Noeline Kavanagh steps down after 14 years heading Macnas

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Galway Daily arts Noeline Kavanagh steps down after 14 years heading Macnas
Noeline Kavanagh. Photo Credit: Martina Regan

Noeline Kavanagh, Artistic Director of Macnas, is stepping down after 14 years at the helm of the beloved organisation.

Kavanagh is stepping down from her role with Macnas in order to focus on her own artistic practice, and Johnny O’Reilly will take over the post of Artistic Director.

She said that it been an honour and a privilege to direct the artistic work of Macnas for all those years.

“I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with all the artists, communities, participants, volunteers and colleagues during my time.”

“I am delighted that Macnas will continue to evolve and innovate as guardians of the unpredictable,” Kavanagh said.

Since Noeline joined the company Macnas has thrived under her creative direction, growing its reputation as a pioneer of invention and a leader in spectacle art, nationally and internationally.

Noeline’s unique creative talent and extraordinary vision propelled the development of the art form, with Macnas creating and delivering immersive spectacle parades and large-scale site-specific shows.

The pandemic also saw the company bring it’s epic storytelling to  film for the very first time.

Noeline spearheaded the company’s collaboration with local and international freelance artists, designers, performers, musicians and makers, establishing ongoing creative and community relationships, pushing boundaries and pioneering new forms in spectacle, transforming any site into a stage, to thrill audiences young and old.

“I wish Noeline success and every good wish in the next stage of her career” said O’Reilly. “ I congratulate her on her visionary work and contribution to Macnas over the past 14 years.”

“Macnas is now at an exciting time in its evolution; we are building upon established national and international partnerships whilst reimagining the future of the company and the continued delivery of a dynamic programme of outdoor spectacle”.

Macnas’ plans for 2023 include the long-awaited return of the signature Macnas Parade which will be back on the streets of Galway and Dublin at Halloween.

As always, this will involve an extraordinary team of artists, community participants and volunteers, supported by the company’s existing exceptional core team.

Noeline Kavanagh with Con Mor at Fisheries Field. Photo Credit: Emilija Jefremova

The company is delighted to announce that their latest creation – CON MÓR, the Giant will embark on a series of visits around the country, with more info coming soon.

This extraordinary 7 metre high x 4.5 metre wide ancient Giant recently attracted over 40,000 visitors when he “emerged” at Macnas HQ in Fisheries Field over Halloween weekend.

Macnas will also deliver a community parade in Ballina for 200 participants which will form the heart of a yearlong celebration of Ballina’s 300 year history.

The company will continue to honour the storied Macnas legacy, established by Noeline and her predecessors, by continuing to pioneer new approaches to large scale outdoor and community celebrations.

Macnas will continue working with the world’s foremost spectacle artists, while nurturing the next generation of artists through our year round education and public participation programme.