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This Summer’s All-Island Performing Arts Conference Program

Theatre Forum and TheatreNI look forward to welcoming you to this summer’s all-island performing arts conference in Wexford. Come along to the National Opera House and meet friends and colleagues, old and new, and think about how to reframe boundaries and move beyond borders.

The program is as follows;

Wednesday 12 June

Wexford Opera House  

From 11.00  Registration

Screening of short films Borderlands and Unfinished Revolution, directed by Oisín Kearney

11.30  Welcome – New Frontiers

Keynote address: On the edge of Europe with our confidence in the soft power of cultural diplomacy dented, how will culture re-connect and connect us across city, county, new country and continental borders to imagine new frontiers?

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council

Afterwards, in conversation with Ása Richardsdóttir, Secretary General, IETM

12.45    Electric car test drives available throughout the afternoon.

Lunch – all menus will include with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices.

14.00  Valuing artists as well as the arts – a three-part conversation about how important it is to value artists as well as the arts.

  • Valuing artists – Artists examine the fault lines in their working world 
  • Valuing artists – Making arts workplaces work for artists
  • Valuing artists – Paying artists accordingly


15.30  Open Forum – Discussion on the how to value artists, what needs to be done to improve employment conditions and increase work opportunities in the performing arts?

Panel of speakers joined by Irish Equity, Equity in Northern Ireland and NCFA guests.

16.00   Break

16.15  Valuing and developing audiences

Audiences have come to expect personalized marketing communications, more intense experiences and social activism from their chosen brands.

Heather Maitland, audience development expert, leads this conversation with marketeers to find out how successes from other sectors could be applied to arts marketing.

17.30    Close

Evening Program

18.00   Performance in the National Opera House

19.00   Reception hosted by Wexford Arts Office

20.00    Dinner in Clayton White’s Hotel

22.00-late  Cáca Milis Cabaret, a little post-modern vaudeville, in Wexford Arts Centre


Thursday 13 June


Wexford Arts Centre

9.30   Venues, arts centers and festivals get together to talk about topics of particular interest to arts organisations

Climate change! Discussion led by Catríona Fallon and Claire Murray.

10.15  Venues Review

The County and City Management Association (CCMA) and the Arts Council commissioned a joint study of arts centres/venues in Ireland in Autumn 2018. That Review has concluded and its Commissioners are considering  recommendations. Hear more from the Arts Council about its strategy and plans to develop the national arts infrastructure.


National Opera House

9.30    Backstage tours, coffee and networking
An opportunity for delegates to talk informally with speakers and guests.

11.15   Break

11.30   Networks across borders – The role of local and international networks in sustaining artists’ careers.

Think of the word ‘networking’ and you might grimace. And yet to prolong the life of a show, develop the widest audience possible while diversifying income, creating a strong local, national and international network is probably the most important action an artist or producer can take outside of the studio or rehearsal room.

Led by Róise Goan, this panel discussion looks at the opportunities, challenges and outcomes experienced by artists and organisations in creating and maintaining networks.

 12.45   Lunch

 13.45   Blurring boundaries

How boundaries, real or imagined, stage and screen, music and dance, theatre and opera, virtual and real, the art and the audience, are blurred all to the good for the art, artists and audiences.

Session curated by Tom Creed.

 14.45  Re-framing our borders – What if?

In 2018 Fishamble: The New Play Company set out to find one, big, ambitious play, bursting with humanity and tackling a subject about which the playwright feels passionate, capturing the zeitgeist of the country, demanding to be produced – A PLAY FOR IRELAND. Fishamble found all this in THE ALTERNATIV,E by Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney.

Closing address: Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney talk about their play for Ireland and some questions it poses. What if Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom? What if Home Rule had passed? What if there was no War of Independence? No Civil War? No partition? What if the island had only one soccer team?

15.15  Closing remarks

15.30  Close.