Imagine Arts Festival organizers are supporting the artists and moving to an online festival


The organisers of the nineteen-year-old Imagine Arts Festival are rolling up their sleeves to re-arrange events and venues to support the artists booked for the upcoming Imagine Arts Festival as they move to an online event.

Imagine Arts Festival Chairperson Jane Keen says, “Waterford has a history of tenacity and rebelliousness, as reflected in the City’s proud motto ‘Urbs Intacta Manet.  In the true spirit of the City Imagine Arts Festival has hung on until the last moment in the hope that we would be able to offer people live performances, music and readings to lighten up the dark days of the pandemic.   As this is no longer possible because of the latest Covid restrictions we have filmed as much as possible in order to provide an entertaining festival for this strange and difficult year.  Our festival will be a feast for online audiences everywhere, and we are already planning to be back with a bang in 2021!”

Three of Waterford’s finest festivals take place under the umbrella of the Imagine Arts Festival, including the Waterford Writers Weekend along with the John Dwyer Trad Weekend an eclectic programe of multi-disciplinary arts events to choose from under Imagine Arts from October 16th to 25th 2020.

Festival Manager Nora Boland says, “We have been supporting artists from all genres through the hosting of Imagine Arts Festival for the last nineteen years and we are proud to continue to do that this year, our festival will now take place entirely online.

Earlier this month the World Economic Forum published a study carried out by University College London. The COVID-19 Social Study found that engagement with the arts takes on a higher significance during unsettled times, helping with mental strain and unleashing the imagination to escape, innovate and create new ways of being. For our 2020 Imagine Arts Festival, our goal is to bring the joy and colour of the arts to our loyal audiences and broaden our reach to take events to nationally and internationally too. We’re asking everyone to join us online from October 16th to 25th to enjoy, appreciate and support the arts at”


Trad Weekend:


Kicking off the festivities is the John Dwyer Trad Weekend, which forms part of the multidisciplinary arts festival. On the opening weekend, a ‘Glór Na nDéise’ concert will take place online on Friday, October 16th with some of Waterford’s finest trad musicians. A series of free online trad workshops tutoring singing in Irish, instruments and compositions will take place on Zoom on October 17th and the trad sessions will culminate with an online concert honouring the life and work of the late John Dwyer with the ‘Music of John Dwyer Concert’ on Saturday evening with a host of well-known trad musicians all of whom performed alongside John in the past. Audiences can join all of the events virtually via


Visual Art:


Visual art events are to the fore and while exhibitions have had to be put on hold at cultural venues there are a series of online events including a talk with California based abstract painter, Laura James. Also, online Clare Scott will present The Galway Incident is a short film (5 minutes) that tells the story of happenings during a night out in Galway city. And an online festival tour of artists studios around Waterford City and County will also be on offer with an option to visit the online gallery shop featuring works from all of the artists participating in the festival trail and beyond. From October 16th festivalgoers will have the opportunity to see eight artists in their creative spaces talking about themselves, their work and how their environment influences their art. The artists include Ben Hennessy, Bernadine Lawton, James Horan, Janey Kavanagh, Magdalena Karol, Vivien O’Malley, Dave Curran and Richie Murphy.

Five art exhibitions will take place virtually including Margo Banks Exhibition, Janet Sibley, “I” is a curated selection of works by emerging artists; Kitsch Doom, Ciara O’ Neill, Matt Higgs, William Murray and MONUMENTS II (Memory Traces) by Ciara Rodgers plus Creating Together Apart which will be presented downstairs at Georges Court Shopping Centre and virtually via


Music events:


Imagine is proud and honoured to present oh, this hectic world, a tribute to the memory of Eric Sweeney who will be so greatly missed. ‘Oh This Hectic World’s the last piece Eric composed, a setting for 10 classic Japanese haiku selected by the poet Mark Roper, who had collaborated with Eric on many ventures over many years. Composer and pianist Marian Ingoldsby, a close friend and colleague of Eric’s at WIT for over 25 years, has very kindly agreed to step in to play Eric’s music. The event will be showcased online at on October 25th.

Unfortunately the live gigs with Saint Sister, Junior Brother and Join Me In The Pines will not take place this year. Postponed until later this year is ‘Flood’ by Ger Bourke which will take place at the Theatre Royal.


Waterford Writers Weekend:


The Waterford Writers Weekend opens on Thursday, October 22nd and runs for three days with 13 online events on offer. From workshops, masterclasses and readings to poetry events, author interviews and discussions with some of the country’s foremost writers. A not to be missed weekend for writers and readers alike.

Highlights include an interview with Sara Baume who will talk about her first non-fiction title – an exploration of productivity and what it means to be an artist. Brian Conaghan will chat about his latest YA title The M Word, an unforgettable novel about grief and healing. An interview with award-winning writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa will see her discuss her stunning debut prose ‘A Ghost in the Throat’. Colm Keegan will premiere ‘This is Waterford’, a  vibrant and contemporary literary work. There will be a performance with Felicia Olusanya, Leke Ogunde and Samuel Yakura. In a free online event, Ambassador of Ireland to the US Dan Mulhall will host a Desert Island poetry reading. Two of Ireland’s finest playwrights and directors Jim Nolan and Jimmy Murphy will chat writing, process and legacy. Poet Mark Roper will host a beginners poetry workshop plus lots more. All online event links will be shared at


Booze Blaas & Banter


‘Booze, Blaas and Banter’ event celebrating the City’s Quayside and maritime heritage will also offer lots of interesting chats and craic with Journalist, broadcaster author and filmmaker Catherine Foley, National Heritage Officer of An Taisce Ian Lumley, Poet Dave Lordan, Author, broadcaster and local historian
 Andrew Doherty, Writer and historian Paul O’Brien, award-winning historian
 Jack Burtchill and more. 

Support the arts and join in the fun online this October in Waterford from the 16h to 25th – by visiting

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