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New York Irish Center To Present Varied Cultural Offerings This Fall

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The season kicks off next month!

New York Irish Center To Present Varied Cultural Offerings This Fall

The New York Irish Center (NYIC), a hub for culture and community enrichment serving a broad audience from its base in Long Island City, is announcing the fall portion of its 2021-22 season, the first full season under new executive director George C. Heslin.

Among the many theatre and music performances playing the newly remodeled Reilly Room (with flexible seating) are two nights of the cabby-playwright and media personality John McDonagh's one-man tour de force "Off the Meter," directed by the Irish Rep's Ciaran O'Reilly (Saturdays October 9 at 3pm & Nov 13, 7pm $25); violin virtuoso Gregory Harrington heading a quartet mixing multiple genres (Wed Nov 10, 7pm $25); and Colm Reilly in concert in "New York Croons for Christmas" (Fri Dec 10, 7pm $60 buffet dinner included).

Among the new cultural programs launching this year will be a brand new comedy series which showcases some of the most popular comics on the New York City comedy circuit, with assorted special guests from out-of-town. (The series debuts on Saturday November 20, 8pm $20.) Gregory Harrington -- the Dublin-born, New York based international soloist known for his bold combinations of genres from classical to jazz and pop - kicks off NYIC's new music series "Ireland Live... From New York," that will feature notable musical artists from different corners of the Irish diaspora.

"In the past year, the New York Irish Center as an institution has shown its resolve to keep its doors open for our various outreach communities and to present both in-person and virtual programming of substance," comments Heslin, who was selected to replace Paul Finnegan, NYIC's popular former executive director, a year ago in October. "We have a very special role to play as New York's Irish diaspora communities grow and diversify, and as Long Island City becomes more of a fulcrum of the wider city. This is why we will put equal emphasis on our cultural and community supportive activities."

Heslin, who as the founding artistic director of Origin Theatre Company brought numerous theatrical co-productions to NYIC as part of the annual Origin 1st Irish Festival, had already established a strong working relationship with NYIC when he came on board. He adds, "It's a natural progression for us to see NYIC as a place for New York's sizable Irish diaspora theatre and music communities to develop and showcase new work here. We also know that we can be a welcoming home to Irish writers of all kinds and encourage them to think out of the box to engage audiences in creative new ways."

Also festooning the Fall calendar are: A Victorian Tea Party with era-specific performances (Sun Oct 10, 2pm $20); a book launch for John Kearns' "Worlds" (Thur Oct 14, 7pm free); "Santa Visits the New York Irish Center" (Sun Dec 12, 1pm free), and a "Christmas Showcase" displaying the talents of all the many groups conducting classes throughout the year (Tue Dec 14, 7pm $15). In addition walking tours; and live-action Halloween and Christmas dioramas (created in NYIC's street-facing storefront windows) will also be part of the Fall schedule.

When it opened its doors in 2002, NYIC was primarily an Irish immigrant service organization and community center. It was founded by the late Father Colm Campbell and Paddy Reilly, who secured the center's 10,000 sq ft Jackson Avenue building in 2003 (which opened in 2005). Starting in 2009, under Paul Finnegan's leadership, NYIC raised more than $10M for operations and capital campaigns for extensive building upgrades, 100% debt mortgage elimination, and a vastly expanded cultural profile, with public events in theatre, music, film and language arts. During this time NYIC also evolved its outreach to supplement traditional services for seniors (like its weekly Wednesday Lunch Club and various food drives) with programs responding to changing demographics and needs.

"The Story Continues," NYIC's quarterly LGBTQ+ networking event featuring prominent voices from the community and a safe space for conversation and advocacy is a popular free event (Tue Oct 19, 7pm). NYIC also houses Solace House, a provider of free, confidential suicide prevention counseling for anyone seeking one-on-one, group or family mental health support. Solace House's services are available for anyone seeking help.

"Especially today as we need connection and community more than ever, the New York Irish Center is ready to nurture, serve and inspire all who want to join us," adds Heslin.

To ensure our mutual safety, guests must provide proof of vaccination with ID at the door. All NYIC staff members are fully vaccinated. The New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City NY 11101, is just seven minutes, and one stop, on the 7 train from Grand Central Station. For more information visit www.NewYorkIrishCenter.org or call 718-482-0909. For further inquiries email info@NewYorkIrishCenter.org


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