THE doors to the Keep at Trim Castle will be opened for the Trim Festival of Masks over the Hallowe`en bank holiday weekend.
This is the first time that permission has been granted to stage events like these within the confines of this historic national landmark.
During the festival, the 12th century ruin will play host to story-tellers, actors and musicians. They will bring theatre and music to life in this wonderfully atmospheric site. Audiences of all ages will be invited into the magical surrounds of the Keep over the Hallowe`en period to take part in this celebration of masks, costume and disguise at a time synonymous with mystery and folklore.
Ember Productions have staged performances in the past at a number of historic sites. Most recently they staged the beautiful Frozen Music in St Mary`s Abbey in Dublin with Geraldine Plunkett and Geaspar Warfield (cello). There will be a second chance to see this magical production when it is staged in Trim Castle.
Other events in the castle will include Running Beast (Donal O`Kelly); Spirits, where young audiences can hear various artists tell ghost stories based on myth and our ancient folklore; and Crux, one of Ireland`s foremost choral groups.
The festival is an Arts and Tourism Initiative which sets forth a framework for an annual festival for Trim and its environs. It is the brain child of Ember Productions, specialists in innovative theatrical concepts which are inspired by the landscape. Along with Ember Productions the original drivers behind the festival are Trim & District Chamber of Commerce and four local hotels, Trim Castle Hotel, Knightsbrook Hotel & Golf Resort, Castle Arch Hotel and Bellinter House).
Meanwhile, a feeling of Venice in the majestic 1800s will be brought to the Knightsbrook Hotel on Sunday, 28th October, with a masquerade ball, the centerpiece of the festival. Tickets, at €125, are available from the festival office at Market Street, Trim, (046) 948 1878.
Features of the ball include candlelight, an orchestra, gourmet cuisine, champagne, masks, gowns and glamour. Music and entertainment will be provided by the burlesque cabaret performers of The Tassel Club.
Dance cards will be a novel feature of the ball. Colm Ó Foghlú of Ember Productions explains that dance cards became popular at balls in the early 19th century. "They were a way for the ladies to keep track of the gentleman to whom she had promised dances in the course of the evening," he said. "We will provide dance cards at the ball in order to evoke a more authentic feeling of the period and to add a bit of historical flavour and fun."
A music theatre piece to mark the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls will be performed on the 24th and 25th October at 7.30pm in Trim Castle by Running Beast. With music by Michael Holohan and text by Donal O`Kelly, this promises to be a very special evening. Based on Hugh O`Neill, Earl of Tyrone (1550-1616), the production will be performed in Teatro Municipal Sao Luiz Lisbon before it opens in Trim.
Running Beast is performed by award-winning actor/writer Donal O`Kelly (Catalpa, Vive La, The Cambria) to music by award-winning composer Michael Holohan for uillean pipes, string quartet, double bass, harpsichord and percussion.