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Irish Festival a good investment says Irish Consul

The second performance of the Abbey Theatre’s Terminus at the Paramount Theatre confirmed to Ireland’s Consul General in Boston, Michael Lonergan, that an effort to spread the culture of Ireland across America is off to a promising start.

“We’re very proud of the Abbey Theatre; it’s one of the things that sets us apart as a culture,” Lonergan said. “The Irish Festival here at ArtsEmerson has worked so well that it has vindicated our decision to do it.”

Continuing through February 13, the Irish Festival based on the Emerson College campus encompasses three major performances, movies, readings, and opportunities for students to meet and work with crew and cast members in formal and informal settings. Much of the festival is supported by an Irish government program called Imagine Ireland. The program is funding 400 events in 40 states this year.

Irish Consul

Enjoying a VIP party after a performance of Terminus at the Paramount Theatre were Ireland's Consul General Michael Lonergan, Terminus playwright Mark O'Rowe, actor Declan Conlon, actress Olwen Fouere, Director of Public Affairs and Development for Abbey Theatre Oonagh Desire, Head of Risk for State Street Global Advisors Jacques Longerstaey, Emerson College Executive Director for the Arts Robert Orchard, and actress Catherine Walker.

The consulate helped spread the word about the festival to Boston’s Irish community, bringing in groups like the Irish Network Boston to see the performance and enjoy an after-show VIP party at the Paramount.

“Work like we saw tonight isn’t being written anywhere else,” said Eugene Downes, CEO of the nonprofit Culture Ireland. “The elements of language, poetic force, and spellbinding performances are something for all of us to have been a part of tonight.”

The festival is just the opening act for ArtsEmerson, the new organization that is charged with bringing cutting-edge theater to Emerson College and the Boston community, as well as incubating new works.

“The Irish Festival here at ArtsEmerson has worked so well that it has vindicated our decision to do it.”

ArtsEmerson’s Executive Director for the Arts Robert Orchard said his organization is filling a void in Boston’s cultural scene by offering provocative works such as Terminus. “We have new theaters here and we’re charged with bringing to Boston work that would otherwise never see the light of day here. It’s important to me to be adding to the cultural choices in the community.”

thumbnail photo caption: Gathered at a VIP reception following a performance of Terminus at the Paramount Theatre were Irish Consul General Michael Lonergan, Terminus playwright Mark O’Rowe, and Culture Ireland CEO Eugene Downes.