9 June 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Cork Midsummer Festival is to hold Ireland’s largest ever maypole dance as part of a diverse and dynamic family-friendly programme of events for 2017. Taking place across 10 days from 16-25 June, this year’s festival is jam-packed with installations, dance, music, workshops and theatre with young children in mind. For full details and tickets visit www.corkmidsummer.com.
A highlight will be The Jig in the Park on June 18, as innovative Irish dance troupe ProdiJIG stage the largest maypole dance ever to be held in Ireland. The dance is a longstanding tradition for Midsummer’s Day, and this event at Fitzgerald Park will be a joint partnership between Cork Midsummer Festival and Cork Opera House.
Cork-born world champion dancer Alan Kenefick of ProdiJIG has created an exclusive video (available to view HERE) so everyone can learn the steps for the dance in advance. The maypole dance is one of a series of free arts events and activities taking place on the afternoon, as part of the much-loved Picnic in the Park.
ProdiJIG will also perform throughout the Festival, in Cork Opera House’s hit production, ProdiJIG: The Revolution. Directed by acclaimed theatre director, Wayne Jordan, the show runs at the theatre from June 14-25. It features some of the best Irish dancers in the world, along with music from trailblazing trad group MOXIE and Peter Power.
Other family-friendly highlights include a giant replica of the moon – created by renowned artist Luke Jerram – which will go on display at Cork Institute of Technology’s Nexus Hall. Museum of the Moon, measuring seven metres in diameter and featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, will be available for viewing for budding astronauts from June 21-23. The free installation will coincide with International Space University’s 30th Annual Space Studies Programme (SSP17) hosted by CIT. It is sponsored by O’Flynn Exhams Solicitors, JCD Group and Urban Green Private.
Cork Midsummer Festival Director, Lorraine Maye said: “Every year we make sure the Midsummer Festival is a festival for Cork, and that includes its youngest residents. For many young people, this is their first interaction with the arts, and we want every child to have a magical experience. It’s a privilege to offer them a programme of events where they can wonder, imagine and create.”
The family-friendly activities also include a production of The Gardener by award-winning playwright Mike Kenny. Running June 16-18 and June 23-25, the performance at Graffiti Theatre, Blackpool, is specifically designed for six to eight year olds.
Fleischmann In The Glen is another free family-friendly event, with the outdoor performance at the Glen River Park, Ballyhooley Road paying homage to Professor Aloys Fleischmann. The renowned Cork composer and conductor lived in the Glen, and a classical concert will recognise his work on June 21. Keith Pascoe will conduct the Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra with special guests Ger Wolfe and Sinéad Ní Mhurchú.
Further free outdoor events include the ecological Cow-go-round by Théâtre Toupine. The charming theatre-carousel, powered by parents, will be in-situ on Grand Parade on June 16 and 17; and at Fitzgerald’s Park on June 18.