Irish agency launches U.S. arts fest

Imagine Ireland runs all year, around the country

The Irish government has ponied up $5.2 million for a multi-discipline Irish arts festival that will run all year and include events around the U.S.

Called Imagine Ireland, the initiative comes from Irish government agency Culture Ireland. Film, legit, dance, literature, visual arts and music are encompassed in the fest.

Among the larger-scale offerings are Gerald Barry’s new opera version of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” bowing at the L.A. Philharmonic, as well as the upcoming Brooklyn Academy of Music run of “John Gabriel Borkman” from Dublin’s Abbey Theater and starring Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan.

An Irish film retrospective curated by Gabriel Byrne will run at Gotham’s Museum of Modern Art, while the New York Public Library is set to participate with perfs, events and an exhibition. Irish film fests will be held in cities including Boston, Chicago, L.A. and Washington, D.C.

Also on the docket is the Druid Theater Company’s production of “The Silver Tassie,” set to play this summer as part of the Lincoln Center Festival, and a stint for Irish Modern Dance Theater at LaMaMa in New York. Scribes involved in lit events include Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Frank McGuinness and Anne Enright.

Byrne and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn were on hand to announce the event Friday.

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