Siamsa Tíre, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, one of Kerry’s most important companies and a national treasure, has set the ball rolling on celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of its foundation in 1974.
The Teach Siamsa Training Centre in Finuge, near Listowel, officially opened in July 1974 and it was at the picturesque cottage where a number of cast members spanning three generations gathered for the launch of the 40th Anniversary Celebrations and the 2014 Festival of Folk.
A series of events are scheduled throughout the year to celebrate and commemorate this milestone, beginning with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Fr Pat Ahern at the Theatre in Tralee on Sunday 11th May.
This year’s summer season of performances will commence on Tuesday May 6th and will continue to entertain audiences until Sunday 21st September.
The Artistic Director of Siamsa Tíre, Jonathan Kelliher, said: “There will be much to celebrate in 2014, four decades since Fr Pat Ahern and the late Martin Whelan were appointed as the first Artistic Director and General Manager respectively. Finuge was where the training of young people in the unique Siamsa style began and this training in music, dance, song and movement continues to lead to the creation of enchanting narratives to the present day.”
Four productions will run over the 2014 summer season, Oileán, Turas, Clann Lir and one of best loved productions Fadó Fadó will be relaunched as part of the Festival of Folk 2014.
Fadó Fadó dramatises a whole year’s cycle of living and working the land and celebrates a typical family life in rural Ireland 100 years ago.
An exhibition of images, archive video footage and memories from the past 40 years will be displayed in the gallery space while a number workshops and lectures will also feature in this year’s Festival of Folk.
The General Manager of Siamsa Tíre, Catriona Fallon, said: “We want to remember and celebrate the people who have been part of Siamsa down the years. On many an occasion following a good night, you would hear it said that ‘it was a great auld Siamsa’ – a night that passed expectation, an evening to be remembered. We want to remember and celebrate the people who have been part of Siamsa, the places we have visited and the shows we have staged.”
Siamsa has played a key role in fostering the growth of traditional Irish Folk Culture for 40 years while leading the way as a major asset in the Irish Tourism Sector.
Over the coming months, as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations, a wealth of memories will be displayed in Siamsa Tíre Theatre in the form of photographs, video footage and audio recordings.
There will also be opportunities to view the Radharc television programme, Bímis ag Rince, which documented the building of Teach Siamsa in Finuge and the founding of the National Folk Theatre.
Tickets and information on all Siamsa Tíre events are available from www.siamsatire.com or check out the 40th Anniversary Blog for a full insight into this year’s celebrations - http://betweenthejigsandthereels-siamsatire.blogspot.ie.