Culture Night Late is Back!
But what does it mean for audiences?
Like many industries, the creative sector was hit hard by the lockdowns of 2020-2021, particularly spaces that opened in the evening. However even before the pandemic Ireland’s late-night cultural landscape was struggling. To help existing arts and cultural spaces open their doors to new late night activity The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media introduced The Night Time Economy Support Scheme in 2022. Based on research carried out by the Night Time Economy Taskforce, the scheme provides financial support to social and cultural spaces across Ireland, in order to encourage the development of diverse late-night events. These events can include comedy shows, live music, DJ sets, theatre, and a host of others.
Culture Night Late, a funding award offered by the Arts Council in partnership with The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media was introduced last year. Thanks to the fund, Culture Night now presents an increasingly diverse and inclusive night time program, inviting audience members to experience late night in their area in new and exciting ways.
Ireland’s nationhood is synonymous with its creativity; it is through our engagement with the arts, and events such as Culture Night, that we have and continue to make sense of our cultural identity. The arts provide us with a mirror and a means of understanding ourselves and the times we live in.
Since its inception in 2006 Culture Night has championed inclusivity and diversity, by offering the public the opportunity to attend arts & cultural events free of charge. As a community we are becoming increasingly aware of the need to create greater accessibility and an equal ability to participate in arts and cultural events. Culture Night Late aims to create, facilitate and improve access for both artists and audience members with disabilities. Another key point identified by the government under the Night Time Economy Support Scheme is the necessity to develop a late-night landscape that extends beyond pubs and spaces serving alcohol. There is the potential for many more of our community, no matter what their ability, age or preferences, to enjoy Ireland’s villages, towns and cities by night, all it takes is a little creativity.
What do Culture Night Late and the Night Time Economy Support Scheme mean for our communities?
- Inclusion and the meeting of diverse needs: Culture Night Late and the Night Time Economy Support Scheme place a strong emphasis on inclusion and meeting diverse needs. This means creating and supporting spaces that welcome audience members regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity or religion. As President Michael D. Higgins has said, art is about sharing and connecting. Culture Night Late is conscious of this and the venues involved in the late night program make every effort to create safe, accessible and communal spaces, where lovers of culture and the arts from all backgrounds can come together to share their experience.
- New possibilities for socialising: Culture Night Late offers a new way to experience night time in Ireland’s urban hubs. So, for the night-birds and adventurers among us, check out the Culture Night Late program (culturenight.ie/events/), as one of the leading mass-events in Irish arts and culture, it will give you a taste of what is possible in the future.
- Spaces will be used in new and creative ways: One of the few positive aspects of the pandemic was that it demonstrated the potential ways in which outdoor spaces could be used. In Galway the West End was pedestrianised, giving the impression (when it wasn’t raining!) of Spain or France, where terrace culture is common. The curation of a space is a creative act in itself; from immersive theatre to installation, the creative possibility of space is endless. Be prepared for spaces to transform and to experience art in a myriad of unusual locations.
The Culture Night Late fund offers artists the opportunity to create a different kind of night-time experience for their audiences. With an array of arts centres and spaces opening their doors for free, it is the perfect opportunity to engage with late-night in your city, town or village in a new and imaginative way. Whether that be enjoying some of Ireland’s most exciting music acts at Ballina’s Sound on Site, or dancing the night away to Italo Disco at The BIG SING and PING PONG Disco in Carlow, there is a magic to late night cultural experiences that belongs to everyone. Some other events to look forward to in the Culture Night Late programme include An Taibhdhearc’s Gaeltacht na Todhchaí a pop-up Gaeltacht on Galway’s Middle Street, and Candy’s Sweet as Circus Cabaret at Cork’s Marina Market.
Culture Night Late gives a free taste of what the Night Time Economy Support Scheme will champion in the future. Try something different this year, by inviting your imagination to be piqued in the dark. With 19 late night events part of the Night Time Economy scheme and many more late night events happening throughout the country, there is something to suit a range of ages, abilities and tastes. It really is ‘One Night for All’. So grab a blanket, a flask or simply enter a space as you’ve never experienced it before; the events are free, and the artists are waiting.
Check out the full Culture Night Late program at: (www.culturenight.ie/events/).