Following on from our Fringe Highlights piece last week I caught up with Emma Hannon, Programme Manager with the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, to talk about their extensive music programme this year and get a bit of behind the scenes news from the festival!
Firstly give us a bit of background about how long you've been with the Fringe Festival and how you got into this crazy game?
I’ve been with the festival since late 2011, so this festival will be my third. I took up the position after being with The Ark as Creative Programming Co-Ordinator, where I mostly worked on the Theatre and Literature programme strands. I’ve always loved music also, and was a committee member for Mór Festival, an independent Audio Visual Festival in Charleville Castle (now the site of Castlepalooza) way back in 2003 / 2004.
As programme manager you have seen the programme change over the years evolving to include things like Spoken Word, Gaming & Circus. What has that been like to watch something evolve so much?
I think the nature of our programme is to change, and we’re always reshaping and adapting to the work that’s being made. We encounter a lot of work and a lot of artists, so it is interesting to observe new directions emerge. The doors are wide open for all sorts of work here at Fringe, and we’re always trying to make it easier for people to come to us with different or unusual ideas. This is our 20th festival so we have a lot of experience creating all types of events – the large-scale and the intimate - but every year has its new ambitions and challenges, and that’s the way we like it.
The programme this year includes a lot more music than previous years and I believe you had an influence in this. Can you tell us a little bit about why you felt it was important to expand the music strand?
Well I’m a big music fan, but music is always an important part of the festival. We’ve had a lot of conversations with artists and musicians who are interested in presenting their work in different ways, from Maud in Cahoots bringing their music into a theatrical setting with The Well Rested Terrorist at the Abbey Theatre on the Peacock Stage, to Hilary Woods presenting Night in the Boys School at Smock Alley Theatre, where Hilary wanted to create a different aesthetic environment for her gig. Taking music out of its usual setting is really exciting to us. Dublin Sound Lab have a two concert series with us this year, the first of which has five musicians who lead the audience on an interactive navigation through Dublin’s soundscape. Our grand opening of the festival this year was a once-off, free large-scale outdoor performance turning Santiago Calatrava’s Samuel Beckett Bridge into Ireland’s largest musical instrument, with a new composition by Tom Lane inspired by the frequencies of the bridge’s ‘strings’.
What music acts are you particularly excited about?
I'm so excited to see Nina Hynes back to the festival with Dancing Suns on Meeting House Square this Wednesday night (10th). Those who caught Dancing Suns’ amazing sold out gig at the Pepper Canister Church back in 2013 will know to expect a beautiful and dramatic show. There will also be elements you mightn’t expect, such as a small gospel choir! This double bill also features a rare live appearance from I Am The Cosmos whose 2013 album Monochrome has been on heavy rotation here at Fringe HQ.
I can’t wait for Friday night, when we have a late gig with Jape plus support from Dimman – Richie Egan and Matthew Bolger’s (Jape / The Redneck Manifesto) brand new project. This is actually the very first Dimman gig and we’re dying to see them. A lot of these artists are from Dublin but don’t live here anymore, so we’re particularly delighted to have them as part of the festival.
Fringe favourites Young Hearts Run Free will present a very special event on Saturday 13th at St. Michan’s Church featuring special Canadian guest Mark Andrew Hamilton, Caoimhin Ò Raghallaigh, Roddy Doyle, Adrian Crowley, Mossy Nolan, Idiot Songs, David Thomas Broughton, a radio presentation by Sounds Alive and more!
Camille O’Sullivan is celebrating 20 years of being part of the festival with two seated shows on Meeting House Square, this is for everyone who has fallen in love with her over previous festivals and those – like me – who have yet to experience this Fringe legend live.
The middle weekend of the festival is mostly about getting sweaty. On Saturday 13th we have The TD FAMILY presenting Together DISCO on Meeting House Square, for those who want to dance the night away. It’s Dublin's favourite club night with their biggest get-together yet, and a line-up featuring Chicago’s Jamie 3:26, Pro Vinylist Karim and Billy Scurry. That same night at The Button Factory Clu present their most ambitious project to date in association with Hidden Agenda. Their goal with Gems is to take a venue and completely alter it so the audience can be fully immersed in the event, and they have lots of new content for this show. For the die-hards, it’s possible to do both of these events back-to-back!
Closing our Meeting House Square programme on Sunday 14th is New York-based choreographer Miguel Gutierrez, who brings his Workout Party DEEP Aerobics (short for ‘Death Electro Emo Protest Aerobics’) for a whole new way to dress up and dance. Previously seen warming up for The Knife, the audience are invited to ‘come in a costume of your own devising, whatever that means to you’. It will be LEGENDARY!
Aside from the music strand is there anything we simply CANNOT miss in this year’s Fringe?
LOTS! Fringe only happens once a year, so make the most of it! There are 83 shows and only 13 days left!
Finally what do you think is really unique to the Dublin arts scene at the moment? Why is Dublin the perfect fit for the fringe?
I love Dublin. It’s got such heart and it’s so alive with creativity and people who are just jumping out of their skin to make great things happen.
The Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival continues until the 20th of September for more information: