.
Loosen your time and imagination from Wednesday April 4 into Saturday 7, the festival comfortably ensconced within Easter holidays. Booking on www.limerickfringe.com
The media launch was a happy babble on January 24 at which Mayor Seán Lynch was representative of a financially sympathetic Limerick Council. Likewise Sheila Deegan of Limerick Arts Office who, with the Arts Council of Ireland and local authority, are the new funders won over by Street FRiNGE and Family FRiNGE.
“The support we got last year as well as this year is just epic,” expressed a grateful Eva Birdthistle. “The likes of venues such as George Boutique Hotel, Dolan’s, No. 1 Pery Square, all eight of them across the board. We have the Belltable:Connect big prize to offer the overall winning production, worth about €6,500. Last year’s winner was ‘Microdisney’ which will stage in Belltable for three nights in March. Belltable:Connect [professional development for theatre makers] equips an artist to to elevate to the next level.
“We have 34 artists playing a multiple of times and in total, there will be 79 shows”.
The organisational grit and strategic selectivity to bring this off impress. Birdthistle credits Limerick Fringe’s positioning on the cusp of the European circuit with their haul of artists from Catalonia, Poland, Iran, Brazil and beyond.
Committee member Simon Thompson (Clown Noir), lecturer MA Festive Arts at Irish World Academy, underlines that “we will have international, national and local performers.”
Highlights for him include the opening night concert party on Wednesday April 4; and the street theatre for everyone to enjoy. “There’s a Belgian girl who does handstands and acrobatics to blend in with the architecture. The idea of ‘In the City Still’ is that we don’t see everything.”
Such was her mastery witnessed on the Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin that droves walked past, oblivious. Those who became aware were mesmerised.
The first night gig is for the artists, volunteers, venue teams, supporters and there’s a few tickets to Dolan’s Warehouse for the paying public. “The opening performance is the Dutch band Scotch who are a quirky band. They call what they do ‘Balkan ska’, with a mix of celtic, world, European music. They are a fantastic band..with a whole wonderful jam going on”.
Let’s get this Easter party started….