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Catalan masters of street performance Efimer bring their dynamic monster 'Lo Monstre' through the streets of Galway as part of Galway Arts Festival Photo by: Galway Arts Festival 2012

The sounds and sights at Galway Arts Festival 2012 – rare talent and pure magic - PHOTOS & VIDEOS

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Catalan masters of street performance Efimer bring their dynamic monster 'Lo Monstre' through the streets of Galway as part of Galway Arts Festival Photo by: Galway Arts Festival 2012

The streets of Galway will come alive from the 16th – 29th July for the world famous Galway Arts Festival. The “City of the Tribes” will be crammed with theatre gold from Ireland, Europe, and the US.

The world premiere of a new play by Julian Gough, “DruidMurphy” a celebration of the work of Tom Murphy, a new exhibition by David Mach, two Shakespeare productions from Ed Hall's Propeller Theatre Company, The National Theatre of Scotland, Dublin's Gate Theatre, The New Yorker's Alex Ross, and Tony Award winning actors John Mahoney and Rondi Reed are just some of the treats in store at the 35th Galway Arts Festival.

Galway Arts Festival's Artistic Director Paul Fahy said, “The Festival offers the very best of international performing and visual arts for two fantastic weeks this July.”

John Crumlish, the festival’s chief executive, said, “There is something in this programme for everyone to enjoy. We are delighted to welcome back some old friends and hopefully introduce our audiences to some new ones.”

Honorary Patron of the Festival, John Mahoney, the Irish American actor famous for his role in the sit-com “Fraiser” said, “Whenever I do a new play, I don't wish for a Broadway transfer, I wish for an invitation to take it to Galway Arts Festival.  I have been fortunate to participate five times in the festival over the years, and the joy never palls. Galway is such a beautiful city and to be there during the Arts Festival is sheer magic."

Propeller, under the direction of Ed Hall, make a welcome return to Galway with a hugely entertaining double-bill of Shakespeare's “Henry V” (the first professional production on an Irish stage since 1906) and “The Winter's Tale”.

The National Theatre of Scotland bring the undisputed hit play of the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart” by leading Scottish playwright David Grieg, while Dublin's Gate Theatre make its long-awaited festival debut with “Watt” by Samuel Beckett.

Other international work includes acrobatic stars Compagnie IETO from France, and Ray Lee's Siren, an extraordinary installation and theatrical performance.

The streets of Galway will come alive with the world premiere of “This Thunderous Heart” from the masters of Irish street spectacle Macnas directed by Noeline Kavanagh; Spain's spectacular “Lo Monstre”, a six-meter giant dinosaur who will roam the streets of Galway, and the poignant and moving “Kamchàtka” from Spain.

The Festival Big Top will also feature an amazing line-up of Irish and international musicians including a double-bill with James Vincent McMorrow and Lisa Hannigan with support from Elaine Mai. The legendary Christy Moore with Declan Sinnott will also perform in a rare stand-up performance with support from Four Men and a Dog. Among the others set to entertain are The Coronas, Bressie, The Kanyu Tree, and Chic at the Big Top, as well as many gigs scattered around the city.

A new initiative this year will be “First Thought Talks”. This is a new initiative featuring a series of talks, interviews and discussions exploring creativity. Guests include The New Yorker's Alex Ross, actors John Mahoney and Rondi Reid, author Jules Evans, and founder of The Aisling Foundation Caroline Casey. Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson is joined in conversation with Fintan O'Toole, as are playwright Tom Murphy and Druid's Garry Hynes to mark DruidMurphy.

If having a giggle is more up your alley, the festival is also playing host to some of the very best of Irish and international comics including Michael Winslow, Abandoman, Jason Byrne, Piff The Magic Dragon, Reginald D. Hunter, Terry Alderton, and the daily lunchtime madness that is Laughter Loft with Gerry Mallon.

Festival 2012 sees the introduction of a spectacular new temporary gallery, the ABSOLUT Festival Gallery, which becomes home to the previously mentioned David Mach exhibition “Precious Light”, a show featuring large-scale sculpture and collage.

In addition, the ABSOLUT Visual Arts Programme features solo exhibitions by Brian Maguire, Joe Comerford, leading international video artist Marina Abramovic in collaboration with Charles Atlas, and one of the greatest satirical artists of the 20th century, George Grosz.

Other Irish solo exhibitions include new shows from Mick O'Dea, Jennifer Cunningham and Ben Geoghegan. Further group shows features 14 days of live performance from The Performance Collective; Between Worlds with Emmet Kierans, Séan Guinan and Ramon Kassam; Stoney Roadwhich celebrates Dublin Stoney Road Press; Brian Loughranwith Kate Howard and Ghost Train, a collaboration between artist Lynne O'Loughlin and filmmaker Pete Ray.

This is just a handful of the entertainment on offer at this year’s Galway Arts Festival.

For further festival updates and previews checkout GAFTV on www.galwayartsfestival.com.

Box office and full programme details - www.galwayartsfestival.com or phone 091 566577 from June 18th.

Here’s a selection of previews and clips to get you in mood for the 2012 Galway Arts Festival:

An overview of Galway Arts Festival:

Paul Fahy offers a preview of the Galway Arts Festival:

Preview of Ireland’s foremost contemporary music group, Crash Ensemble: 

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