Following on from the huge success of the “In Humbert’s Footsteps Festival” 2014, Ballina Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina Arts Centre, Mayo County Council and MayoNorth.ie, will showcase the inaugural French Ballina Festival from the 22nd to the 23rd of August, when a little taste of France will come to the North Mayo Capital. The weekend will highlight Franco-Irish cultural and historical connections, including the 1798 rebellion, through film, theatre, music and the physical transformation of some of Ballina’s streets and venues.
The official opening of the festival will take place in the Jackie Clarke Collection on Friday the 21st of August. Visitors from Ballina’s French Twin town, Athis Mons, will plant a tree to mark their visit to the town.
On Saturday the Military Barracks will be transformed into a live open-air carnival venue featuring a special live enactment of ‘Beyond the Barricade’, traditional Breton music and the renowned accordion and fiddle player Sharon Shannon and band. This outdoor event promises to be ‘a night to remember’ with remarkable music and arresting drama on display from both local and international groups.
On Sunday the Jackie Clarke Collection, the historical centre of the French Ballina Festival 2015, will host a self-guided, 1798 exhibition, displaying documents not on show in the collection until now. Outdoors, Pearse Street and Walsh Street will be visually transformed into a typical, French boulevard and market, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine while savouring an Irish or French delicacy.
In the week leading up to the French Ballina Festival weekend, Ballina Arts Centre will set the tone with La Belle et la Bête: The Beautiful & the Beastly in French Cinema, a four-day celebration of French cinema. Ballina Arts Centre will also host a workshop in ‘Mime & Movement’ for teenagers, exploring a particularly French form of theatre, under the guidance of theatre professional Sandra O’Malley, who studied under the tuition of Corinne Soum and Steve Wasson in France.