The arts in Waterford are fairly resilient and never seem to lack for hope, ambition and dreams. While there is a slightly more tentative approach this year and there are concerns about money and costs, Waterford is well serviced with venues and basic infrastructure, thanks to Waterford City Council. Bare the usual whine or even that some arts practitioners seem to lapse into in good and bad times, the worst I’ve heard is that we still don’t have an Arts Plan. This is a concern for the art makers more than it is for the public.
The big news of 2010 comes from Garter Lane Arts Centre, who have commissioned a new Jim Nolan play, Brighton, to open in May under Ben Barnes direction, with a cast of three. Jim Nolan will also direct a new full length play from Adam Wallace as part of Waterford Youth Arts ambitious plans to celebrate 25 years of creative existence.
Fresh from the successes of 2009, Gary Power Productions confirm that their achievements are only just beginning – the best is yet to come. Gary will direct Lynda Gough at Garter Lane in February with Shirley Valentine running up to St. Valentines as part of a Love season at the Lane.
Stags And Hens, my play of 2009, will return to the Royal in March and in April Gary will direct another sure-fire hit with Brendan O’Carroll’s The Course and if that isn’t enough to be going on with, Gary is planning a big cast production of Twelve Angry Men for Garter Lane in October. He also hopes to present a new play Behind Closed Doors by American-based but Waterford-born playwright, Tony Kelly.
Gary Power will also direct the Theatre Royal Variety Performance in March and the De La Salle College production of Oliver! In October.
Things are too quiet from the Theatre Royal, with a production of Bouncers from Bowler Hat this month, Liam Meagher, my choice as Best Play Author for 2009, directing with John Godber’s script, adaped by Pat Daly, for local audiences. In February, the Royal have Twink in Memopause, The Musical and some one night concerts by Finbar Wright, Freddie White and Luka Bloom. March will see a return of Stags And Hens, The Brother starring Eamon Morrissey, the hit music Stones In His Pockets returns with Simon Delaney and expect The High Kings as well.
The spring Cinema Season opens this month with 9 films for €45. Cois Ceim dance will bring two shows end of January. They have a Love Season for Valentines with Shirley Valentine and Fair City stars Bryan Murray and Una Crawford O’Brien in A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters, Bright Star the movie of Keat’s secret love for Fanny Brawne. They also have the welcome return of London Classic Theatre with Beauty Queen Of Leenane with Waterford-born actress Connie Walker in the cast.
The young and very ambitious Push Pull Productions play in April showing of short comedy plays and sketches. A Summer set of scripts at Central Library some Street Theatre for Spraoi and a September show of original work as well.
Lynn Cahill has a great line-up for her Coffee Concerts with Bridget Knowles on Sunday 17 January. Norah Rendell and Minnesota guitarist Brian Miller, Sunday 7 February and up-and-coming pianist Jonathan Morris Sunday 21 February. I heard him play in New Ross last year and he is worth the visit. On Sunday 7 March a new four voice male vocal ensemble Concordia will entertain and debut, an exciting programme. Four Waterford based singers, Niall Crowley, Ruarai De Frein, Dermot Doyle and Brendan Long are going to wow audiences.
And as they say in the best circles – There’s more, much much more . . . like an Opera festival in November.