Better known for fine art exhibitions than children’s entertainment, the famous and distinguished Glebe House and Gallery in Churchill say they love being part of the Earagail Arts Festival and that it has opened up a whole new audience for them.
Curator Adrian Kelly says they have been involved with the Festival for nine years now. “The first show we did as part of the Earagail Arts programme was “Crying Babies” in 2000, a show about dream stories by an Australian theatre group. “It turned out to be the biggest outdoor theatre event ever held in Donegal!”
This year, their main outdoor event was Ladder 13s “Fire Station – Cat up a Hot Pine Tree”, a blend of comedy, song and silliness about a Village Fire crew. The show featured an authentic re-conditioned war-time fire engine and a 2 storey fire station – all set in the grounds of the Glebe Gallery.
As such, it was reminiscent of Fidget Feet’s Fairy Tale which took place in the same outstanding location during the 2007 festival. Kelly says they were delighted with how children reacted to both shows and looks forward to staging children’s events again. “When you run a family event, it allows you to attract a much wider audience and to go beyond the fans of the arts.”
Kelly says this is important when you bear in mind that they are a lot more than a gallery. “We are running a historic property – one of just 20 such properties publicly managed in Ireland – so it is important that we attract the local community and events of this kind enable us to be more accessible.”
In addition to the family-oriented events at Glebe House, the Gallery – which houses the Derek Hill Collection – is also running two visual arts exhibitions as part of the Earagail Arts programme: “The Abstract Eye” – Abstract works by two pivotal figures in Irish art, Mainie Jellett & Evie Hone; and “György Kepes – Photographs”: featuring the work of the Hungarian considered as one of the greatest pioneers in the marriage of art and technology. Both exhibitions are free and are open from 11.00am to 6.30pm daily.
The Glebe Gallery’s superb reputation in the field of visual arts has played its part in promoting the festival’s own excellent reputation in this regard. “I would say the Earagail Arts Festival is very important to us,” says Adrian Kelly. “It is a great example of how a partnership can be very successful and can benefit both sides involved.”