On December 22, 2011 a phenomenon was born in Sligo - upstairs in the wine bar in the now-closed Source to be exact. Pianist Kieran Quinn invited a selection of singers and musicians from the area to join with him in creating a collaborative concert which he entitled a theme night.
The theme on this occasion was Christmas Songs, and was followed a week later by Theme Night #2 – which featured the music of Tom Waits.
Theme Night #5
October 2012 - Source Sligo
The first ever Theme Night in the Hawk's Well Theatre was number Theme Night 13 - Film Music. It was the brainchild of theatre director Marie O'Byrne - she suggested bringing the theme nights to the Hawk's Well, to team up with the Sligo Academy of Music Sinfionetta and also to form a Theme Night Choir. We took her up on all 3 suggestions, and the rest is history. The setlist for this night was incredible - from Ennio Morricone to Quincy Jones, from Toy Story to Forrest Gump - it had everything.
Theme Night #13
May 2015 - Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo
Over 20 theme nights have since taken place, each exposing different singers and featuring different artists and musical genres, such as Elvis, Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon, Stadium Anthems and Big Band (full list below). A select group of singers and musicians are invited to perform with a large house band and encouraged to put their own twist on whatever number they choose and it results in a varied and electric night’s entertainment.
The theme nights have taken place in various venues over the years, moving from Source to the then named Velvet Rooms, and since to the Knocknarea Arena, the Stephen St. Car Park, their spiritual home the Hawk’s Well Theatre, and most recently, Dublin’s Vicar St.
The concerts have become joyous musical celebrations in the Sligo calendar and can feature up to 100 local artists onstage. They are unique...they are exciting...they are fun...and they are a genuine exposition of a musical community joining together to create something bigger than themselves.
Artists featured over the years include a who’s who of Sligo and indeed some national musical figures – such as Cathy Jordan, Sandy Kelly, Steve Wickham, Tabby Callaghan, Joe Hunt, Sinéad Conway, Seamie O’Dowd, Eddie Lee and Niamh Crowley.
But despite some of these ‘star’ names, the strength of the gigs comes not from the individuals involved but from the collective - the community spirit engendered among the artists, and the magic that happens when new groups of musicians come together to create and play.
Upcoming Theme Night
Theme Night #24 (Stevie Wonder) will take place in the Hawk’s Well Theatre on Sept 12, 13 and 14 2019. Tickets are sold out. Subscribe to Kieran’s Blog to hear first about details for Theme Night #25.
Full list of Theme Nights
Theme Night #1 - Christmas Songs
Theme Night #2 - Tom Waits
Theme Night #3 - Divas
Theme Night #4 - Poets of Popular Music
Theme Night #5 - Paul Simon
Theme Night #6 - Christmas Songs II
Theme Night #7 - Michael Jackson
Theme Night #8 - A Night at the Troubadour
Theme Night #9 - The Beatles
Theme Night #10 - Burt Bacharach
Theme Night #11 - The Best of Irish
Theme Night #12 - Motown
Theme Night #13 - Film Music
Theme Night #14 - A Night at the Grand Ole Opry
Theme Night #15 - Piano Man (Billy Joel and Elton John)
Theme Night #16 - Stadium Anthems
Theme Night #17 - Sport
Theme Night #18 - Big Band
Theme Night #19 - Elvis
Theme Night #20 - The Eagles
Theme Night #21 - Duets
Theme Night #22 - The Story So Far
Theme Night #23 - Bruce Springsteen (Live in Dublin)
Theme Night #24 - Stevie Wonder