This October Bank Holiday living stories and deadly adventures from nightmares, to the beautiful and the damned will fill the streets.
By day, the Bram Stoker Festival program presents gothic intrigue at family-friendly events, talks and interactive experiences. At night, the city will embrace the darkness as a host of venues deliver deadly adventures for festival goers in search of macabre thrills and late-night parties. The festival program includes theatre, spectacle, visual arts and music in haunting locations across the city celebrating Dublin’s gothic and supernatural traditions, the city itself and gothic architecture, and links to Samhain festival.
This October Bank Holiday weekend Dublin is set to summon the supernatural as Bram Stoker Festival presents four days of living stories and four nights of deadly adventures in venues across the city. The Bram Stoker Festival’s full program’s highlights include “Nightmare Plants,” an eerie immersive performance at Botanic Gardens; “Prohibition: The Beautiful and the Damned,” a night of gothic glamour at IMMA; “Horror Expo” in the stunning Freemasons Grand Lodge; and high-stakes, interactive role-playing game, and “Werewolf,” taking place in venues across the city.
Thrill-seekers will be invited to Glasnevin’s Botanic Gardens for an after-dark experience like no other this year. Step inside the world of Nightmare Plants (Fri 28 & Sat 29, tickets €10), an immersive performance in the Victorian glass house. Join a centuries-old plant-hunter and mysterious purveyor of new and unusual species as he opens his glasshouse for the first time to see the deadliest of Mother Nature’s creations. Find out what memories lie within, and what memories must be exorcised before the sun rises!
Game-lovers and fans of some freakish fun can take part in Werewolf (28th – 31st Oct, Bars & spaces throughout the city, Free), a high stakes parlor game which tests improv and observational skills. Arrange to play against a group of friends or try your skills with strangers. Find out if you’re a villager or werewolf, but be careful: this game is survival of the fittest. Trust nobody, observe closely, because werewolves are hiding among villagers and as day turns to night their aim is to subsume the village.
Master-storytellers and creators of unforgettable interactive experiences, Macnas, return to Bram Stoker Festival (Monday 31st, Henry St, 6pm, Free) to summon spirits and awaken the ghosts with a new parade like no other seen in Dublin. Under cloak of twilight, magic will be released in a stunning crescendo of street art, parade and thundering music on Moore St and Henry St.
Other ghoulish adventures taking place over the weekend include Prohibition: the Beautiful and the Damned at IMMA with Film Fatale (Sat 29th, Tickets €34 plus booking fee), a night of gothic glamour, strange curiosities, the bewitching and the bizarre at Ireland’s most elegantly decadent Halloween celebration; while Horror Expo in the stunning surroundings of Freemasons Grand Lodge (Sun 30th, 2pm-2am, tickets €39.50 plus booking fee) will deliver a one of a kind event which promises to please the most ardent of horror fans, a day filled with panels, Q&A sessions, screenings, and paranormal investigations. Speakers include comic book writer Maura McHugh and BBC Ghostwatch BAFTA winner Stephen Volk.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s festival, Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr said “Dublin city has a proud gothic heritage, most notably Dublin author Bram Stoker and his Victorian novel Dracula. The festival celebrates this gothic masterpiece, but it also showcases the wonderful cultural offerings available in our capital city. I would encourage all Dubliners to explore our full program of events and come out to celebrate with us this October Bank Holiday weekend.”
The festival extends to Bram Stoker’s homestead of Clontarf where, in St. Anne’s Park, Behind The Dark by Loosysmokes (Fri 28th & Sat 29th, various times, Tickets €15), a dark and frenetic aerial acrobatics show in the park’s centuries old trees which has previously wowed audiences in Kilkenny and at Dublin Fringe Festival 2015. Mother Stoker’s Sickly Stories (29th, 30th & 31st, Tickets €10) introduces audiences to a young Bram Stoker in this immersive theatre experience in one of Dublin’s oldest Georgian buildings, 13 North Great Georges St, where he is confined to his bed and molded by the twisted tales told to him by his mother.
Also speaking at the launch, Keelin Fagan, Failte Ireland Head of Dublin, said “The Bram Stoker Festival is a vibrant showcase of creativity and the unexpected that celebrates Dublin’s most renowned horror writer and his notorious novel, Dracula. Dublin’s dark side will come alive this October with a unique mix of fun, adventurous arts, literature, drama this festival has plenty of everything to suit thrill seekers.
“Fáilte Ireland has been working with events such as Bram Stoker for a number of years in a bid to bolster the shoulder season by ensuring there’s a breadth and depth of unique experiences for visitors and Dubliners alike in the capital throughout the year. This year’s programme of events is packed with gloriously gothic fun to be had, so we hope you will come and see for yourself why Dublin is everyone’s favourite city!”
Families are encouraged to venture out in fancy dress and visit Stokerland (Sat 29th & Sun 30th, 11am-4.30pm, Free). See St. Patrick’s Park like never before as it is transformed into a pop-up gothic theme park featuring the macabre talents of world-class street performers, with rides and attractions to ensure a fangtastic time! The Ark in Temple Bar also hosts some spooktacular events for kids over the weekend. The Bram Jam (Sun 30th & Mon 31st, 12pm, Free) invites young musicians to bring an instrument and join in to play some well-known pop songs with a spooky twist, and at Dracula’s Disco (Mon 31st, 11.30am-2pm, Free) see Dracula’s own DJ Will Softly spinning the decks and scratching vinyl at an energetic set for young zombies, ghosts and music-loving monsters. Don’t forget your costume!
Speaking about the festival program, Tom Lawlor Festival Director, said “Bram Stoker Festival gives Dubliners and visitors the chance to experience Dublin in a whole new way. We’ve programmed events in spaces such as The Rotunda Hospital’s Pillar Room, the stunning surrounds of Freemasons Hall, behind the walls of a North Great Georges Street gothic pile, and even the Botanic Gardens Victorian Glasshouse under the cloak of night. Get out and enjoy the dark side of Dublin City this October Bank Holiday Weekend.”
Previously announced events include Bleedin' Deadly (Oct 28th – 31st, 9pm, Tickets €20) a raucous celebration of a time when the Freak Show dominated in all its shocking glory, in the atmospheric Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital, and specially created for Bram Stoker Festival, Dracula Live at the National Concert Hall (Sat 29th, 8pm, Tickets €27/€22) sees leading Irish musicians Matthew Nolan and Sean MacErlaine create a deathly new score for Todd Browning’s 1931 classic movie Dracula performed live on the night.
For events information and tickets sink your teeth into www.bramstokerfestival.com.