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  • Chris ORourke

Dublin Fringe Festival 2019

Dublin Fringe Festival 2019

Dublin Fringe Festival turns twenty-five this September, and for 16 days and nights it plans on celebrating right across the city. Curated by Festival Director, Ruth McGowan, and the Fringe artistic department consisting of Bee Sparks (manager), and Ciara Coyne (assistant), DFF 2019 strives to present some of most innovative home grown and international performances to hit the city this year. 77 productions, spread across 36 venues, featuring 545 performances and 54 world premieres, DFF 2019 is shaping up to be one hell of a party. But don’t worry, whether it's happening in Croke Park, the National Stadium, The Abbey Theatre, or The Four Courts, DFF 2019 is the kind of party to which everyone is invited.

Recognised as Ireland’s most exciting multidisciplinary arts festival, DFF 2019 is as enthusiastic as ever in making sure the right people get to see the right shows. As Ruth McGowan, Festival Director, states:

Our 2019 festival focus is on power and pleasure, with an electric programme full of new ideas and adventurous spirit. I can’t wait for this bold assembly of artists to light up the city this September, delivering impactful and urgent performances on powerful stages, from the Four Courts to Dublin Castle and offering joyful escapism with big nights out and one-of-a-kind experiences that will send you home starry-eyed.

To that end, the festival programme has been broken down into nine defined chapters to help audiences find their ideal Fringe experience. Here's just a small taste of what’s on offer, listed within their relevant category:

MAVERICKS & INVENTORS spotlights works that defy easy categorisation, offering interdisciplinary, experimental, genre-bending and perception-shaking performances. Such as Talking Shop Ensemble & Run of the Mill Theatre’s MAKING A MARK, Danielle Gallighan and Gavin Kosticks GYM SWIM PARTY, CUCKOO by Jaha Koo, and Hannah Mamalis’ SYMPHONY OF WORMS.

CLUB CULTURE IS CULTURE champions art made after dark, including wild performance parties, inclusive club nights, and top-shelf cabaret and gigs. Highlights include Ireland’s fastest rising star LOAH together with BANTUM, Fringe regular Fried Plantains Collective’s BLACK JAM, and LUX ALMA, the brainchild of award-winning sound designer and composer Alma Kelliher. WE ARE LIGHTNING by acclaimed artists Joseph O’Farrell (JOF) and Sam Halmarack offers a topical piece of gig theatre lamenting a city slowly being stripped of its cultural and late-night venues.

TIME CAPSULE captures urgent conversations that interrogate this moment in time. Brokentalkers aptly titled THE EXAMINATION, explores mental health and human rights in the prison system in Ireland and the UK. In a post Repeal world, Miriam Needham’s one woman show, COMPOSTELA combines physical theatre, storytelling and magical realism to explore activist burnout. Clare Monnelly, in association with Axis Ballymun, stages her new play MINEFIELD, digging deep into the darkness of the online world.

BODIES IN TIME delights in dance, circus and physical performance, including Luke Murphy’s VILLAINS. Aisling Ní Cheallaigh and Ronan Brady (thisispopbaby’s RIOT) try the impossible in their new show HOW TO SQUARE A CIRCLE with gravity-defying acrobatics. Rachel Ní Bhraonáin's LOSING YOUR BODY looks at how far the body can be pushed before it pushes back, while CIRCUS by Tara Brandel asks who gets to dance?

PUNCH LINES delivers the best in stand up, alternative and interactive comedy. Starting with Irish favourites, Lords of Strut, with CHAMPIONS OF DANCE. The sell-out, award-winning Dreamgun team are back with a whole new line up of reads in their newest sets collectively called DREAMGUN FILM READS STRIKES BACK. A new stand up show about humility from Jarlath Regan gives us NOTIONS ELEVEN, while You Tube star Bláithín De Burca delves into the world intersectional feminism and tipsy bitching in BLÁ BLÁ BLÁ...WITH SPECIAL GUESTS.

YOUNG RADICALS delivers Fringe for young audiences with five stunning shows, commencing with visual art installation RAINBOW IN A BOX, presented by Cathal McCarthy. MOOP by Game Theory is all about getting serious about fun with strange items or MOOP (Matter Out Of Place). Fringe favourites, Collapsing Horse, adapt Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes with their latest play, A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WINGS. Presenting their first film read intentionally for young audiences DREAMGUN FILM READS: THE LION KING. Girls Rock Dublin, Other Voices and Kato present PLAY LIKE A RIOT GRRRL with a knockout line up of music, workshops, and punk performances for girls, women, trans and non-binary folk who want to rock out.

PLAYS PLAYS PLAYS features new writing from some exciting playwrights. This year the combined expertise of Irish Theatre Institute, Fishamble; The New Play Company, and Dublin Fringe Festival create a new artists support initiative called DUETS, which champions artists working in pairs. First up is SAUCE by Camille Lucy Ross and Ciara Elizabeth Smith, a dark comedy about monsters, condiments and dancing. GAA MAAD from Vickey Curtis and Aine O’Hara explores being queer and a GAA fan. Dublin Fringe star, Alison Spittle returns with her first play, STARLET – a dark comedy set in 2008 Westmeath about young people forgotten by the boom, the bust and the national broadband scheme, while Margaret Perry’s critically acclaimed COLLAPSIBLE looks at holding on in this collapsing world. Set in a post-apocalypse Dublin, AFLOAT by Eva O’Connor and Hildegard Ryan see Bláthnaid and Debs living on top of Liberty Hall.

ESCAPADES offers new perspectives on the city, with unusual venues hosting one-of-a-kind, site specific experiences. Alison Spittle’s MOTHER, set in the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle, Alan Bradley’s GROUNDS FOR CONCERN in Croke Park, and ON ICE by Suzanne Grotenhuis set on an ice skating rink in The Peacock Theatre, promise new ways of seeing and experiencing. As will THE JUSTICE SYNDICATE by Fanshen, performed at Dublin’s iconic Four Courts.

Offering a range of up close experiences from plays to spoken word poetry, INTIMACIES offers a collection of one-on-one, or small group and personal encounters; including Derek Byrne’s SHADOWS, Erin McGathy’s AL DAWES FUCKING LOVES YOU, MY FRINGE SHOW by Sarah Devereaux, and PRETTY FEELINGS by Epstein, Lumsden, Tynan & Van Vliet. IRISH FOOD: A PLAY by Michelin star chef and restaurateur JP McMahon, is a site-responsive, multi-sensory experience that explores the origins of food culture from every corner of the island.

This year, Dublin Fringe are excited to have Ballymore Group as their principal patron for 2019. Sean Mulryan, Chairman and Group Chief Executive of Ballymore Group, said:

At Ballymore, we put life and culture at the heart of our developments - to create places where the arts can find home. Magic is made by the arts in Dublin. Each year, Dublin Fringe brings together hundreds of artists who provide their creativity and extraordinary talent for the enjoyment of others. Our partnership with Dublin Fringe builds on our commitment to the arts and all of us at Ballymore are so excited about this year’s festival.

After twenty-five years, Dublin Fringe Festival has much to celebrate. It was the Dublin Fringe that first gave many unheard voices a platform on which to express themselves in their own terms. Beginning when Jimmy Fay and Bedrock Theatre Company, followed by Allie Curran, first took on the role of Festival Director and the task of getting the Fringe on its feet. Since then DFF has grown exponentially, enjoying extraordinary success across the board. Including plays that had their first, or earliest, incarnations at the Fringe, such as Emmet Kirwan’s Dublin Old School and Owen McCafferty's Mojo Mickybo, that later went on the become internationally acclaimed movies. Dublin Fringe is also where many performers first launched their careers, such as the inimitable Camille O’Sullivan. Or launched that unforgettable show or experience that took the world by storm, such as Thisispopbaby’s RIOT, which featured Fringe favourites the Lords of Strut, set for international stardom having been nabbed by the comedy brand giants, National Lampoon. All just the tip of a pretty impressive Fringe iceberg.

With tickets on sale online, or by phone, and with the walk-in box office open from today, you’ve no reason not to spoil yourself. Pick one, pick three, pick ten. Just don’t miss out on the chance to see what might be the next big thing. And on enjoying the party experience that promises to be Dublin Fringe Festival 2019.

DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL 2019 runs city-wide from September 7 – 22.

All 2019 Fringe events are now on sale at

or 1850 FRINGE (1850 374 643)

Walk in Box Office is on 15 Batchelor’s Walk, Dublin 1

To learn about more great shows, including time and ticket prices, check out the Dublin Fringe Festival 2019 Programme

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Twitter - @dublinfringe / #dublinfringe

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