Spectacular Vernacular

Who we are...

OFFLINE Film Festival, Birr County Offaly. To complement and enhance the OFFline Festival this coming October, In The Open will bring a true In The Open experience to the heartlands of Offaly with a Drive-In experience like no other. Based adjacent to the huge expanse of former industrial bogland, the dark night sky will be illuminated with projected light onto the screen attached to the warehouse gables of the old locomotive workshops. Building on OFFline’s programming of regional focussed work, the In The Open Drive-In will encompass screenings over a series of nights to include:
-From the Heartlands; A compilation of short films Made in the Midlands or by filmmakers from the midlands over the past 10 years.
-Visual responses: A selection of audiovisual works from some of the artists currently programmed for In The Open.
-Regional Regeneration: Continuing with OFFline’s focus on works that examine regional development, In The Open will curate at least 2 Feature works that stimulate and engage audiences awareness of regional issues.

Scripts: Ireland’s Playwriting Festival will bring outdoor elements to their 2021 festival with a selection of outdoor theatre performances at different locations in the town of Birr (e.g. at sites of blue plaques, the theatre verdi at Birr Castle). Focusing on the creation of new theatre, developing site specific pieces will complement the In the Open/Faoin Spéir programme and provide for an engaging audience experience. The Scripts team are currently exploring programme options to include hosting the tour from The Gate this summer (unconfirmed) and anticipating working with professional actors like Clare Monnelly, Aaron Monaghan, Clare Barrett, Jane McGrath and upcoming theatre performers such as Emma Parsons. The Festival looks forward to bringing work outdoors in the open which will add to the growth of the festival audience.

Birr Theatre & Arts Centre are currently planning outdoor activities throughout 2021 that will add to the In the Open programme with a diverse range of events to engage the public e.g. professionally curated art in the public realm project by Caroline Conway; a programme of outdoor music concerts e.g. Mundy, Peter O’Toole, Luz; the PPAI Photographer of the Year outdoor exhibition tour; and, programming collaborations with the festivals in the town. Engaging professional artists and reaching new audiences aligns with the Centre’s current Strategic Plan and collaborating on In the Open / Faoin Spéir enables Birr Theatre to create and engage with existing audiences in a novel format, whilst attracting new audiences to open air venues.

Birr Festival of Music 2021 is embracing the outdoors with numerous events planned throughout Birr’s streets and parks in August including performances from Vox Amicum Brass (from the RIAM), The Far Flung Trio and Alan Petcu with Bangers & Crash (who will also deliver youth workshops in the townpark in the new festivals open geodome). Further outdoor activity will include a reconstruction of Dame Nellie Melba’s performance at Emmet Square c.1890 and concerts in open courtyards from past Trench finalists.  The festival will engage numerous professional artists who will deliver a high-quality programme of classical and contemporary music in the open air.

The Museum of Everyone is an inclusive portable platform for artists and creatives that aims to amplify a diverse range of voices and perspectives through both artist and community led collaborative initiatives. The Museum of Everyone's inaugural project series takes place in the centre of the Island of Ireland in Tullamore, County Offaly. Our programme aims to engage with artists, groups and the public by developing an active platform for creativity within the local community during the construction period of Tullamore Art Centre. Through vital collaborative practices and an understanding of the need for connection, MOE will be defined by the necessities of the community and its contemporary urgencies. Perhaps now more than ever we need to consider how we may connect as a community through the arts. The Museum of Everyone is a platform for potential, collaboration, original thinking and action. Our ethos is simple, if you support your community your community in return will support

Lough Boora Parklands. Transformed from its previous incarnation as a commercial bog where peat was harvested to heat homes around the country, today Lough Boora Discovery Park is home to countless species of birds and wildlife, fish-filled lakes and a permanent exhibition of huge outdoor sculptures. These sculptures give the park an other-worldly feel, created using the old industrial materials of the bog such as locomotives, rail-line and timber, all crafted into magnificent works of art.The park is in a continuous state of flux depending on the season. Birds depart or arrive, breed and rear their young. Plants flower and fungi appear and disappear, while the resident animals go about their lives. Leave all traces of urban-living behind as you hop on your bike and cycle around the wide open spaces of Lough Boora bog and sculpture park.

Tullamore Art Centre is a partnership company between the Tullamore community and  Offaly County Council. Our aim is to provide excellent quality arts facilities in Tullamore and be a major resource and catalyst for artistic, community and economic development through the provision of creative spaces for access to and participation in the arts. This purpose built Community Arts Centre in Tullamore will provide a much-needed civic focal point for engagement in the arts, cultural education and creative community activity.

We have been on quite a journey so far, and are now in a position to develop our long awaited Arts Centre for Tullamore on High Street. We have a committed board who are determined to make this centre a reality.  Throughout this process, we have received much support and encouragement from the community, of which we are extremely grateful.

Hullabaloo! Offaly’s Children’s Arts Festival takes place during the October mid-term break in Birr, Clara and Edenderry with workshops (craft, music, dance, art, circus)  and live performances for all the family.  Having regularly programmed outdoors, Hullabaloo! is excited to explore further outdoor opportunities for young audiences, exploring new locations in their area. This year Hullabaloo! hope to launch a new program for young people in Tullamore as part of In the Open 2021.

Over the past few years Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival has been programming collaborative, multi-disciplinary work in the public realm to engage the audience with the town in new and exciting ways. This   includes video mapped immersive audio-visual projections on Heritage buildings, connecting the people with the narratives of the built environment and a community illuminated window trail in houses and businesses around the town. This year we are encouraging people to think beyond the windows and create front of house/ garden installations to reflect the Spirit of Carnival. Linking with these two trials, we are this year commissioning an outdoor  trail of site specific artist’s animations that use  Augmented Reality to create interventions with the fabric of the town. The viewer will navigate the trail with an app that will give access to the artworks. Tying in with the In the Open theme of Vernacular Spectacular, our main visual art exhibition Empty Columns are a Place to Dream,  has invited 16 international collage artists to respond to the Cumberland Pillar in the centre of Birr; its history, and contemporary issues relating to place, context and colonial past. The selection is diverse in terms of gender, geography, ethnicity, and nationality. The works will form an outdoor gallery, with audio guide with a  parallel community project sharing the same theme.