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‘The arts are there to enjoy and to engage with’

GLÓR is one of eight Irish venues presenting LASTA, a national arts programme for young people delivered by young people, running from July 11-20.
The Ennis venue has two young curators for the programme – Movement Artist, Choreographer and Director Douglas Reddan from Quin, and Mary Nagle, a classical musician from Corofin; both of whom have worked collaboratively to deliver an ambitious programme of diverse events, including theatre, dance, visual art, music, film and spoken word events.
Mary grew up playing the organ at Corofin church, while she now lives in Dublin, is an accomplished flautist and teaches music. “The Glór team have been brilliant, they’ve really trusted us and supported us,” she says ahead of the festival.
Speaking about some of the events that will be happening, Mary says, “”FeliSpeaks who was on the Tommy Tiernan Show, she’s going to be doing a poetry video. There’s going to be a guy dancing to her, Tobi Balogun, the poem is called Hey There, Black Child.
“Roisin Kiberd, she wrote this book called The Disconnect, which kind of looks at living with machines, she starts it by saying she spent more time with screens than any living person.
“She has really funny bits, she digs in at Monster Energy Drinks, she’s fascinated with Mark Zuckerberg’s fashion sense. She has this horrifying bit about going on Bumble dates, they all talk about Rick & Morty, the TV show, it’s like she’s gone on five or six dates with the same man!”
There is an interesting discussion planned on creative processes.
“Snowflake is a book that came out last month and it’s been a best seller, it was written by Louise Nealon and she’s going to be in conversation with Doug, they’ll be talking about the two processes”
Speaking about his own cultural background last week, Doug said, “I’m primarily a dancer, I moved to Dublin to study retail and services management in 2015. I was always dancing back at home, then I just decided to take it a bit seriously, I was part of a programme in Dublin and I realised it was what I really wanted to do, so I finished my degree while training as a dancer. Then I kind of gradually moved into film, now I both work in film and dancing, I do a bit of both.
“When I was living in Clare I was part of BreakThrough Dance Company in Ennis and we did a bit of everything.
“I always had a bit of a passion for hip hop styles. I was training with a hip hop based studio and company in Dublin, but I’ve recently moved towards more contemporary and experimental styles.
“I have a love for a lot of styles, I try not to box myself into any, I do a bit of everything.”
He is very enthusiastic about LASTA and is determined that it will be appealing to young people, even those not normally drawn to the arts.
“I think it’s a really exciting opportunity for all of us to create a festival and events in the arts that are suited towards our age group. They wanted to target a 19-30 year old audience, because they had a lot for older than that, and kids theatre is a lot different, but there’s a bracket that just weren’t engaging in the arts as much.
“I suppose this was a great opportunity to give that chance to people in that age group to bring something to life.
“We (Doug and Mary) gelled pretty well and we decided we wanted a focus for this festival that was exciting, uplifiting, something that made people feel good.
“We wanted to respond to the last year in a new light. We didn’t want to create another festival based around Covid, we felt that was kind of done.
“We wanted to create something that might encourage us to look forward with hope as opposed to looking back at how hard it has been.
“So our focus has been to make people feel good, to get excited about something.
“We wanted this to not just be for an audience that is interested in the arts, to have events that apply to a more universal audience. There are people who are theatre goers, or love going to gallerys, but within our programme we wanted a space also for people who may not always be inclined to engage with the arts.”
One of the highlights will be a drive in dance show, in the car park of Glór.
“Our main event is called Race Car. It’s the only live event that will be going on in the whole of the country. It’s a drive in dance show. It’ll be outside and you stay in your car, similar to a drive in cinema, but in its place is a dance show.
“We have a choreographer in Dublin, her name is Keri Milne and she’s creating a piece for this, it’ll be 40 minutes long and it’ll be happening in Glór car park.
Given the times that are in it, a lot of organising was required to hold an outdoor event.
“There has been a lot of making sure its allowed, a lot of confirming, and m,aking sure its safe. We put massive work into it, we finally got confirmed by the local Guards and the Council and it’ll be happening on June 13. There’ll be two showings and a limited amount of cars.”
He is really keen for the festival to come around, hopeful that it will deliver a lot of great experiences for its audiences.
“I’m really excited to be honest. I don’t anything has been done on this level before. There is so much space for magic to happen within that, there’s no pressure on us because there’s nothing to compare it to.
“We’re kind of trying to make something that makes a mark, that impacts, that people can enjoy. The arts are there to enjoy and to engage with.”

by Owen Ryan

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