May Event Guide: Musicals, festivals, and live shows galore — here’s what’s happening this month
From live podcasts and musicals to festivals of jazz, theatre, literature and wellness, here’s what’s happening around Ireland this May.
Ballydehob Jazz Festival
28 April – 1 May, West Cork, Ireland
Since 2007, the Ballydehob Jazz Festival has grown in size and stature. Shortlisted for best West Cork Festival in 2019, each May Bank Holiday weekend the village hosts over 40 live music and dance performances that range from big name concerts to small workshops; from lively pub gigs to intimate sideshows and a healthy dose of fringe attractions to compliment. More information here.
Galway Theatre Festival
28 April – 6 May, Galway city
Galway Theatre Festival draws on the West of Ireland’s unique theatrical heritage, and is dedicated to platforming and developing independent theatre and performance. The festival spans a week of exciting and unique independent theatre, circus, spectacle, and storytelling, showcasing and celebrating the vibrant performance, creativity and culture of Galway.
Heathers the Musical
Until 6 May, Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Following two smash hit West End seasons, a record-breaking run at The Other Palace and winning the WhatsOnStage award for best new musical, Heathers the Musical is back at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. A black comedy rock musical based on the eponymous 1988 film, the story follows Westerberg High’s Veronica Sawyer dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers and her dreams of popularity may finally come true, mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody.
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
1-14 May, various venues across Dublin city
Marking 20 years of theatre for everybody this May, the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is a celebration of love, diversity, and creativity that brings together some of the best LGBTQ+ theatre talents from around the world. Creating new opportunities for visibility and affirmation for existing and emerging gay artists and theatrical works, the festival includes works by gay writers, works that have a gay relevance or theme, or works that include either performance or another artistic contribution by gay people.
The Shawshank Redemption
1-13 May, The Gaiety Theatre
Despite protests of his innocence, Andy Dufresne is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murders of his wife and her lover. Incarcerated in the notorious Shawshank facility, he quickly learns that no one can survive alone. Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things start to take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched… More information here.
Junk Kouture Dublin City Final 2023
4 May, 3Arena, Dublin
Powered by RTÉ, the Junk Kouture Dublin Final will see 80 design teams from post-primary schools across Ireland model haute-couture designs made entirely from recycled materials and battle it out for one of ten places up for grabs to represent Ireland at the Junk Kouture World Final. It’s set to be a night of creativity, performance and talent, and guests are asked to don sustainable outfits for the night that’s in it.
Darkness into Light
6 May, across Ireland
Darkness Into Light 2023, proudly supported by Electric Ireland, will take place at 4:15am on the morning of Saturday May 6 2023. There are lots of ways to get involved. You can take part in a Darkness Into Light event. You can do Darkness Into Light in your Own Way with your family, friends and colleagues in your local area. Or, you can also take on a Darkness Into Light Challenge by walking, running, jogging or swimming and fundraising for Pieta.
6-7 May, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin
Ireland’s largest outdoor health & wellness festival, WellFest is gearing up for a jam-packed weekend of all things health, fitness and wellness. They’ve even got an app, through which you’ll gain full access to everything you need to know about the festival, from daily timetables to highlighting sessions you want to miss. From Afro-Twerk to Danceathon to yoga, pilates and Zumba, there’ll also be food demos, talks and discussions.
The Calm Companion @ The Woollen Mills
7 May, The Woollen Mills, Dublin
Join a small group in a private room in The Woollen Mills for a? three-course Sunday lunch with a side of connection and inspiration. After a welcome glass of Prosecco, you’ll have an opportunity to connect and enjoy a meal based on intuitive eating practices of satisfaction, self-care, connection and mindfulness. This is for you if you’re looking for a welcoming and fun in-person experience, an opportunity to meet new people, and learn about intuitive eating (eating for enjoyment and without guilt).
If These Wigs Could Talk by Panti Bliss
14 May, Vicar Street, 17-18 May, The MAC Belfast, 26 May-10 June, Soho Theatre, London
Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss is hitting the road with her smash-hit comedy If These Wigs Could Talk, which sees Panti at 54, after a lifetime of accidental activism, far-fetched shenanigans and making a full time show of herself, now taking a moment to question what her purpose and place in this changing world is. Expect salacious stories, impassioned polemics, and some seriously funny soul searching as Panti takes us from rural Mayo to London’s glittering West End to the Irish Ambassador’s residence in Vienna, where along the way the answer to her existential question presents itself where she least expects it.
Menopause the Musical 2
16-20 May, The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
Starring X Factor’s Mary Byrne, Copycats’ Jessica Martin, Casualty’s Rebecca Wheatley and Susie Fenwick of West End fame, Menopause the Musical 2 – Cruising Through Menopause is a hilarious sequel which sees our leading ladies fast forward five years to catch up with tales of their lives, loves and losses as they set off on the high seas. Hot flushes, mood swings, memory lapses and weight gain, this production provides a funny, heartfelt and reassuring look at the “joys” of menopause.
Cliché by PJ Kirby
19 May, Vicar Street
The one and only PJ Kirby of I’m Grand Mam podcast fame looks back at his twenties through the lens of a movie and comes to terms with the fact that for his entire life, he was basically a walking Cliché. “Warning this show contains a gay man having an identity crisis as he turns thirty. You may experience extreme eye rolling.”
International Literature Festival Dublin
19-28 May, Merrion Square Park, Dublin
Since 1998, the International Literature Festival Dublin has brought the world’s finest writers together to enthral, engage and excite audiences. In readings, conversations, debates, screenings, guided walks, events, podcasts and broadcasts, we’re proud to celebrate the very best Irish and international fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, lyricists, playwrights and screenwriters. Irish language writing and emerging talent are always supported, and new voices championed through commissions and public initiatives.
The Curtis Cabaret: A Night at the Movies
26 May, The Sugar Club, Dublin
The cast of The Curtis Cabaret will be performing songs from the movies, going right back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, through the decades and right up to the movies hitting our screens today. Get ready for a night of laughs, tears, smiles, references, surprises, but hopefully no slaps to the face.
Rock Against Homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland
26 May, 3Olympia Theatre
Rock Against Homelessness returns again this May for its eighth year, in aid of Focus Ireland, headlined and curated by Lyra and featuring Aimée, Toshin, Pastiche, Bobbi Arlo, Jack O’Rourke with MayKay and Isaac Butler with MC Laura Whitmore. It’s always a great night, in aid of a brilliant cause at a time when homelessness is at a new record total of 11,988 people in emergency homeless accommodation. Get your tickets now here.
27 May – 5 June, Ennis
An exciting and innovative festival full to the brim with concerts, ceilis, sessions, CD launches, recitals, Sean-Nós dancing and street entertainment, Fleadh Nua has grown from a weekend occasion to a 10-day festival with more than 120 events. Created to bring traditional Irish artforms together, the success of this winning formula is evidenced by the visitors who flock to Ennis in their thousands year upon year.
Listowel Writers’ Week
31 May – 4 June, Listowel, Kerry
Ireland’s oldest Literary and Arts Festival, Listowel Writers’ Week brings together writers, artists and poets to promote the writing of all genres and create an environment where literature can be appreciated by the widest possible audience. Celebrating the written word, this festival was founded in 1970 to foster new and exciting talent and to give aspiring writers wings.