Sharon Van Etten, Maija Sofia, Pretty Happy, Tolü Makay and THISISPOPBABY for Cork Midsummer Festival
Cork Midsummer Festival returns next week for its first fully live festival since 2019. Taking place from 15 to 26 June, the event, which for the past two years has been a hybrid affair, will present a programme of music, theatre, dance, street performances, installations, visual art and more.
The music programme includes a new festival commission, concerts, workshops, hip hop showcases, a day-long celebration of queer and alternative music and culture, and interactive walking experiences.
Music and voices
Ecclesiastes is a new work for string quartet and actor by Cork composer John O’Brien that has been commissioned by the festival. Premiering on 20 and 21 June at Triskel Arts Centre, the work, which features an adapted text from the Book of Ecclesiastes, will be performed by actor Derbhle Crotty and the Carducci Quartet. The piece was composed during lockdown and with dark humour explores the collective experience of Covid-19, as well as an emotional longing for connection.
On 17 and 18 June, the festival presents Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster, a Battersea Arts Centre and BAC Beatbox Academy production of music, theatre and horror. Six performers present a world of modern monsters – from our over-stimulated digital age to the pressures to conform – through vocals and beatboxing. Quare, a celebration of queer theatre, music and visual art, will take place at St Anne’s Park in Shandon (19 June). Curated by Abbey Blake and produced by Arann Blake of punk band Pretty Happy, in collaboration with LGBTQ+ artists from Cork, the event will culminate in performances by local artists Elaine Malone, I Dreamed I Dream, and Kevin Terry.
American singer Sharon Van Etten will perform a concert at Cork Opera House on 23 June as part of her Darkness Fades tour, featuring support from singer-songwriter Maija Sofia; Pretty Happy play at Coughlan’s on 17 June; and on 19 June, HTRK, an experimental rock band from Australia, will perform at Cyprus Avenue.
Workshops, installations, performances
There will also be a series of community choral singing workshops with performing artist Louise White and singer Michelle O’Rourke (24–26 June); beatbox workshops (15 and 16 June); a hip hop event featuring artists from Senegal, France and Ireland (25 June); a concert with jazz saxophonist Camilla George (18 June); and an intimate performance by pop singer Tolü Makay at The Kino (17 June).
Under The Same Sky, a new audio-visual installation by Lithuanian artist Kristina Inčiūraitė, in collaboration with Dr Eva McMullan-Glossop, will be presented at St Luke’s Crypt. The project showcases the unique Irish landscape of the Burren National Park with a vocal soundscape and performances by the University College Cork Choir. There will also be an interactive walking trail experience by festival artist-in-residence Peter Power. After Light: These Dark Citizens invites participants to walk the streets of Cork city at night, accompanied by an interactive audio score (23–25 June).
Elsewhere, Cork Midsummer Festival will present a new dance-theatre show from THISISPOPBABY about desire, intimacy, isolation and addiction and that delves into queer culture (15–17 June); a summer solstice street parade (21 June); Guests Of The Nation, a world premiere from Corcadorca theatre comany inspired by Frank O’Connor’s short story of the same name (18–22 and 24–25 June); and a new work from Branar theatre company, You’ll See… This is Ulysses for Children (16–19 June).
There will also be exhibitions, new public art murals, storytelling events, dance theatre shows, panel discussions and more.
Commenting on this year’s event, Festival Director Lorraine Maye said:
Together with our programme partners, we are so excited to be launching our first fully live festival in three years. We can’t wait for this programme of work by extraordinary Irish and international artists to meet audiences in warehouses and forts, stages and streets, as Cork city once again becomes the stage. Community and a sense of awakening are at the heart of the festival this year as we gather together to celebrate, reflect and discover.
For further information and tickets, visit: www.corkmidsummer.com.