08 Dec 2021

New neighbourhood look for Clonmel Junction Festival

Our Town Our Place Our Festival- that is a new look that has been taken on by Clonmel Junction Festival which features the people and places of the town to promote the event.

Our Town Our Place Our Festival- that is a new look that has been taken on by Clonmel Junction Festival which features the people and places of the town to promote the event.

Over the last 8 years Clonmel Junction Festival has used two different designers, each for 4 years and so it was felt that this year the festival should have a new look. Last Autumn the company members set about coming up with a new concept to give to the designers.

Inspired by the Dublin Theatre Festival design of recent years using ‘trendy’ young Dubliners in fashionable clothes set against rough urban landscapes the Clonmel Junction Festival team decided to get a series of photographs of well known and not so well known Clonmel people taken in front of iconic town buildings. The festival approached award winning Clonmel photographer John D Kelly with the idea and he was immediately excited, suggesting people he thought might work and favourite places around the town which he could use.

Over the Spring John and Clonmel Junction Festival Company Manager Nollaig Healy spent many hours around the town talking to people and taking photographs, some preorganised and others just taken on spec. In the end from hundreds of photographs taken 18 were chosen to form the Our Town Our Place Our Festival exhibition which will be on display in the Box Office at 28 Parnell Street. Various selections of these images have also been used for the Festival posters, fliers brochure and on the new Festival web site.

‘The Company are delighted with the results of the venture. Festival Director David Teevan was effusive in his praise of John’s work.’

Having a photographer of the calibre of John D Kelly in town to work with has been such a great boost for the festival through the years as he has always been on hand to document the events, giving the festival a wonderful record of the past. His input and enthusiasm for the ‘Our Town Our Place Our Festival’ project was whole hearted and the results magnificent,”

John D Kelly said he was delighted to be involved with the new concept taken on by the Junction Festival.

“I have always been closely associated with the festival since it started and this was an exciting approach taken on by the organisers and I was thrilled to take on the project,” said the Clonmel photographer.

“That great sense of place and people Clonmel has in abundance and there was so much to work ,” said John.

The project would not have gone ahead without the support of South Tipperary Development Company

The exhibition will be launched officially at 6pm on Friday 29th June by Cllr Liam Ahearn.

The Junction Festival starts on July 6th and will continue for ten days.

From July 6th for 10 days Clonmel will be transformed as artists form all over the world descend on the South Tipperary capital to share through theatre, music and other arts their vision of the world we live in.

The theme of the festival this year is Migrating Mythology and the relevance of mythology on modern culture. A number of international plays and talks at the festival will be on this theme.

The programme being presented at he Clonmel junction Festival in July would suggest that mythology, fables and fairy stories still play an important role for contemporary artists as the grapple with current issues and greater questions of mans place in the cosmos.

In The Golden Dragon, the German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig uses characters from Chinese fables in his exploration of Western societies attitude and abuse of immigrant labour from developing countries. In The Girl with the Iron Claws UK playwright Hannah Mulder borrows from a Norwegian fairy story to advance her feminist agenda.

British poets Grace Wells and Adam Wyeth, both long-time residents in Ireland, have turned in their writing to Irish mythology in their quest to respond to the complexity of contemporary life. In Migrating Mythologies, the opening event of the Clonmel Junction Festival, Wells and Wyeth will be joined by writer and philosopher Mark Patrick Hederman, to discuss the importance of mythology and its use in 21st century art making.

Personal mythology is also explored by UK Company Two Destination Language in their one on one audio work A Journey of a Home, which looks at how an emigrant mythologises their past, the stories of home, when building an identity in their new country of residence.

Personal mythology, community narratives and family stories is also the theme being explored by artist Theresia Guschlbauer in her participative Art Café, The Common Thread, one of three pop-up Art Cafés in this year’s festival, which offer the public a range of free participatory arts activities throughout the week of the festival.

Guschlbauer has compiled a rich programme, which includes an embroidery table at which members of the public are invited to stitch threads of personal stories, and a story wall, which will grow during the week as people add to it through words and images. The Common Thread Café will also host an event each evening at which poets, writers and thinkers will reflect on their personal journey including Tipperary poet Michael Coady sharing the story of his quest for the truth about his great-grandfather, Donal Clancy, son of Liam, who will share songs of his father and the stories behind them and Natty Wailer talking about his days of playing and travelling with Bob Marley.

Irish theatre highlights include Pat Kinevane’s powerfully moving and stunningly beautiful show “Silent” which tackles the critical issues of alcoholism, homelessness and depression with theatrical poise and Sonya Kelly’s endearing personal story “Wheelchair on my Face”.

The festival will welcome back the Swiss circus theatre company Nicole and Martin whose magical White Tent and accompanying wagons and trucks will be fitting up in the centre of town where they will perform three of Grimm’s Fairytales.

Ronan Tully, nephew of Eugene Lambert continues the family puppeteering tradition returning from Barcelona to Clonmel to premiere his new show Circo Islu which is performed in a custom-made mini big top. The festival theatre program truly has something for everyone.

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