CORK COUNTY – Demi Isaac Oviawe
Demi Isaac Oviawe is a Nigerian born actress who moved to Mallow, Co.Cork at age two. She is best known for her role ‘Linda’ in the BCC hit television show The Young Offenders and for her dancing moves in the Ardmore Studio production of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
“Encouraged by my parents, as a child I was always fascinated by acting. Running through the house I would practice a variety of accents, gestures and movements that I picked up from movies and people in my community. I attended both primary and secondary school in Mallow, Co.Cork. It was there that I was first introduced to acting on a stage. Like many children growing up in Ireland, I received my first role when I was four years old, playing the third wise man in my school nativity play.
From that point, any opportunity I had to act I went for it. I became involved in school plays and choirs. In secondary school, my proudest moment was playing the role of Doloris in Sister Act. I know how important acting was in my development. The arts offer so much to young people. They offer expression, inclusion, and the opportunity to learn. Because of my experience in the Arts, I am very honoured and proud to be the Culture Night Ambassador for Cork County. I aim to highlight the vital role that the arts provide to young people’s development through-out Ireland.”
WICKLOW – Eamon Sweeney
Eamon Sweeney teaches and performs extensively. He is passionate about providing music in community settings and is co-director of Alchemy Music – an organisation that supports multi-disciplinary arts events, school projects, music and health projects, and recitals in County Wicklow.
“I am honoured to be the Culture Night Ambassador for County Wicklow 2019. Culture Night is such a wonderful innovation – providing access and opportunities for people to experience such a wide variety of art forms free of charge. I’m proud that Ireland supports such an initiative. Viva Culture Night!”
WEXFORD – Laura Way
Laura Way is an award winning writer/director. Laura is active locally as the co-ordinator of the Wexford Screen Writers Professional Development Programme which helps create opportunities for local talent and fund short films developed through the programme.
“At four years old in 1982, my parents, Michael and Irene Way introduced me to the magic of theatre and arts in Wexford Town as two of the founding members of the Wexford Theatre Workshop. Wexford has a thriving arts scene with talented artists, musicians, actors and writers but what I learned most from them is that Art and culture is inclusive not exclusive. It is for everyone. Culture Night is an opportunity to share, unite and celebrate all art forms, all artists and all cultures and I am honored to have been invited to be this years culture night ambassador of Wexford”.
SLIGO – Mabel Chah
Cameroonian-born singer and songwriter Mabel Chah has been living in Sligo since 2013. Actively involved in an array of Arts and Community projects, including Sligo Global Kitchen, Mabel was presented with the Sligo County Council Arts & Culture Cathaoirleach Award in 2017.
“All my life all I have really wanted to do is sing and perform. It makes so many things ok for me and I love how happy I make my audience (even if only for a minute) I love my community, I love my fans, I love my family, I love my God. I am delighted to be Sligo’s Culture Night Ambassador for 2019.”
ROSCOMMON – Melissa Newman
Melissa Newman is the Director of the Strokestown Poetry Festival. Melissa is a Forester who was brought up in Dublin, and moved to Strokestown with her husband and two daughters eighteen years ago. She lived in New Zealand for six years where she completed a Masters in Women’s Studies.
“I am interested in what makes a community tick, and see poetry as a way of connecting different strands of society. I believe that poetry gives us an opportunity to explore and express ideas that we might not normally talk about, and in the process helps us to understand ourselves and our connections to others and the wider world.”
LAOIS – Glory Anumudu
Glory Anumudu a young spoken word artist from Portlaoise. Glory writes about many topics such as racism, sexism lgbti+ rights and youth. Performance include Open Mic events, Spoken Word Events, Dunamaise Arts Centre, and prestigious events including Electric Picnic, and the Places Matter Conference.
“It is a great honour, as a young artist dedicated to representing the often unheard cultural and artistic voices of Laois, to be invited to be the Laois Culture Night Ambassador. I am excited to take part in the 2019 programme and look forward to the increasing inclusivity and diversity emerging at cultural events in Laois throughout the coming years.”
KILDARE – Margaret Becker
Margaret Becker is a stained – glass artist and printmaker. She joined the Graphic Studio in 1973 and uses etchings, monoprints and lithographs to complement her stained – glass work. She has worked with Patrick Pye and Patrick Pollen and she founded the Leinster Printmaking Studio in Clane in 1998.
“It was a great honour to be invited to be Kildare’s Culture Night Ambassador this year. Although I have been immersed in the arts scene in Kildare for many years, I’m sure there is a lot more to discover and I will use this role to do so. I have a keen interest in passing on knowledge and skills to budding artists and I am pleased to see so many events in the Culture Night programme that will appeal to all ages. Hoping to see you along the way!”
KERRY – David Geaney
A native of Dingle, David Geaney has had a meteoric rise to stardom. A 5 times World Champion, David was also the winner of TG4’s An Jig Gig,Kerry’s Got Talent and a semi finalist on Britain’s Got Talent, and is now a much sought after performer with a growing international reputation.
“After being previously involved in Culture Night as an artist, I’m delighted to support represent this year’s event as Culture Night Ambassador. Also, as a Kerryman, I’m particularly proud to help raise the profile of Kerry arts and culture. Kerry is an amazing place to live, work and visit and I’m thrilled to be able to help encourage people to experience the diverse arts, cultural activities and heritage links throughout the community.”
DONEGAL – Annemarie Ní Churreáin
Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from Cloich Cheann Fhaola in northwest Donegal. Her publications include Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) and Town (The Salvage Press, 2018). Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude Germany, Jack Kerouac House Florida and Hawthorn.
“As a Culture Night Ambassador I’m delighted to help celebrate the wild spirit of Donegal. It’s a wildness that extends far beyond physical landscape, and shapes the unique language, creativity and stories of Donegal people”.
CAVAN – Joe Keenan
Joe Keenan is an art curator and event organiser from Cavan, a founding member of trans-art Cavan and one of the artistic directors of Townhall Art Space Cavan, director/curator of Bluewall gallery Cavan from 2009 – 2012 and co-producer of Blue Valentines who produced Cafe Sessions Cavan 2008-2016.
“Cavan artists have blossomed over the past 10 years. The cross collaboration of art forms and the generosity of artists to share their talents has been responsible for some of the most exciting art, theatre, music, video, film and spectacle making in the country. Cavan Culture Night will bring together all the art forms in a single night of sheer joy. Plus it’s all free.”
CARLOW – Jo Mangan
Jo has been the Director and CEO of Carlow Arts Festival since 2016. She is also Artistic Director of the production company she co-founded The Performance Corporation. She has served on many boards, including from 2015-18 as Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts.
“Culture Night is an extraordinary night on the calendar around the country. In an ideal world for me it would be Culture Night every night – along with having arts news alongside sports news on the hour on every radio channel! I long for a time when we do not have to defend investment in the arts, when it is broadly understood that involvement in and engagement with the arts has a massive positive impact on everyone.
With my company The Performance Corporation I have presented work in theatres, in a polytunnel on our local community farm and in the beautiful Castletown House, and since my time leading Carlow Arts Festival we have opened our doors to connect artists with each other on the night. ”
AN GHAELTACHT – Róisín Seoighe
Mol an Óige agus tiocfaidh sí! Connemara Native Róisín Seoighe, an up and coming singer songwriter and sean-nós dancer, flies the Culture flag as Gaeltacht Culture Night Ambassador for 2019.
“Is mór an onóir dhom a bheith mar ambasadóir na Gaeltachta don Oíche Chultúir 2019. Mar ealaíontóir a rugadh sa nGaeltacht, is rud í an Ghaeilge a bhí agus atá i gcónaí mar chuid lárnach do mo shaol agus mo chuid ceoil. Tá grá mór agam don chultúir, don cheol agus an traidisiún Gaelach agus is iontach an rud é gur féidir liom na rudaí seo atá chomh tábhachtach domsa a cheiliúradh mar ambasadóir do Oíche Cultúir 2019.”
KILDARE, Eric Donovan
Eric Donovan s an Irish boxer from Athy, County Kildare. His achievements include five Irish Elite titles and a bronze medal at the 2010 European Championships in Moscow, since turning professional he became the first boxer to win the BUI Celtic title inside five fights.
Inni-K (Eithne Ní Chatháin) grew up in Kilcock, Co. Kildare & now lives in Dublin. Her mesmerizing vocals set off with tight musicianship and captivating stage presence creates a musical experience, rich with spine-tingling tenderness.
Inni-K, a now well established presence in Irish music, has received consistent praise for her distinct, fresh style of indie-folk since the release of her acclaimed debut album The King has Two Horse’s Ears’ in 2015 & most recently her new single ‘Edges’ released earlier this year.
“An album designed to make the world a better place, even if just for a moment in time” – State Magazine
Inni-K’s folk background is always recognizable but clearly here is an artist not afraid to explore into new musical territories. Following a summer of Irish festivals, including Body & Soul, Another Love Story, Earagail Arts Festival, Arcadian Fields; with New York, European & Irish dates in the pipeline for later in the year and 2019; Inni-K is busy preparing for her next album which is due for release in 2019.
WEXFORD, Richard Carr
“Wexford is a county that treasures its communities, welcomes its visitors and celebrates diversity. This years Culture Night will be a showcase of this on a national stage.
With such a wide array of high quality events, opening up free of charge to the public, Wexfords’ Culture Night is going to be absolutely fantastic. At the heart of every cultural landscape should and must be a focus on its artists / cultural practitioners and Wexford is beginning to lead in this field.”
Since returning home to Wexford Richard has been invested in making Co. Wexford a livable destination for artists and cultural practitioners and through his work with OpenGorey has been extremely active in developing the cultural landscape of the county. Wexford has fantastic cultural facilities and its resources have continued to grow over the past few years.
“I believe it is possible to live and work as an artist outside of the cultural capitals and Wexford as a region can lead in this regard. Industry, culture and communities thrive when in each others company, working in a collaborative fashion by opening up and sharing resources and knowledge.”
Richard has proved himself as one of Ireland’s leading young artists. His recent solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art London was selected by Culture Ireland to feature as part of its national GB18 programme. Towards the development of this exhibition he was also awarded the ArtLinks Bursary Award for professional artists living in the South East.
WATERFORD, Anna Jordan
The Waterford Ambassador is Anna Jordan. Anna was born and bred a publican’s daughter in Waterford. She is the proud and doting single mother of three.
Anna is a playwright and the founder and director of Modwords and Modwordsfest. Founded in 2016, Modwords is a literary hub in Waterford. It is a safe platform for people to test new works, plays, spoken word, dance, film and all things creative. Anna facilitates creative writing classes, modword classes, and regular open mics, and cafe theatre. Anna founded Modwordsfest in 2017. A two day festival that celebrates Waterford City and all of its wonderful people through local creativy.
She also works as a freelance literary facilitator concentrating on mental health issues. Anna is a team member of Waterford Walls, the international street art festival based in Waterford. She also volunteers with Shine Discovery mental health drop- in centre and is co-founder of Busk Aid, a charity organisation helping to raise raise money and awareness of issues surrounding homelessness.
This is Anna’s second year on board with Culture Night Waterford and absolutely honoured to stand as this years Ambassador.
TIPPERARY, Roseanna Purcell
To celebrate Culture Night 2018, Tipperary Arts Office has appointed Roseanna Purcell as Culture Night Ambassador. An actor and writer from Littleton, Thurles, Roseanna’s work includes Signatories at Kilmainham Gaol, Red Rock for TV3 and most recently Copper Face Jacks The Musical at The Olympia Theatre. She wrote her first play “Test Copy” in 2017 which premiered at Nenagh Arts Centre. Roseanna will return to Nenagh Arts Centre on Culture Night as Tipperary Culture Night Ambassador to launch the specially commissioned Culture Night exhibition “The Journey” by artist Carine Arnakis.
ROSCOMMON, Deirdre O’Gara
Deirdre is Curator of the Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre in Portahard, Frenchpark, Co Roscommon.
LAOIS, Emmet Byrne
Emmet started acting at 21 in the Drama Society in NUI, Galway and completed a MA in Drama and Theatre in 2012. He moved to Dublin to pursue a career and since has acted on stages around Ireland including: The Lime Tree in Limerick, Town Hall Theatre in Galway, The Abbey, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and The Gaiety in Dublin, and The Royal Opera House in Belfast. Most recently he starred as Sean Bourke in Cell Mates at The Hampstead Theatre, London. He also recently starred in RTÉ’s Striking Out as Ray Lamont.
KERRY, Gemma Sugrue
She is the director of a vocal tuition centre, Voiceworks Studio, which she co founded in 2011 and now has 2 branches in Cork and 1 in Kerry, run by a team of 14 diverse and inspiring vocal coaches training singers of all ages, levels and styles.
Gemma is classically trained and holds a 1st class hons MA and BMus from CIT Cork School of Music. She hosts masterclasses in Ireland and UK in schools and colleges including BIMM Manchester, BIMM Dublin, UCC and UL and festivals including Cork Choral Festival, Gospel Rising, Summer Sing, Sing Out Loud and more! Gemma completed her contemporary teaching diploma last year and is thrilled to be a board member at ViP, a global network of voice experts.
Gemma got her first job as a professional vocalist aged 17 when she toured Australia and Europe for 2 years with various Irish dance show companies. She most recently featured as the soloist with Jenny Greene and the RTE Concert Orchestra, recreating 90s dance classics at Electric Picnic and sold out shows at the 3 Arena Dublin, The Marquee Cork and Galway Arts Festival. Gemma is currently planning to release her own material in 2018 but loves working as a hired vocalist for TV, radio and events. She has performed as a backing vocalist with artists including Bon Iver, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Mark Feehily of Westlife, Brian Deady, Jack O’Rourke and has supported acts including Chic and Billy Ocean.
CORK COUNTY, Nora Twomey
Nora Twomey is an Irish animator, director, screenwriter, producer and voice actress.
CARLOW, Turlough O’Brien
“I spent my entire life immersed in GAA culture. In my book, ‘South Leinster Cycle Routes’ I visit and celebrate many of the heritage sites of County Carlow and the importance of our sense of place and who we are. We are Carlow.
Culture takes so many forms, each of them enriching our lives. Irish culture finds its expression in our songs, our dance, our story tellers, our poets and our artists. It is what makes us Irish.
The artists I am most familiar with are those who play our native games. Our games are unique and nothing engenders greater pride in me, as an Irishman, than to be present on match days as our camán wielders and footballers display their silken skills while they compete with pride in the place they come from and the people they represent.
On a musical front, I never cease to be amazed by the work of my wife Mary and her choir ASPIRO as they push out the boundaries of performance and collaboration with other art forms.”