Wednesday 3rd June

Andrés Neuman

Andrés Neuman is one of the leading writers in contemporary Spanish literature and the award-winning author of five novels. Fracture is the tale of a successful electronics executive who returns to Japan in retirement. There’s so much more to his story than that, not least the fact that as a child he survived both atomic bombs.

The Last Day at Bowen’s Court

The Last Day at Bowen’s Court is a new novel by Eibhear Walshe exploring a key relationship in the life of Elizabeth Bowen, a writer who divided her time between Cork and London, a wartime romance with a Canadian diplomat The book spans several decades, starting at the beginning of the second world war. Published by Somerville Press.


Corcadorca the Cork based theatre company have come up with an exciting live theatre piece for the Cork Mid Summer Festival called Contact A Travelling Theatre Performance. Founder and artistic director of Corcadorca, Pat Kiernan and the actress and playwright Eadaoin O’Donoghue chat to Seán. corkmidsummer.com for further details.

Tuesday 2nd June

Heart Space

St Nicholas Quarter is a historic part of Dundalk town, a meeting place framed by two churches and now the location of a new public sculpture. Breda Marron is the artist and sculptor of Heart Space, two abstract swans in bronze. The swans are turned toward each other, but not touching.

Where do I begin with Kurosawa?

Rioghnach Ní Ghrioghair introduces us to Akira Kurosawa's movies and a career that spanned 57 years. The Seven Samurai is the best known of Akira Kurosawa's movies and was most famously remade in the United States as The Magnificent Seven. Other movies selected are Rashomon and Ran.

Foo Fighters

Lauren Murphy revisits the Foo Fighters self-titled debut album. In February 1995, Foo Fighters emerged – almost entirely unnoticed – onto the stage for the very first time. The band was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the end of Nirvana after the death of Kurt Cobain.

Carlow Arts Festival

Tom Swift on the new Micro Opera, Exotic V Baskin based on Tiger King. It is a darkly funny musical duel between zookeeper Joe Exotic and his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin. It is composed by Dana Kaufman, with a libretto by playwright Tom Swift and performed by Lucia Lucas and Ariana Lucas. Livestreaming from Carlow Arts Festival on June 6th at 8pm.

Friday 29th May

IMMA Screen

The Irish Museum of Modern Art has a new online offering which is called IMMA Screen. Artist Alanna O’Kelly film and IMMA Director, Annie Fletcher discuss the initiative Further details available, imma.ie

The Tainted

Cauvery Madhavan third novel opens with a fictionalised account of the Connaught Rangers mutiny in 1920. The Tainted is published by Hope Road Publishing.

New music

Simon Maher and Nadine O'Regan review this week’s big release, Lady Gaga's sixth album, Chromatica, Chroma from Kilkenny-based drummer, songwriter, dance and electronic artist, R.S.A.G and Psychic Markers self titled album.

Thursday 28th May

Lisa O’Neill Studio 8 session

Singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill Lisa took time out from writing her new album to come in to studio 8 earlier today. Ahead of her online concert on 12th June as part of the NCH Live Stream Series. Further details at nch.ie

Film reviews

Film reviews with Aingeala Flannery and John Maguire. The High Note - set in the LA music scene, The Vast of Night – an ode to 1950s sci-fi and Only the Animals which charts an unhappily married woman’s terrifying fate and her mysterious connections to five other people. Vast of Night and The High Note (Amazon Prime) and Only The Animals (Curzon).

Wednesday 27th May

Dublin Dance Festival

Composer Michael Gallen and dancer/ choreographer Catherine Young discuss Dublin Dance Festival. It goes online from this Friday featuring a tailored selection of films, parties, discussions and workshops. www.dublindancefestival.ie

Henrietta McKervey Loves The Sopranos

Author Henrietta McKervey shares her love of The Sopranos. A Talented Man is her fourth novel and revolves around a fictional sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Published by Hachette.

Irish National Opera

Irish National Opera will start a series of Friday Opera Sessions live online for the next five Fridays. The Artistic Director of the Irish National Opera, Fergus Sheil tells us more.

Space Force

A decorated pilot with dreams of running the Air Force finds himself tapped to lead the newly formed sixth branch of the US Armed Forces: Space Force. From co-creators Steve Carell and Greg Daniels. Chris Wasser previews Space Force airing on Netflix this Friday.

Tuesday 26th May


Endless is a new film piece from Derry artist Willie Doherty. Many of Doherty’s most iconic works deal with the aftermath of the Troubles. The central character in Endless is both a victim & a perpetrator of violence, a liar and a creator of false identity and truths. Further details at kerlingallery.com

Joe Chester

Joe Chester is an acclaimed guitarist, songwriter, singer, producer and former member of the Waterboys. His new solo album is called Jupiter's Wife.

I want you to know we’re still here

Esther Safran Foer's moving memoir charts the story of her family’s history through the Holocaust. I want you to know we’re still here. (Harper Collins)

Almost the Same Blue

John O’Donnell is an award-winning poet who has just published his debut short story collection. Almost the Same Blue brings together 15 tales of people in extremis, tales of deceit and love and death. (Doire Press)

Monday 25th May

InterAction Galway 2020 & Galway Theatre Festival

Galway is the European Capital of Culture and at this time of year Galway is usually host to the Galway Theatre Festival. It has gone online, with an innovative project called InterAction. Jan Hanbury discusses more details at interactiongalway.com

Val Kilmer memoir

He was the Hollywood golden boy who had it all. But a reputation for picking fights on set. In recent years he has been battling cancer. In his new memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry, he doesn’t dwell on the negatives. Paul Whittington reviews - I’m Your Huckleberry. (Simon & Schuster)

Under the Hawthorn Tree

30 years ago, Marita Conlon McKenna’s groundbreaking children’s novel, Under the Hawthorn Tree, was published. The novel, set in famine-era Ireland, focuses on three children who journey across Ireland to find their two great-aunts, having lost both of their parents. The book became an enormous bestseller. (O’Brien Press)

The Last Trial

The author who ‘pioneered the modern legal thriller, Scott Turow published his debut novel, Presumed Innocent, in 1987. Sandy Stern, the hero of that novel, returns in Scott’s latest novel, The Last Trial. (Mantle)

Friday 22nd May

New album reviews

It's Friday, Zara Hedderman and Gavin Glass review the latest album drops from Limerick trio Bleeding Heart Pigeons, Charli XCX and the 1975.

Daniel Mason

Daniel Mason is a physician and author of bestselling novel, The Winter Soldier. He talks to Seán about his first collection of short stories, A Registry of my Passage Upon the Earth. (Mantle)

Little Fires Everywhere

Jenn Gannon reviews the new tv series based on Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng’s best-selling 2017 novel - starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as two mothers from very different backgrounds and how they upend each other’s lives. It's available on Amazon Prime Video now.

Thursday 21st May

Where do I begin with Stanley Kubrick?

Stanley Kubrick is next in our series, 'Where Do I Begin With?' Michael Pope discusses one of the most influential directors of all time. Paths of Glory was celebrated for its commentary on society and humanity. While with 2001: A Space Odyssey, he effectively reinvented the science fiction genre.

Crime round-up

No matter what is going on in the world, it’s safe to say that crime fiction is one genre that never loses its appeal. Declan Burke has been reading new crime novels from Terry Brankin Has a Gun by Malachi O’Doherty, A Famished Heart by Nicola White to The Cutting Place by Jane Casey.

Film reviews

Sarah Taaffe Maguire and Stephen Boyd review films for streaming. The County is an Icelandic tale of rural decline, the Irish documentary When Women Won tells the story of the Together for Yes campaign, we look at Mark Cousin’s documentary on female filmmaking, Women Make Film and The Lovebirds.

Wednesday 20th May


Arlene Hunt previews Snowpiercer. Set seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, it centres on the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a gigantic, perpetually-moving train that circles the globe. The series drops on Netflix on May 25 with two initial episodes.

Stephen King

Chris Wasser reviews the latest book from Stephen King. If It Bleeds is a collection of four novellas. Published by Hodder & Stoughton

UCD Festival @home

The UCD festival @home takes place this weekend. Writers Dave Rudden and Hazel Gaynor discuss creative writing with Seán.

Wind of Change

Patrick Radden Keefe is a New Yorker columnist and investigative journalist. Wind of Change is his new podcast on Spotify and asks if the Scorpions anthem could of been created by the CIA as a propaganda tool.

Tuesday 19th May

Jagged Little Pill

Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill in 1995 and by November of the same year it had sold more than 2 million copies. Kate Brennan Harding revisits the album 25 years on.

When the Tree Falls

Poet Jane Clarke chats to Seán about her new collection 'When the Tree Falls', which has been shortlisted for Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020.

Covid photographic art projects

Set designer, Molly O'Cathain, has been recreating some of the world's most famous paintings with people and materials in her own home. And arts facilitator, Ciara Harrison, has been casting an artistic photographic eye on both the people and everyday objects in her own home.

Monday 18th May

Joy Division

40 years ago today, as the band were preparing for their first North American tour, the death occurred of the Joy Division front man Ian Curtis. His life is being celebrated through a number of different online projects. Vinny May of Kodaline, Neil Murray, co-director of the Abbey Theatre and Prof. Eoin Devereux remember Ian Curtis.


Pendemic is a new online literary journal which has been going since the start of the current Covid-19. Co-founder, Joy Redmond, shares some of the submissions from across the globe

The National Concert Hall

The National Concert Hall, Dublin has come up with a plan to host a quartet of concerts live online every Friday evening, from May 29th through to June 19th. Mezzo soprano Tara Erraught and pianist Barry Douglas chat to Seán about the online series.

Friday 15th May

New Music

Perfume Genius, is back with album number five. It's entitled, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, Magnetic Fields, led by front man, Stephen Merritt, release the album QUICKIES and electro-soul art rock from Moses Sumney. Aoife Barry and Alan Corr review.

Lifestyle Choice 10mg

Lifestyle Choice 10mg is the latest short story collection by Rosemary Jenkinson, an award-winning playwright and short story writer.

Eileen Gray Collection

Dr Jennifer Goff is Curator of the Eileen Gray collection, Furniture, and Musical Instruments at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin. She is recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on Gray’s work and legacy.

Thursday 14th May

Where do I start with Elton John

Chris Wasser continues with our series, where we suggest how you might get to know the work of an iconic artist. Tonight we feature Elton John a man whose career was launched 50 years ago and who has produced some of the greatest pop songs of all time.

Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Beauvoir and Me

Sophie Gorman reviews Deirdre Bair's memoir called Parisian Lives, in which she revealed what it was like to write about two such complex people who also happened to be literary giants of the 20th century. Published by Atlantic.

Film reviews

Ruth Barton and Donald Clarke review drama, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and documentary, The Atom: A Love Affair.

Wednesday 13th May


Beachcomber is a musical project from Belfast-based musician, Rory Friers. His latest project is exactly that. A “concept” album of sorts, written, recorded and produced by himself as a wedding gift to his sister.

Laureate na nÓg

Áine Ní Ghlinn was announced as the new Laureate na nÓg today. Áine is an Irish language children's writer and regular Arena contributor.

New Speak Reimagined

Belfast's Lyric Theatre is a mainstay in Northern Ireland’s theatre scene since 1951. New Speak Reimagined is an initiative which has transported productions from the stage to YouTube. Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer of the Lyric and performer Katie Richardson discuss the new digital offering.

A Talented Man

Henrietta McKervey’s fourth novel, A Talented Man, revolves around a fictional sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Published by Hachette.

Tuesday 12th May

Foundations of Electronic Music

Tony Clayton Lea transports us back to the origins of electronic music with classic tracks from the Dr Who theme tune to Donna Summer's - I Feel Love. 'The song just didn't suggest the future - it was the future'.

Charlie Brooker

Mary McGill previews AntiViral Wipe which sees the return of Charlie Brooker to our TV screens this week on BBC.

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Contact the Show

Email: arena@rte.ie

 Twitter: @RTEArena

Text: 51551

Presenter: Seán Rocks


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