CualaNYC: New York City's First Annual Festival of Irish Culture Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising and New Yorkers' Role in the Revolt Starts April 19

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Two-Month Festival Features Theater, Dance and Musical Performances and Poetry Readings and Discussions at Dozens of Venues across NYC April 19 -- June 2, 2016

CualaNYC, a first-ever annual festival showcasing Irish culture and identity with dozens of musical, theatrical and dance performances at major cultural institutions and other venues across New York City, will open April 19 and run through June 2. The festival commemorates the centenary of the six-day 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, a pivotal moment in modern Irish history that led to Ireland’s independence, and highlights the role of New Yorkers in the rebellion.

CualaNYC (pronounced Coo-lah) takes its name from an ancient roadway to the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of Irish kings and home of Irish harp and Ireland’s bardic tradition. All of the CualaNYC events have been curated to engage audiences with Irish culture and heritage, as well as with contemporary Ireland. Highlights of the festival include: a Yeats play on the beaches of Coney Island and the Rockaways; an evening of Irish poetry at Cooper Union; Irish poetry readings for passengers on New York Waterway’s East River ferries; The People Speak: Ireland at The New School; a screening of The Cohens and the Kellys at the Museum of Jewish Heritage; and concerts at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, among other events.

“CualaNYC is a grand celebration of Irish heritage unlike any previously produced in New York,” said the festival’s founder and director Susan McKeown, a Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter and composer who is both a Dubliner and New Yorker. “Ireland is known throughout the world for its creative output, and the festival offers a rare opportunity to burnish that reputation and put to rest the negative stereotypes that have been associated with the Irish.”

Several of the 1916 Easter Rising leaders had strong ties to New York City, including James Connolly, who ran the International Workers of the World office on Cooper Square. After Connolly’s execution on May 12, 1916, 20,000 New Yorkers protested outside Carnegie Hall. The following evening, Victor Herbert, the Dublin-born composer, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and founder the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, led an evening of music and speeches.

CualaNYC is sponsored by the New York City Council, Culture Ireland, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council Northern Ireland in partnership with the American Irish Historical Society, An Béal Bocht Café, Cooper Union, the Emerald Isle Immigration Center Film Fleadh Foundation, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, the Irish Arts Center, Irish Business Organization, The Knockdown Center, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York Waterway, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Poetry Society of America, Poet’s House, the New York Irish Center, The New School, The Theatre Upstairs, Tourism Ireland, the Irish Film Institute, the CUNY Institute for Irish American Studies, the W.B. Yeats Society of New York and New York New Belfast.

For more information about CualaNYC, visit http://www.cualanyc.com. An event schedule follows below.

Event Schedule (English translations of Irish words are parenthesized):

April 19 – 6:15pm to 7:30pm
Women’s Shebeen (Informal gathering)
Heyman Center of the Humanities, Columbia University             
74 Morningside Drive, Manhattan
Noted Irish women writers, storytellers, musicians and academics gather to share stories, songs, poems and discoveries.    

April 20 – 8pm to 10pm            
Screening of The Cohens and the Kellys
Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, Manhattan
Classic 1926 silent film about an Irish and Jewish family,
with live music from klezmer and Irish musicians featuring music directors Frank London and Dana Lyn
$15 or $12 for members and students with ID

April 21– 9pm        
Little Green Cars
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, Manhattan
The band performs as part of the touring their new             
album Ephemera (SOLD OUT)

April 22 – 7:30pm
A Screening of The 1916 Rising
New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Ave., Long Island             
A documentary about the rebellion narrated by Liam             
Neeson. $25 for adults, $15 for children, students,             
seniors and unemployed

April 25-26 – 8pm:        
Hairy Jaysus
New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Ave., Long Island City
American premiere of actor and playwright Donal O’Kelly’s solo play about pacifist, feminist and socialist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, best friend of James Joyce, who lived in Long Island City in the fall of 1915.

April 27 – 8pm:        
Hairy Jaysus
An Béal Bocht Café, 445 W. 238th Street, Bronx
Actor and playwright Donal O’Kelly’s solo play about pacifist, feminist and socialist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, best friend of James Joyce, who lived in Long Island City in the fall of 1915.

April 28 – 8pm:        
Hairy Jaysus
The Theatre Upstairs at the Route 66 Smokehouse
46 Stone Street, Manhattan
Actor and playwright Donal O’Kelly’s solo play about pacifist, feminist and socialist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, best friend of James Joyce, who lived in Long Island City in the fall of 1915.

April 29 – 8pm:        
Poets and Patriots: The Easter Rising 1916
The Cooper Union, 30 Cooper Sq., Manhattan
Ireland’s Easter Rising was led by a group that included many poets. Their work and that of other Irish and American poets is celebrated in this evening.

April 30 – 12-3pm:        
Dánta (poems)
NY Waterway’s East River Ferry
Actors, poets and musicians read poetry to passengers on the East River ferry line    

April 30 – 3-6pm:        
New York – Ireland 1916 Ceiliúradh (Celebration)
Knockdown Center, 52-19 Flushing Ave., Maspeth
Susan McKeown, Mick McAuley, the Solas An Lae dancers and other performers headline the celebration

April 30 – 8pm:                
Ailliliú Fionnuala
An Béal Bocht Café, 445 W. 238th Street, Bronx
A play about the impact of a gas project in western Mayo

May 1 – 12-3pm:        
Dánta (Irish Poetry)
NY Waterway East River Ferry
Actors, poets and musicians read poetry to passengers on the East River ferry line

May 3 – 6:15pm:        
Teanga Shebeen (Irish language informal gathering)
Heyman Center of the Humanities, Columbia University
74 Morningside Drive, Manhattan
An evening of poetry, talks and music in the Irish language with live translation.

May 4 – 7pm:        
Leabhar na hAthghabhála/Poems of Repossession: A Reading of Modern Irish Poetry
Kray Hall, Poet’s House, 10 River Terrace, Manhattan
Launch of the first comprehensive anthology of modern Irish poetry with English translations, featuring the book's editor, Irish poet Louis de Paor, and guest poets from Ireland and New York.

May 5 – 8pm:        
An Evening of Poetry with John Montague
American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Ave., Manhattan
One of Ireland’s best-known poets and writers, born in Brooklyn, reads a selection of poems

May 7 – 3pm:        
On Baile’s Strand, play by William Butler Yeats
First performed on the beach of Coney Island in County Sligo, the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company is bringing this play about Irish hero Cúchulainn
Rockaway Beach.

May 8 – 3pm:        
On Baile’s Strand, play by William Butler Yeats
First performed on the beach of Coney Island in County Sligo, the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company is bringing this play about Irish hero Cúchulainn to Coney Island, Brooklyn.

May 12 – 7pm:        
James Connolly’s New York
The Cooper Union, 30 Cooper Sq., Manhattan
Historians, musicians and others gather to celebrate the vision of one of the leaders of the Irish revolt against British rule who spoke at Cooper Union in 1902. Connolly’s words later influenced John Lennon.

May 13 – 8pm:        
Victor Herbert’s Ireland: Music of the Emerald Isle
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College of Criminal Justice,
524 W. 59th St., Manhattan
A special tribute to New York Philharmonic conductor and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers founder Victor Herbert and his legacy with a performance by the 70-piece Grand Street Band.

May 14 – 7pm:    “
Musical”: Victor Herbert: Nationalism and Music Expression
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, LPA Café
40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan
NYU professor Marion Casey explores Herbert's relationship to nationalism and the ways in which he expressed that musically.

May 16 – 7pm:    
The People Speak: Ireland
The Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
The New School, 66 West 12th St., Manhattan
The People Speak: Ireland will bring to life, through words and song, the dramatic history of political struggle and protest in Ireland and beyond, from its earliest history to the present day. Featuring Geoffrey Arend, Griffin Dunne, Lisa Dwan, Steve Earle, Ivan Goff, Geraldine Hughes, Brian Jones, Susan McKeown, Mercedes Ruehl, Williams Rossa Cole, Amber Tamblyn, Old Hannah, and other special guests.

May 18 – 8pm:        
Walking on Cars and Old Hannah
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. Sixth Street, Brooklyn
Live performance from Kerry band Walking On Cars and Old Hannah from Sligo. $18 in advance; $20 at the door

May 19 – 4pm:        
James Connolly’s Speaker’s Corner
Soapbox at Union Square, Manhattan
Union Pipers commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary James Connolly at the site of his 1908 May Day address

May 19 – 6:30pm:        
An Evening of New York and Irish History
American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Ave., Manhattan
American and Irish academics recall New York City and Ireland’s shared history.

May 20 – 8pm:        
Songlives: Luan Parle with Mickey Coleman
Donaghy Theatre, Irish Arts Center, 553 W. 51st St., Manhattan
The performers take the stage as part of CualaNYC director Susan McKeown’s “SongLives,” a production featuring some of Ireland and North America’s most exciting contemporary singer/songwriters who bring Dublin’s Grafton Street busking to the world. $18 general admission, $14 members

May 20 – 8pm:    
Alice Milligan: A Girl of Genius by Susannah McKenna
The Theatre Upstairs at the Route 66 Smokehouse
46 Stone St., Manhtattan
The story of northern Irish poet and journalist Alice Milligan, whose newspaper The Shan Van Vocht had an office at 195 Broadway, comes to life in this production from Belfast's Aisling Ghéar Theatre Company.

May 21 – 8pm:    
Alice Milligan: A Girl of Genius by Susannah McKenna
An Béal Bocht Café, 445 W. 238th Street, Bronx
The story of northern Irish poet and journalist Alice Milligan, whose newspaper The Shan Van Vocht had an office at 195 Broadway, comes to life in this production from Belfast's Aisling Ghéar Theatre Company.

May 21–6pm:    
Queer Ireland on Film – Craic LGBT Fest
Irish Arts Center, 553 W. 51st St., Manhattan
Enjoy some of the best of LGBT short films with some of the filmmakers in attendance as part of the annual Craic (fun) LGBT Fest

May 23 – 2pm and 8pm:        
Alice Milligan: A Girl of Genius, by Susannah McKenna
New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Ave., Long Island City
The story of northern Irish poet and journalist Alice Milligan, whose newspaper The Shan Van Vocht had an office at 195 Broadway, comes to life in this production from Belfast's Aisling Ghéar Theatre Company. $25 for adults, $15 for children, students, seniors and unemployed

May 24 – 8pm:         
Two Sore Legs
The Theatre Upstairs at the Route 66 Smokehouse
46 Stone Street, Manhattan
The story of the mother of playwright and former republican prisoner Brenda Murphy in this Green Shoot Productions performance from Belfast

May 25 – 8pm:        
Two Sore Legs
An Béal Bocht Café, 445 W. 238th Street, Bronx
The story of the mother of playwright and former Irish republican prisoner Brenda Murphy in this Green Shoot Productions performance from Belfast

May 26 – 2pm and 8pm:        
Two Sore Legs
New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Ave., Long Island City
The story of the mother of playwright and former republican prisoner Brenda Murphy in this Green Shoot Productions performance from Belfast $25 for adults, $15 for children, students, seniors and unemployed

May 26 – 8:30pm:        
Deargdhúil: Anatomy of Passion
American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Ave., Manhattan
American premiere of Paula Kehoe’s documentary on the life of one of Ireland’s foremost Irish language poets Máire Mhac an tSaoi. With English subtitles

May 28 – 7pm:        
Newgrange Festival
Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City
New York Irish Center’s Dawn Chorus will lead the audience in song followed by a performance of Irish folk music against the backdrop of a sun setting across the East River in Midtown during Manhattanhenge

June 2 –7pm to 8:15pm        
Belfast Shebeen (Informal gathering)
Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus
113 W. 60th Street, Manhattan
Presented as part of the 7th annual New York-New Belfast Conference to highlight the ties between NYC and Belfast.

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