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First Fortnight 2023

Riverbank Arts Centre is delighted to partner with First Fortnight festival once again to bring you a programme of arts events and activities. Now in its 14th year, First Fortnight is an arts-based mental health charity that organises a festival at the beginning of the year, aimed at raising awareness of mental health and challenging stigma. Riverbank Arts Centre has presented a programme in collaboration with First Fortnight since 2015. This year’s programme includes:

THEATRE: Riverbank Arts Centre Presents Pure Mental by Keith Walsh & Janet Moran

Friday 13th & Saturday 14th January, 8pm

Following a 16-venue tour in 2021, Pure Mental returns to Riverbank Arts Centre for two special performances, as part of First Fortnight Festival.

Each performance will be followed by a Q&A session with Keith Walsh and a special guest.

Book Here


VISUAL ART: Freedom of Choice

McKenna Gallery

Saturday 7 January – Saturday  28 January

Admission Free

In 2022 artist Clodagh Kelly led an artist residence programme at Riverbank Arts Centre, supported by the Kildare County Council Arts Service First Fortnight Award, in partnership with First Fortnight. Women of diverse ages, arts experiences and social backgrounds participated in the residency which resulted in Freedom of Choice – a body of work which gives a glimpse into these women’s lives.

There will be a Panel Discussion & Creative Response Workshop on Thurs 19th January.

More details>>>


VISUAL ART: A Daily Cloud by Chris Judge

Children’s Gallery

Thursday 12 January – Saturday 18 March

Admission Free

A Daily Cloud is an interactive exhibition created by artist Chris Judge, based on his online cloud drawings. Chris started making the cloud drawings during the first Covid-19 lockdown in the Summer of 2020.

This exhibition will include Chris’s original Cloud prints, images from Cloud Babies his new book with Eoin Colfer (Walker Books) and a response area for you to create your own cloud drawings – we’re very excited about this part, like the sky itself every time you enter the Children’s Gallery it will look different!

More details>>>

WORKSHOP: Mark Making with Martina McDonald

Monday 16th January, 7pm

Tickets €10

Join visual artist Martina McDonald for an evening of mark making. In the workshop, you will be encouraged to create a mess with art materials! The practice of mark making is simple, fun and often calming. Martina will guide you through a range of ways to create different marks and textures on paper. These elements can then be collaged together, or simply to just created for the fun of it. Zero experience necessary, curiosity is encouraged.

Book Here


PREVIEW: Lakelands followed by Q&A

Saturday 21 January, 8pm

Tickets €7 (early bird) / €9 (on door)

Lakelands is the debut feature from Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney whose short film Drifting, starring the BAFTA-winning Paul Mescal, premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh last year to critical acclaim. After an attack on a night out, a young Gaelic footballer, Cian, struggles to comes to terms with a career-ending injury. Lakelands follows him as he undertakes a search for his own identity in a small town in the midlands, where Gaelic football is a religion and identity is defined by what you can do on the pitch.

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First Fortnight Family Day, Saturday 21 January

WORKSHOP: The Ballad of Freaked Out Freddy – Storytelling with Paul Timoney


The Ballad Of Freaked Out Freddy begins with a little story about a normally, happy-go-lucky lad named
Freddy who gets some rather spiky thoughts from time. He tries a couple of tricks to smooth out those spiky thoughts, but it’s not always easy to come up with ways to do so by oneself, so it might be handy if twenty or so children, aged between 7 to 10, would come along and give Freddy a hand. This performance/workshop will use methods derived from therapeutic storytelling and story making to address feelings using metaphor in ways that are creative, playful, empowering and fun.

Book Here




Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney & Pixar’s Onward
introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on
an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little
magic left out there.

Book Here


First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. For more information about First Fortnight see their website