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ISACS at Fira Tárrega 2016 – Gràcies per tot!
For the first year ISACS held a stand in the professional hall of La Llotja, where organisations, companies and artists come to showcase their work and have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with others. This was an excellent platform to promote ISACS as a collective Irish voice to an international market place and included a special Irish focus on the Saturday where we had the occasion to introduce our diverse network of members to an eager audience and talk about all the exciting developments happening on our Irish shores. After a welcome introduction from ISACS chairperson, Aidan Phelan, followed by an enlivened presentation by Lucy Medlycott, the gathering crowd was treated to some delicious Irish tasters of smoked salmon, brown bread and a friendly drop of Jameson for good measure!
We were delighted also to be joined by a number of Irish artists whom were the recipients of Culture Ireland's open call for bursaries; to travel to, and experience Fira Tárrega first hand. The chosen delegates were: Aidan Phelan, Réalta Prods, Orlagh de Bhaldraithe, Macnas, Con Horgan, Fanzini Productions, Guillaume Cousson, Riuchi, Will Flanagan, PassePartout Circus. In addition we were joined by Mike Leahy from Spraoi, Kath Gorman from Cork Midsummer Festival, Kim McCafferty from the National Circus Festival Ireland and Ulla Hokkanen from Galway Community Circus which made for a very impressive Irish presence!
A very special thank you must go out to Culture Ireland whose generous support both of ISACS and it's members is significantly helping to push the focus of our sectors to a wider international audience. There is a clear and definite interest in what is happening in Ireland with many international professionals and networks eager to learn more about our artists, our festivals and looking to develop contacts for future projects that would see a growing focus on Irish artists on an international platform.
With such an extensive catalogue of shows and performances, it is impossible to choose a highlight however we especially enjoyed the Lunch Meeting on the Friday afternoon, set in the cool shade of a beautiful courtyard with an array of local foods on offer. The Lunch Meeting has become a unique exchange platform for international professionals and Catalan companies at Fira Tárrega. Organised by the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies through Creative Catalonia, the event aims at creating an informal discussion platform to exchange ideas, pitch and discuss current projects with peers attending the fair. It is very inspiring to see how these type of well structured yet informal events help to boost the confidence and profile of young and emerging companies.
Fira Tárrega is something very special; where one small Catalonian town transforms into an explosive and daring 3 day fiesta with streets and squares packed with festival goers of all ages, hungry to be part of such a dynamic and varied programme that seamlessly combines circus, street arts, dance, installations, music, theatre and even food for an immersive experience that stays with you long after the streets have cleared and the drums have ceased. Throughout the 3 days there was a very strong sense of 'the collective' with many shows incorporating a participatory theme that nicely blurred the divisions of performer and spectator, leaving the engaging impression of how the audience is as much a part of a festival as the acts themselves.
The organisation, programming and multiple staging of such an event is remarkable and a huge thank you and respect must go out to all the incredible staff and volunteers of FiraTárrega and to the townspeople of Tárrega for their generosity in hosting such a spectacular and memorable festival that ultimately highlights the endless possibilities and surprises of the collective creative spirit! Gràcies per tot Tárrega, esperem amb ganes de tornar! Thank you for everything Tárrega, we look forward to our return!
Our thanks once again to Culture Ireland again for supporting the Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle and to the Irish Arts Council for their continued support of ISACS work.