First Fortnight at An Grianán

Black and white photo of indie-rock band The Ephades sitting on a sofa in a white studio.

The annual First Fortnight festival returns this January and this year we have three events happening here at An Grianán. The popular mental health and the arts variety concert is back on Thursday 11 January and will feature a mixture of informative and inspiring talks and interviews as well as live music. On Friday 12 January Gemma Walker-Farren presents her one woman theatre show Ghosts while on Sat 13 January we enter a world of glitz, whimsy, and pure joy with Xnthony’s Big Gay Ball.

About First Fortnight

First Fortnight Festival is an annual mental health, arts and culture festival held in January. The festival celebrates the arts as a powerful catalyst for sparking unscripted conversations around mental ill health and serves to challenge the stigma associated with mental ill-health. The festival aspires to make the beginning of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, actively challenging societal prejudices, and eradicating the pervasive stigma surrounding mental health. You can find out more about First Fortnight here.

Head, Heart and Soul

A fascinating evening is in store on Thursday 11 January with this mental health and arts variety concert. As well as music from renowned musician Matt McGranaghan and popular indie-rock band The Ephades, Jacinta M. Kite, a lecturer and researcher form Trinity College will give a talk on the importance of minding our mental health and there will be an interview with Petra Velzeboer, a renowned mental health expert and TEDX speaker. Find out more here.


Written and performed by Gemma Walker-Farren, Ghosts is a one-person storytelling theatre piece for adults. Several different stories spanning childhood fears to the anxieties of adulthood are woven together with Greek myths and ghostly tales to create a uniquely engaging, frightening and relatable experience. The performance will be followed by a post-show discussion.

You can see Ghosts on Fri 12 January.

Xnthony’s Big Gay Ball

Our final First Fortnight event is this cabaret show with host Xnthony which promises an evening of spectacular cabaret, comedy, and drag performances from local and international talents.  This is not just any cabaret show; this is a glamorous celebration of self-love, glam and tomfoolery.

Xnthony’s Big Gay Ball has graced stages at Electric Picnic, Latitude, All Together Now, and K Fest. Xnthony is an award-winning performer, maker, and writer known for his parties, cabarets and musicals. But mostly, they’re great craic.

It’s on Saturday 13 January from 7.30pm.

Bonus event!

The Letterkenny Wellness Cafe which is based here at An Grianán will have a special event on Thur 11 Jan at 10.30am featuring their Cafe Crew choir. They’ll be performing a montage of all the best feel-good hits across the decades, songs that lift us up and keeps us moving. Entry as always is free. You can find out more about the Donegal Wellness Cafes here.

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