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Oscar Wilde Festival Galway – It’s Back!

Article by Derek Flynn © 25 August 2014.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

oscar-wilde-FIOscar Wilde Festival Galway returns for its second year this September. From September 5-7, the festival will provide a host of insights into his life and work from speakers from Galway, UK and the US as well as supporting new Irish writing inspired by Wilde.

Friday September 5

The festival will kick off on Friday September 5 at 6pm in the Harbour Hotel. The launch will be followed by a talk on the remarkable life of Galway woman Eva O’Flaherty, who referred to Wilde as her “cousin Oscar”. Eva moved in circles in London, Paris, Dublin and Achill from the 1900s onwards through her involvement in millinery, literary and intellectual pursuits. Eva O’Flaherty was buried in the family vault in Donaghpatrick graveyard, Caherlistrane, on 17 April 1963. The vault was refurbished to mark the 50th anniversary of her death last year. This talk will be delivered by Mary J Murphy from Menlough, county Galway, writer and broadcaster who has written a book titled Eva O’Flaherty:Forgotten Island Heroin. Mary will be joined by Vivian Nesbitt, actress from hit US tv show, Breaking Bad. Vivian is Eva’s great great granddaughter. This talk is free.
Saturday September 6, the festival moves to An Taibhdhearc on Middle Street, Galway city. This is a significant move for the festival as the theatre has strong connections with Wilde through the writer and performer Micheal macLiammoir, who hosted the first play at the venue and went on to perform his one man show to huge acclaim titled ‘The Importance of Being Oscar.’

Saturday’s events will begin at 12 noon with a talk on Wilde Today: what do we think of Wilde today and how has his reputation stood the test of time. This will be the question posed to three speakers; Dr David Clare from NUI Galway, John Cooper from New York and owner of Oscar Wilde in America and Patricia Leventon, acclaimed actress from the UK. All speakers are experts on Wilde and will offer insights into Wilde in their respective countries. Tickets: 7 euro.

At 4pm, American writer and documentary historian, John Cooper will deliver what promises to be a fascinating talk about Wilde and Dress. Wilde used how he dressed to such huge impact during his lifetime and was one of the first to do so. A letter Wilde wrote titled The Philosophy of Dress was rediscovered by Mr Cooper in 2012. Confirmed by Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson as an original, this letter is a fascinating insight into Wilde’s dress sense. In this talk, Mr Cooper will explore the influences, trends, characters and source material that informed Wilde’s relationship with dress, an unappreciated aspect of his life to date. Tickets: 5 euro

Saturday’s events will conclude with a show about one of the most important women in Wilde’s life – his mother. At 8pm, Patricia Leventon, an acclaimed actress from the UK will perform her show Lady Wilde. The Belfast Telegraph described the show as “a portrayal of the life of Lady Wilde with an imaginative and informative style. The show provides great insight into Oscar’s life and the influence of his mother.” Tickets: 12/10 euro.

All tickets for Saturday’s events are available in An Taibhdhearc theatre, Middle Street, Galway by calling 091 563600, by dropping in to the box office at the theatre or online on www.antaibhdhearc.ticketsolve.com

Sunday September 7, the festival will conclude with the debut of new Irish writing. Kicking Oscar’s Corpse by Galway writer Brendan Murphy will make its debut at the Harbour Hotel at 1pm. Based on actual court transcripts, ‘Kicking Oscar’s Corpse’ is a docu-play based on the famous libel trial of Maud Allan in 1918. It’s a story of judges and prejudice, MP’s and dancing girls, sex, scandal and conspiracy. Oscar Wilde Festival Galway is proud to be supporting new Irish writing this year. Tickets are available online for this show and will also be available at the door if seats are free. Tickets: 7euro. Book online: http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/kicking-oscars-corpse-oscar-wilde-festival-galway-at-harbour-hotel-galway-tickets-8050636671

Tea/coffee/cookies will be available beforehand at the bar.

The festival has the support of Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland who warmly welcomed it.

Festival founder and director, Sandra Coffey said: “The festival has a lot to offer this year. It will look at what we think of Wilde today, how he used dress to his advantage and the huge influence his mother had on him. Yet again, we explore his west of Ireland links through Eva O’Flaherty and debut new Irish writing inspired by Wilde. Tickets are again reasonably priced and we hope that people will come and enjoy the weekend.”

Follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. For further information and how to get tickets, go to the festival website www.oscarwildefestival.com

Follow Derek online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie's SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in 'Surge', an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03