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Music, dance and theatre: See magical performances from Irish artists in this new TG4 film

Samhlú 2020, starring Tommy Tiernan, airs at 9:30 tonight.

TG4 / YouTube

AS IS THE case with many other professions, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the arts, culture and entertainment worlds. 

But, according to Tommy Tiernan, who stars in TG4′s new anthology film Samhlú, it has also provided the opportunity for creativity to flourish.

“Creativity can come from nothing,” he says. “That’s where the magic comes from.” 

To celebrate the artistic endeavours and creativity that have endured throughout Ireland despite a very challenging year, Samhlú 2020 – the Irish word for ‘imagine’ – will air on TG4 tonight, Tuesday December 15, at 9:30pm.

Set in Roundstone in Connemara, Samhlú 2020 is a performance showcase to support the arts and artists in 2020. It follows the journey of an otherworldly wanderer (Tiernan) as he arrives in the town and sets up a small wooden stage.

From here, the little Irish street comes alive with music and art. Doorsteps, piers and chipper vans become stages for all kinds of performances, from music to dance, theatre to film and the visual arts. 

SAMHLU TOMMY TIERNAN 60 Tommy Tiernan in Samhlú 2020. TG4 TG4

Samhlú 2020 will see performances from some of the best-known names in Irish culture, including Tonnta, Brian Finnegan, Slow Moving Clouds and Julie Feeney, as well as Séamus Ó Flatharta, Moxie, Varo, Catherine Young Dance and Ronan Ó Snodaigh. The finale will see a new composition by world renowned composer Bill Whelan called Samhlú. 

All of the performances led by the wanderer are interwoven with six short films, while Samhlú Croí Cruthaitheach – a season of twelve commissioned short-form films – will air periodically over the course of 2021.  

Speaking about his role in the production, Tiernan said he had to scrub up on his cúpla focail“I don’t have much Irish, so I had to take lessons.”

TG4 / YouTube

As for how coronavirus affected his creativity, Tiernan said he “didn’t really think about” it. “It doesn’t really come into my imagination much in terms of work. Actors find it hard anyway. Artists find it hard anyway. And maybe this year was harder than most years, but this is not an unusual landscape for performers to be unemployed and bored. It’s where we live and it’s where creativity comes from.”

Samhlú 2020 will air on TG4 tonight, Tuesday December 15, at 9:30pm and can be viewed worldwide on the TG4 player.

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