Town Hall Theatre Galway Logo

Apr 26 2023

Experience the Magic of Theatre

Galway Theatre Festival 2023 Kicks Off with a Show-Stopping Opening Weekend

Galway Theatre Festival (GTF) is gearing up for its highly anticipated 2023 edition, and the Opening Weekend promises to be a showcase of exceptional performances and thought-provoking works. With a diverse range of shows and events, GTF is set to captivate audiences from April 28th to May 6th across Galway City and County.

Main Shows

The much-anticipated opening show of Galway Theatre Festival 2023 is set to be a powerful and thought-provoking performance by Just Friends Collective titled "OCD Me." Taking place at Nun's Island Theatre at Galway Arts Centre from April 28th to 30th at 8pm, this one-woman play, written by Aisling Smith and performed by Laura Whelan, centres on Sarah - a young woman diagnosed with OCD, promises to be a truly unique theatrical experience. "OCD Me'' aims to challenge the stereotypes associated with OCD as portrayed in the media, offering a personal and raw narrative that sheds light on the reality of living with this mental health condition. The performance is expected to captivate audiences and provide a fresh perspective on OCD, making it a must-see show at Galway Theatre Festival 2023.

Galway Theatre Festival 2023 continues to push boundaries with "Nameless," presented by the Polish Arts Festival. Held at An Taibhdhearc on April 30th and May 1st at 7PM, this powerful production delves into the story of a woman who finds herself confined in a mental health institution without her consent, and her courageous struggle to adapt and fit in. With a bilingual (Polish/English with subtitles) approach, "Nameless" is anticipated to be a moving and thought-provoking theatrical experience, shedding light on important issues surrounding mental health and human rights.

Áine Moynihan, in collaboration with Giorria Collective, presents "Feisteas an tSaoil / Dressing the Part" at An Taibhdhearc on the 5th & 6th May, 8:30PM, as part of the 2023 Festival. This bilingual show is a celebration of women's lives through the social changes of the 20th century and beyond. Áine Moynihan, a poet and actor, brings her unique perspective as an older female artist who has lived a fascinating life on the western seaboard, working in both Irish and English. "Feisteas an tSaoil" deals with personal stories of birth, death, marriage, and breaking taboos in a society known for its silences. Through prose and poetry, this moving performance traces key moments of schooling, courtship, marriage, and giving birth, while also strengthening the presence of Irish language theatre in Galway and the West of Ireland.

Michelle Read, a talented writer-performer, has teamed up with composer Brian Keegan to bring audiences a moving and evocative show titled "On A House Like A Fire" at the O'Donoghue Centre. The show will be performed on May 4th at 7PM, and on May 5th at 3PM and 7PM. The inspiration for "On A House Like A Fire" comes from Michelle's personal experience of remembering her mother, Margaret, who lived with Alzheimer's. The show has received critical acclaim, with the Irish Mail on Sunday describing it as "utterly absorbing" and The Irish Independent praising Brian Keegan's atmospheric music that "unspools throughout." The Sunday Independent has also called the narrative "beautifully crafted" and full of "affection and warmth."

Prepare to embark on a musical adventure with "The Song Collector," brought to you by the talented writer and performer Chris Moran, at the O'Donoghue Centre, University of Galway, from April 29th to May 1st. This captivating folk music extravaganza is specially designed for kids aged 6+ and promises to transport audiences to the magical world of 1930s Ireland through mesmerising hand-drawn animation and thrilling audience interaction. Join the lovable Song Collector and his faithful dog Lomax as they set out on a quest to discover "that special song" before modernization changes Galway forever.

The Galway Theatre Festival is proud to present two exciting free shows as part of its vibrant programme. Join us for “SALT”, a mesmerising multidisciplinary production by acclaimed theatre-maker Vanessa Earl on April 30th at Traught Beach in Kinvara and Ladies Beach in Salthill on May 1st. Featuring a choir of 60, a professional ensemble, and light-art by Mick Murray, SALT is an immersive celebration of our coastal community inspired by the stories of local sea-swimmers. And don't miss “The Grannies”, a hilarious acrobatic show by Bill and Fred Productions, bringing Bille and Frieda to the streets of Galway City Centre on May 6th in Eyre Square.

Works in Progress

Works in Progress is a special strand of Galway Theatre festival that focuses on showcasing works that are still in development. This unique opportunity allows artists to test aspects of their new works and invites audiences to become part of the process by offering constructive feedback. With a diverse range of captivating performances, Works in Progress promises to be a highlight of the festival.

One of the featured shows in Works in Progress is "Dr." Josef K. Hamburgerburger's eccentric unveiling of his new creation, a sentient AI "Mandroid" designed to become the world's most popular influencer in the Manosphere. This high-tech clown show for the internet age is funny, frightening, touching, and weird, reflecting the gendered, hyperconnected world we live in. “Mandroid Streams” takes place April 29th at 3:30PM in the Bank of Ireland Theatre.

Another compelling performance is “Stepping Up”, set in 2019 and centred around a young Galway girl who falls in love with a Zimbabwean man living in Direct Provision. Their relationship is challenged by provincialism and racism, but with help and mentoring, they emerge as confident advocates for justice and tolerance. This thought-provoking piece is supported by GARN (Galway Anti Racism Network) and is suitable for all ages. “Stepping Up” takes place May 2nd at 8PM in the Bank of Ireland Theatre.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of "The Enchanted Island," a promenade audio play set on Inishmore, Aran Islands taking place on May 2nd. Created by Jenni Nikinmaa with the support of Remote Control residencies, this play takes you on a journey to a legendary vanishing island where merfolk sip seaweed tea within eerie underwater buildings. Through playful exploration, this piece engages with the effects of climate change in coastal areas near the ocean and invites you to rediscover the magic we may have stopped believing in.

For all ages, “Where Seaweed Dances" is a new performance piece created by Danae Wollen and Samuel Arnold Keane. This captivating blend of circus, live music, and theatre offers a coastal and underwater exploration that sparks curiosity and imagination through the wonders of the ocean. “Where Seaweed Dances" takes place May 3rd, 7PM at the Bank of Ireland Theatre.

Join the Fulbright Ireland project "Yaqui & Béal: Yoeme and Irish in Conversation" for a theatrical exploration of commonalities between Native Americans and Native Irish. This unique performance combines scripted and devised work, incorporating input from the audience. Composed by theatre-makers from the University of Galway Master's program, this performance is suitable for all ages and will be followed by a post-show panel discussion (6th May, 1:30PM, Bank of Ireland Theatre).

In addition to the performances, Works in Progress also presents the Remote Control Showcase, featuring works in progress from two Galway-based artists who are also Remote Control alumni. “Remote Control” is an artist development programme for artists working across theatre and dance in Galway city and county, making this showcase a must-see for anyone interested in the cutting-edge of performing arts. The performance takes place May 4th, 8:30PM at Nun’s Island Theatre.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to be a part of the creative process and experience captivating performances that are still in development. Works in Progress at Galway Theatre Festival 2023 promises to be a unique and unforgettable event that celebrates the hope, resilience, and artistry of the theatre.


Galway Theatre Festival is pleased to announce an exciting lineup of workshops and panels as part of its upcoming festival. Theatre practitioners and arts enthusiasts alike will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of engaging and informative sessions led by renowned industry professionals.

One of the highlights of the festival is the "What's The Story?" workshop, hosted by Órla Mc Govern of Moth & Butterfly. This introductory workshop will explore the art of oral storytelling, composition, and expression through writing, improvisation, and theatrical exercises. Participants will learn tips and techniques used in the varied art of storytelling in a two-hour session. Another noteworthy workshop is led by Brokentalkers Co-Artistic Directors Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan, who will explore the creation of documentary/biographical theatre. This workshop is designed for arts practitioners who are making collaborative work in politically, socially, and culturally challenging contexts.

In addition, Galway Theatre Festival will be hosting "Speed Creating," an event that allows creatives from all disciplines based in Galway County to engage in face-to-face conversations to discuss arts practice, new ideas, creative blocks, and more. Supported by Galway County Council, this event promises to be an excellent opportunity for networking and collaboration.

The workshops offered as part of “Lóchrann: Creating Works for Theatre” are an exciting opportunity for participants to delve into new approaches and techniques in Irish Language theatre creation. Led by experienced practitioners in the field, the workshops will explore topics such as creating ensemble theatre from a collective perspective with Marc Mac Lochlainn, and delving into Irish language for the stage, including script, stagecraft, and movement with Diarmuid de Faoite. These workshops promise to be engaging and informative, providing valuable insights and skills for those interested in the art of theatre.

Fishamble, one of Ireland's leading new writing theatre companies, will also be conducting a workshop on working with playwrights on new writing. Led by Gavin Kostick, this practical discussion will use recent examples of successful Fishamble works to provide insights on how to bring the best new play to the stage. Limited places are available for this workshop, and interested participants are encouraged to email Galway Theatre Festival for registration.

Furthermore, MAM West, a panel discussion led by Johanne Webb, will delve into the challenges and experiences of mothering artists in the industry. This discussion is open to all, including children and babies, and promises to be an inclusive and thought-provoking conversation.

Last but not least, the festival will also feature a workshop on character connection through improvisation, led by The Jess's's's, an improv theatre duo. Participants will learn techniques for creating grounded scene work and characters in spontaneous and joyful ways, suitable for beginners through to advanced performers.

"We are thrilled to offer these exciting workshops and panels as part of Galway Theatre Festival," said the festival organizers. "These sessions provide a unique opportunity for theatre practitioners and arts enthusiasts to learn from industry professionals, engage in meaningful conversations, and further develop their craft. We encourage everyone interested to register and join us for these enriching experiences." - Aoife Noone, Director of Galway Theatre Festival