West Cork Fit-up Festival celebrates tenth anniversary

Posted on: 2nd July, 2018

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

In 2009 Artistic Director Geoff Gould and Company Manager Jessica Finken set off around West Cork in an old Renault 19 with the actress Joan Sheehy and four stage lamps and commenced a journey that would result in the revival of an old theatre tradition, the fit-ups.

Since then, with the excellent support of Arts Officer, Ian McDonagh of Cork County Council and more recently The Arts Council, Gould’s theatre company Blood in the Alley has presented and staged 42 productions of mostly new plays in 16 different locations in West Cork. The Festival has seen audience figures grow from 400 in that first summer to almost 2500 people in 2017 with an even bigger turnout expected this year for what is considered one of the cultural gems of West Cork.

Over the ten years of the Festival audiences have watched plays by The Abbey, Rough Magic, Fishamble, English Theatre Berlin and Blood in the Alley’s own productions. Audience favourites include Pat Kinevane’s Olivier award winning ‘Silent’, Sonya Kelly’s ‘Wheelchair on my Face’, Donal O’Kelly’s ‘Catalpa’, John Sheehy’s ‘Fred and Alice’ and the classic ‘Under Milk Wood’.

This year’s programme is of the same high quality as previous years and the festival opens on Whiddy Island on Tuesday, July 17 with Noni Stapleton’s Stewart Parker award-winning comedy Charolais. Mary Murray, well known to Love/Hate fans performs her one woman show ‘No Smoke Without Fire’ from July 24-29 and playwright/actor Seamus O’Rourke makes his first visit to the Festival with his new play ‘From Under The Bed’. Mikel Murfi will perform his highly acclaimed production of 0’The Man in the Woman’s Shoes’ from Aug 5-Aug 8 and the Festival finishes with The All-Ireland One Act champions Palace Players presenting Malachy McKenna’s poignant and comic play ‘The Quiet Land’ from August 9-12. This year the Festival is presenting PigNuts magical Flea Circus on Sherkin, Bere Island and Ballydehob from July 27-29.

Further information on venues, dates, ferries and prices can be found on the Festival website www.fit-uptheatrefestival.com. If you have never attended a fit-up show before give yourself a summer treat and head for a venue near you this summer.


West Cork People has a pair of tickets to give away to EACH sof the shows listed. All you have to do is email your name, preferred show, address and phone number with ‘Fit-Up competition’ in the subject line to info@westcorkpeople.ie. Entries must be in by Tuesday July 10.



Whiddy Island 17.7.18

Kilcrohan 18.7.18

Glengarriff 19.7.18

Sherken Island 20.7.18

Bere Island 21.7.18

Ballydehob 22.7.18

Mary Murray

Heir Island 24.7.18

Kilcrohan 25.7.18

Glengarriff 26.7.18

Sherken Island 27.7.18

Bere Island 28.7.18

Ballydehob 29.7.18

From under the bed

Heir Island 31.7.18

Kilcrohan 1.8.18

Whiddy Island 2.8.18

Sherken Island 3.8.18

Bere Island 4.8.18

Ballydehob 5.8.18

The man in the womans shoes

Kilcrohane 5.8.18

Whiddy Island 6.8.18

Ballydehob 8.8.18

The Quiet Land

Timoleague 9.8.18

Whiddy Island 10.8.18

Bere Island 11.8.18

Ballydehob 12.8.18


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