Bealtine Festival 2018’s Open Invitation To Celebrate Arts And Creativity

The month of May sees the return of the annual Bealtaine festival, a month-long national celebration of the arts and creativity as a life-long journey.

This year the festival is 23 years old but shows no signs of slowing down with its most ambitious programme of events yet. Organised by Age & Opportunity, ‘Be Our Guest’ is the first in a three-year-themed event showcasing the very best of Ireland’s older artists in theatre, literature, visual arts, dance and music.

Bealtine Festival 2018's Open Invitation To Celebrate Arts And Creativity

A life of play

Last year’s participation helped make Bealtaine one of the most important cultural events in the national arts calendar with almost 100,000 participants, over 1,700 events and 510 partners.

But we’re hoping to smash our own records this year with our wealth of activities and performances. Our new programmers include: Brokentalkers, the creative partnership of Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan, who are best known for their socially-charged theatre, while Linda Shevlin, the visual arts curator, uses her expert eye to interpret the festival theme through the visual arts programme.

Highlights include:


  • A no-nonsense exploration of intimacy, sex and sexuality in and by older age groups in ‘Everybody Sings’, a new Bealtaine Commission by Shaun Dunne, the actor and playwright, in collaboration with film designer, Luca Truffarelli.
  • John Banville and Claire Kilroy join John Boyne for a conversation on their creative and literary inspirations. ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ is essentially a celebration of the influence of writers upon each other across generations.
  • ‘A Life of Play’ is a jovial joining of generations in a creative dance and play project for children aged between five and10 and their grandparents. This Coiscéim Broadreach Project is by Emma O’Kane, the dancer and is specially commissioned by Bealtaine in partnership with the Dublin Dance Festival.
  • Take a voyage into the best of Ireland’s visual arts scene in ‘Hospitable Actions’, a programme bursting with talks, workshops and exhibitions with a focus on older age happening nationwide, including the new Bealtaine Commission, Home – A Film Poem
  • Burst into song with the Dawn Chorus, a nationwide choral event with older singers up with the birds to sing in a new season. In addition to well-established regional singing groups and events, Dublin adds a new Dawn Chorus to the schedule – a 6am performance on 6 May, with The Line-Up Choir, conductor Roisin Savage, and the premiere of a new work by composer Tom Lane, planned for Grattan Bridge on the River Liffey.

The month-long extravaganza will also feature Bealtaine @ Temple Bar, a five-day celebration in the heart of Dublin’s cultural quarter, made possible by support from Dublin City Council and the assistance of the Temple Bar Company.

Alongside these highlights will be a huge programme of local initiatives hosted by local authorities, arts centres, libraries, Active Retirement groups, care settings, community groups and clubs from all over the country.

Age & Opportunity acknowledges the principal support of the Arts Council of Ireland for the Bealtaine festival. For more information on events in your region (a search by county is available on the website), visit

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