May as a month is the start of summer, and our minds naturally turn once again to summer festivals.
Already I am looking forward to this year’s Dublin Dance Festival, which starts on 18 May. There is huge interest in dance at the moment, and the festival represents an opportunity for people to experience some thought-provoking and exciting work by artists from Ireland and overseas. From the opening performance by the very talented Colin Dunne to the extraterrestrial-inspired Company Philip Connaughton piece at the close, and with dance, visual theatre, live music, video installations and personal testimony, the programme looks wonderful.
There are a host of festivals the length of Ireland taking place in towns and villages in almost every county in Ireland over the summer months. I hope you are also tempted, as I am, by many other May festivals. The Killaloe Chamber Music Festival in County Clare, for example, with its promise of Beethoven and Brahms, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, as well as emerging Irish artistic talent. Or the Galway Early Music Festival, where they are planning to take to the streets of the city with pipes, recorders, harps, lutes, hurdy-gurdy, and brass! Or the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which will present a number of Irish new works and international performances along with seminars on sexual identity, plus new writing shorts.
Meanwhile, in the Arts Council, we continue our work to renew our investment models to help deliver on our 10-year strategy, Making Great Art Work, and our first three-year plan. We will be making some significant changes to our main funding schemes, and I hope to communicate the details of these to you next month.