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The John F Kennedy Center to host Irish Arts Festival in 2016

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announces a three-Week International Festival of Theater, Music, Dance, Literature and more. The Kennedy Center will host an open playwriting challenge & selected plays will be staged as readings during Festival from May 17 to June 5, 2016. 

The Kennedy Center

Over the course of three weeks in venues throughout the building, the Kennedy Center presents Ireland 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture, a major festival highlighting Irish culture and its relationship to America. The festival includes dozens of performances from some of Ireland’s best contemporary musicians, dancers, theater companies, and more. Tara Erraught and Anthony Kearns, Fiona Shaw, and Enda Walsh are among the artists scheduled to participate. The festival also includes film screenings, culinary events, and three weeks of free performances on the Millennium Stage. In addition, the festival will highlight Irish literature, regarded for its strength and quality throughout the world, with a series of panel discussions featuring more than 20 authors, playwrights, and poets.

Ireland 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture coincides with a larger global celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The events of that year have inspired a number of artists, including poet William Butler Yeats and countless others.

The John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts is America’s national cultural center as well as a living memorial to President Kennedy. He was the most well-known Irish-American President and the first sitting American President to visit Ireland. The festival will take place at the Kennedy Center from May 17 to June 5, 2016.

“Ireland is a nation of storytellers and we have a long history of presenting many of the great stories and work of Irish artists,” said Alicia Adams, Kennedy Center Vice President for International Programming and Dance. “We look forward to presenting the best of Irish arts and culture as we celebrate with Ireland a remarkable journey of the creative arts and expression.”

Ambassador Anne Anderson, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Kennedy Center on this exciting festival to commemorate Ireland’s 100 year journey from the 1916 Rising and the early days of independence to today. This centenary will have particular resonance in the United States. Five of the seven signatories to the 1916 Proclamation spent periods of time in the U.S. that significantly influenced their thinking and actions. The U.S. is the only foreign country specifically mentioned in the Proclamation; it has the greatest concentration of our diaspora; and the contemporary ties are of extraordinary depth and breadth. This festival will give us an opportunity to express our gratitude for the support that the U.S. has provided to Ireland throughout the last century, and, we hope, will help to renew and strengthen the bonds of friendship into the future.”

See the full list of festival programming.

Visit the Kennedy Center website for more information about the festival and to purchase tickets.