Regional Cultural Centre’s iconic building in Letterkenny
The Regional Cultural Centre (RCC) in Letterkenny is one a number of great cultural and leisure facilities developed by Donegal County Council. It is operated as part of the council’s Cultural Services that also includes libraries, museum, archives and the arts office.
The building has attracted some very positive media attention since it opened in 2007. The distinctive glass and aluminium structure designed by Letterkenny based MacGabhann Architects won best building in the Irish Opus Architecture and Construction Awards 2008 and according to the Irish Times: “Letterkenny’s impressive new arts building places Donegal in an international context rather than on the periphery”.
According to RCC Director Shaun Hannigan the RCC has tried to organise a quality programme of activities suitable for all ages in the centre itself and around County Donegal, for the past eight years.
Shaun Hannigan, Director at RCC
“This includes free year-round art exhibitions, music concerts, film screenings and community and educational events.”
He is keen to point out that it is very dependent on a wide range of partners in order to be able to deliver these activities.
“It ranges from financial support from the Arts Council and Donegal County Council to project partners within Donegal County Council and with other arts, community and public organisations like An Grianán Theatre, Earagail Arts Festival, Music Education Partnership, Glebe Gallary, An Gailearaí and The Nerve Centre.”
Art exhibitions are one of the main parts of the programme and Shaun says that he is delighted that they are fortunate to have one of the best art galleries in Ireland in the RCC.
“We have been able to put on some major exhibitions over recent years including summer shows as part of the Earagail Arts Festival like Victor Vasarely in 2008, Hungarian Art in 2009, Contemporary Art of the Donegal Diaspora in 2013 and Patrick Scott last year.
“We have also commissioned exhibitions on social issues like Sharing Stories an IFI funded cross-border film project, Local People a PEACE III funded art and social history exhibition and Lived Lost Lives an art project on youth suicide in Ireland.
“We’ve also done a lot of educational exhibitions, the annual Suil na nOg Junior Cert Art with Donegal Art Teachers Association, the LyIT Graduate Show and Contemporary Art for Children to name a few,” said Shaun.
Music is another key part of the RCC’s work. Donegal Music Education Partnership is based in the building and both organisations work closely together.
“Again we’re fortunate that the RCC is one of the finest small music venues in the country and works well as both a 140-seater and as a 220 standing venue. We organise 20-30 high quality traditional, world, jazz, classical and indie music concerts each year and we have been lucky enough to feature some of the biggest names in folk and roots music from around the world,” he said.
The RCC has a very busy and varied programme in the coming weeks and months.
“We are all flat out for the next while. On the music front we have the second annual experimental music festival Distorted Perspectives from April 30 to May 3, Friday’s headliner is Ulrich Schnauss from Germany and Moon Duo from the USA top the bill on Saturday. We are delighted to have two of the world’s finest female artists visit in May, the multi-award winning Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis on Wednesday 6th and country singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier on Friday 15th. Upcoming exhibitions include a new installation by Richard Noble from April 30 – May 1, the first Remote Photo Festival directed by Paul McGuckien from April 30 to May 23, and Still, We Work in partnership with National Women’s Council of Ireland from May 12 – 23.”
Gaelic Singer Julie Fowlis performing at the RCC in May
And if that was not enough there are a couple of upcoming festivals.
“Two of our big annual events are coming up, the18th annual Bealtaine Festival for Older People that we organise with the County Library and other partners will be held throughout the month of May and the Earagail Arts Festival will be from July 10-26 this year with the inaugural Donegal Folk & Roots Festival taking place over the first weekend”.
For further information on Regional Cultural Centre events see www.regionalculturalcentre.com