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Award allows Fregoli reach new heights



Jarlath Tivnan, Kate Murray, Peter Shine and Eilish McCarthy, who portray life for children of the 1990s in Fregoli Theatre's new production, The Pleasure Ground.

Fregoli Theatre Company will enjoy a few firsts when they stage their latest work, The Pleasure Ground, at the Town Hall Theatre next Friday and Saturday, August 21 and 22.

The Pleasure Ground is their 20th show, but this will be their first time on the main stage of the city theatre – until now Fregoli have played the Town Hall Studio when they have performed in this venue.

The Pleasure Ground, set in a West of Ireland town, also marks the first time Fregoli have tackled a two-act play, although their one-act dramas have toured at home and abroad.

And Fregoli are capping their achievement by being the first group to have won the Michael Diskin Bursary, a €5,000 award commemorating the late manager of the Town Hall Theatre, who died in 2012.

Understandably the director of The Pleasure Ground and Fregoli co-founder Maria Tivnan is thrilled, if a little apprehensive, about all these developments.

“This play has been stewing a long time,” she says.

“The Christmas before last, myself [and Fregoli colleagues] Kate Murray, Jarlath Tivnan and Rob Mc Feely met in Tí Neachtain to talk about the year ahead. I said I wanted to do a play about the West of Ireland; a big play that would be in the voice of young people.

“I wanted to do something on the fate of West of Ireland towns,” expands Maria, who is originally from Boyle in Co Roscommon.

“We are all living in Galway, Cork and Dublin, but we will lose a lot if we lose those towns,” she adds, referring to people in their 30s and 20s, the most recent generations to have moved away from rural Ireland.

Maria, “a child of the 1980s”, set up Fregoli in 2007 after studying psychology at NUIG followed by an MA in drama at UCD.

The cast of The Pleasure Ground – Kate Murray, Peter Shine, Eilish McCarthy and Jarlath Tivnan – are “children of the 1990s”.

There were huge changes between those decades, she adds. Mobile phones became ubiquitous in the late 1990s, as did money. It seemed like the 1990s’ generation had it all. But while while Maria and her peers from the 1980s found employment when they left college, the economy had collapsed 10 years on, leaving the children of the 1990s with no work.

The Pleasure Ground explores the dilemmas of that generation, via four friends who have gone their separate ways, but come home for a local funeral.

They meet up at their teenage haunt, the town park and playground, known as the Pleasure Ground. The town is dying, the Pleasure Ground’s glory has faded, and life isn’t matching up to expectations.

The four spend an evening together when buried secrets become unearthed, past grievances boil over, and old scores are settled.

“These characters are 24 and have a lot to learn,” observes Maria. The Pleasure Ground was staged at Nuns Island Arts Centre as a ‘work in progress’ during May’s Galway Theatre Festival when it showed great promise.

The cast performed the first act in a couple of different ways, after which Maria and the actors discussed its development with the audience. The first act was, and remains in the traditional Fregoli style, she says now. That means various character changes as people play out their memories, dancing and singing, not in real time.

The second act, which wasn’t performed then, is largely dialogue-based and is in real time, a departure for Fregoli.

“It’s more measured but it’s where the big revelations take place, when all you’ve learned in the first act comes to a head,” says Maria.

The drama has been largely scripted by Jarlath Tivnan, with input from fellow cast members and Maria. Jarlath is Maria’s younger cousin and also grew up in Boyle. Like her, he moved to Galway where he works as an actor with companies such as Decaden.

For more of Judy Murphy’s interview with Fregoli see this week’s Tribune


Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be



Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce.

Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a  blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.

The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.

It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.

Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.

People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.

The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.

The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at

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All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh



Most of the competitions for young musicians will take place this Saturday in Dunmore Community School. All the competitions are open to the public.

Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.

It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.

The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023.  Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.

Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.

Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.

On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.

Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.

For more information on the County Fleadh, go to


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Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday



Pianist Cédric Pescia.

Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.

This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.

This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as  ‘language and movement at the same time’.

Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31.  These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.

■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.

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