Interview With Leah Hearne and Eszter Némethi of Quarter Arts Festival

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-4-17

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A group of driven young individuals who formed from the ensemble that was created for the 2009 Cork Midsummer Festival’s ‘F*** My Life’ seized the opportunity of continuing to create theatre, live art and discussion and created the ‘Makeshift Ensemble’. In the last year they have curated 3 Quarter Festivals, which are considered ‘mini arts festivals’, that have fuelled discussion, performance and artistic interaction; Leah Hearne and Eszter Némethi, two of the coordinators of the Quarter Festival, spoke with Ronan Leonard ahead of the May instalment of the series.

Eszter explained the very foundation of the festival, “Quarter is multi-disciplinary mini festival that happens every three months at the TDC, which is the Theatre Development Centre in The Triskel Arts Centre. It is funded by “Youth In Action” which is a programme run by the European Commission.”

She went on to give a background on the purpose of the festival, “Quarter is primarily a performing art festival so we try to have a mixture of events like music, theatre, performance art, dance but we also have tried to include other art forms like film and visual art.”

Eszter laid out the plans for the forthcoming Quarter, “amongst the performers we have throughout the weekend, we shall have the brilliant ‘Some Flood’ by Devious Theatre Company; the violinist Cora Venus Lunny who putting on a performance in collaboration with the Association of Irish Composers; and the film-comedy trio ‘Derrynane Robot Club’.

The Quarter Festival has already had a positive development as Eszter continued, “we are very excited that for the first time we will have a second day curated by our ‘Future Producers’ with a Symposium on professional development in the arts, and a big final party with ‘Elastic Sleep’.”

Eszter was pleased to point out that the idea of ‘Quarter’ itself is open to feedback, “we are also doing a thing called ‘Quarter 360’ on Saturday at 2pm where we will talk about Quarter and our plans for the future but mainly where everyone can tell us what they think of it or how they might like to be involved.”

While these events are clearly connected to the arts Leah and Eszter also feel they represent a wider connection to Ireland and it’s development, Leah explained why they keep these events as accessible as possible, “I think events like this are extremely important for audiences. We don’t charge in to Quarter (although we do encourage donations), and I think that’s really important as it makes it open to anyone; people can experience things they otherwise might not bother paying in to and find that they really like it. The artistic and cultural life of a place is what makes it special and what makes people want to visit there/move there/continue living here, which is all obviously very important to Ireland’s development.”

Eszter continued on the same point, “small events like these can create alternative economies for the sharing of resources and for starting conversations. I think this resourcefulness and inclusive atmosphere is good for the arts, the community and along that line for Ireland.”

The same concept of sharing ideals and working methods continues into the festival’s participants, as Eszter continued, “we try to help our collaborators find common ground and also to find new audiences or the other way round for audiences to discover other disciplines. Both are important to us, we want the artists presenting work and attending to start talking, seeing and maybe working together but similarly we want the audience to start a conversation and to be surprised.”

Leah continued on that point and put in context with why Quarter is not just aimed at a Cork audience, “it is Cork based in that the events take place in Cork but we make a conscious effort to make sure we always have artists in the programme from across the country as I think it is vital keep a conversation with those places and introduce artists to one another, and show audiences used to Cork artists what is happening nationally. Next year we also hope to introduce a more international element as we hope to partner with small festivals in Europe and see how we might be able to cooperate in the presentation of work”

Quarter will take place in the TDC at Triskel arts Centre on 4 & 5 May with more information at www.facebook.com/quartercork

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