May sees the return of the annual Bealtaine festival, a month-long national celebration of the arts and creativity as a life-long journey, from Age & Opportunity. The festival turns 23 this year but shows no signs of slowing down, with its most ambitious programme of events yet showcasing the very best of Ireland’s older artists in theatre, literature, visual arts, dance, and music.
This year, there’s a very special exploration of intimacy, sex and sexuality in and by older age groups with Everybody Sings (Smock Alley, May 15 and 16), a new Bealtaine commission from Shaun Dunne, the actor and playwright behind the 2017 hit show about living with HIV, Rapids. The piece draws from a series of interviews and workshops Dunne did with men and women ranging in age from 50 to 82.
“I was interested in making this work because I feel like love and sexuality when you’re 50-plus can feel like something of a no-go area,” Dunne says. “I think the primary myth would be that you stop engaging with that side of yourself completely once your hair goes white. Of course, your body changes and you might not care about the same things you did when you were 16, but physical intimacy, new love, and romance are very much alive and well within the hearts and minds of the participants who were interviewed for the project.”
For the show, Dunne is working with film photographer Luca Truffarelli, with Denis Clohessy on composition.
“The piece is about making insight and perspective on these subjects present in a stylised format,” Dunne explains. “The project has many layers; there’s a fiction and abstract documentary strand within the film element and also a live theatre component. It’s definitely my most ambitious project.”
Elsewhere in Bealtaine there’s a joining of generations in a creative dance and play project for children aged between 5 and 10 and their grandparents, in A Life of Play, in partnership with the Dublin Dance Festival; and Bealtaine@Temple Bar, an exciting new leg of the festival, with a series of arts and cultural events running across Temple Bar’s cultural quarter. Events include outdoor film and photographic screenings, indoor and outdoor workshops, live music, pop-up operas, choral singing and much more. We’re particularly excited about an extravagant catwalk down memory lane in ‘Ageless Style – The Way We Wore’, an exploration of women’s style from the 1840s to the present day.
Bealtaine Festival is nationwide for the month of May, for full schedule of events visit