The National Celtic Festival

The National Celtic Festival

The National Celtic Festival

Easily customize your share description with the Shindig theme!

Theatre – Words – Story

Not just a great music festival, but a great festival of theatre, words and story!

Australia’s premier Celtic festival brings a full program of theatre across the long weekend. Don’t miss out on a great line up of theatre, readings, forums, masterclasses, and storytelling — all part of the unique, National Celtic Festival experience.

Here is what’s on offer over the weekend:


All that Fall

by Samuel Beckett

 Presented by Vessel

 National Celtic Festival Portarlington June 2017


Carole Patullo

Georgina Capper

Liam Amor

Ben Adams

Jim Lawson

Directed by Jim Lawson

An outstanding cast undertake Beckett’s radio play, All that Fall, under the direction of Vessel’s Creative Director Jim Lawson.

Lawson is a long time student of Samuel Beckett, having developed a new work for the stage, a Momentary Pause in the life of Mr. B based on Beckett’s autobiography by Dierdre Baird, while Artistic Director at Monash University Student Theatre with then student Georgina Capper – now an accomplished and multi talented actor of national standing and a member of this outstanding cast.

He also studied at the National Academy of Dramatic Art, The Lir, Trinity College, Dublin in 2013 and attended the Happy Days Festival, Enniskillen. The World Beckett Festival held in the town where Beckett attended Portora School. Inspired by this festival and with permission from the Samuel Beckett estate, & in conjunction with the National Celtic Festival Portarlington, he brings you All that Fall.

 Recent productions of All That Fall have explored a range of interpretations. worldwide. The most recent to visit our shores was by Irish company Pan Pan have toured the world including the Sydney Festival in 2014 using recorded voices.

This production will use live actors to give voice to the complex characters drawn from Beckett’s younger life in the outer Dublin ‘suburb’ of Foxrock in what has been described as a murder/mystery filled with graveyard wit and heart wrenching pathos.

The audience are separated from the voices only by a sheer scrim on which plays light, image and shadow. In the darkness the voices tell a tragic tale only finally illuminated in the last few lines.




History meets art in the exquisite songs of The Good Girl Song Project. This year, Penny Larkins and Helen Begley are proud to launch their new CD. The work is a powerful account of the journeys that these brave young women voluntarily took to Australia in the 1830’s. With new songs by Helen and spoken word devised from eyewitness accounts, Penny shines as the voice of these ancestral female emigrants.

A house of storytelling and story swapping!

Upstairs at the Grand Hotel, in cozy lounge storytellers will gather to share their passion for the spoken word. The Rambling House will be open across the weekend and will be hosted by our festival masters of poetry, language, theatre, and story.

Actor Workshop


Join a forum where artists, performing at this year’s, gather to discuss and share their insights and inspirations from their diverse backgrounds and experiences. Jim Lawson, from Vessel Theatre, will host the forum, inviting us to delve into some of the themes emerging in the works performed over the weekend.


Join the Trail of Celtic Tales and travel across the festival site visiting specially marked story telling spaces where you will be enchanted by Celtic legends for children. Renowned children’s storyteller, Jenny Tonzing, will bring these magical stories to life through costume, musicians and props and a touch of mystery! The Trail of Celtic Tales will be conducted across the weekend.

Actors Happy

Niki Na Meadhra

Niki na Meadhra embodies the storyteller, in a warm, captivating and sometimes electrifying style. On her recent tour of Ireland, which included several storytelling festivals and shows in Cork and Dublin, the local seanchais claimed her as one of their own! She invites you to be transported to ancient Ireland and the lands of the Other People, to immerse yourself in tales of heroes, crones, tricksters and maidens. Expect hyperbole, extravagance and wonderment! Niki will be performing across the weekend, in the Rambling House and across the festival site!



Festival Director Una McAlinden will host In Conversation with Feis Rois from the Scottish Highlands, along with musical composer Adam Sutherland and Marc Clements.  This year three young performers from Feis Rois joined young Australian folk musicians to collaborate, create and perform an original piece of music at this year’s festival. Come and listen to what inspires these young people and their mentors to create music in the traditions of their homeland.

Sunday  12 noon     Club Room

The spirit of the House of Song is about encouraging people to sing traditional songs in their many forms. Generally speaking, the focus will be on unaccompanied singing. It is not a stage performance, but rather the House of Song is a place for sharing songs and singing, or you may prefer to join in with other singers or simply listen. The House of Song invites all to experience the tradition of singing and to appreciate traditional song. Scots singer Fiona Ross will host the House of Song.

Sunday    8:00pm     Upstairs @ Grand


It’s one of those enduring Celtic traditions: a rollicking session is in full swing when a lone voice pierces through the wall of sound. “Hush, hush” a few say, and many repeat until all instruments fall silent and only the unaccompanied vocalist remains. This reverent “hush” for the singer is a tradition we at the festival pay homage to each year with the annual ‘Hugh for the Singers’ Concert.

Sun    9:30 pm     Wine Bar