Getting the show on the road

A mobile live arts event, Festival in a Van was set up by Gemma Tipton, initially as a response to the Covid 19 pandemic to bring live performance to your door. Since then, Festival in a Van has grown to reach the parts that other venues may not be able to reach.

A trad session in the town square, a classical concert on the green, music at your window, dramatic moments, or poets proclaiming in the garden: Festival in a Van tours nationwide, bringing the magic of live performance everywhere, to everyone.

Our van has been transformed as a mini mobile venue, and is popping up in parks, streets, squares, care homes and more; making safe, fun arts experiences part of life once more. Supported by Creative Ireland and The Arts Council of Ireland, and led by a team of theatre professionals, Festival in a Van is keeping live performance going, on the move, and coming to a place near you.

In 2020 we:

  • Staged more than 60 performances in 11 counties
  • Worked with 48 musicians, singers, poets, artists and performers
  • with a team of 15 theatre professionals, designers and production artists
  • and reached more than 2,500 people

In 2021 we brought our Words Move Tour across the Island.

In 2022, we toured Ireland with the Shared Music Sessions, introducing musicians from Ireland, Ukraine and other new communities through music and song.

Now, we are:

  • Continuing to foster inclusion and integration through the Shared Music Sessions
  • Touring our new commission Deities by WeAreGriot to students and audiences in Direct Provision
  • Expanding our work in healthcare settings through our strand Songlines, which invites people with dementia and cognitive impairment to work with artists through poetry and song
  • Working with Mental Health Ireland by bringing the Jukebox Project to their clients
  • Visiting parks, care homes, schools, and community settings in every corner of Ireland!

When Festival in a Van comes to visit...

The Van arrives to streets, housing estates or apartment blocks. It comes to care homes, rural spots, parking lots or village squares. The doors open. In one location, an actor delivers a dramatic monologue. In another a musician makes their own kind of magic, a singer sings songs or arias. In another a poet recites, a writer reads.

Festival in a Van is also available for private hire.

Festival in a Van gets the show on the road.

Check out our press coverage here.

The Team Who We Are

Festival In A Van is run by a small team of passionate people

Festival in a van team

Elizabeth Mohen


Anne Hendrick

Researcher / Producer

Rob Furey

Production Consultant

Peter Jordan

Production and Safety Officer

Festival in a van board

Patrick Murphy (Chair)

Director RHA Gallery

Lucy Ryan (Secretary)

Director of Programming and Finance, Smock Alley Theatre

Christine Monk

Director of Communications and Marketing, Abbey Theatre

Sharon Carty

Opera Singer

Rachel Collins

Editor, writer and communications consultant

Good people we work with...

Graphic Design - Matthew Connell, Duck to Water

Website - Elisabeth Ryan, IRC web

Social Media - Kerry Fitzgerald

Illustrator - Karen Nolan

Homepage image - Cormac Begley plays at Festival in a Van, Tralee Town Park, October 2020


"We absolutely loved it! The children were so engaged and the whole crew were lovely. Children were walking home dancing!! Thank you so much"

Bríd Brophy, Principal @ St. Mary's Primary School, Dublin 7
(Event: Back to School Celebration with Gomba Educare, September 2022)

"Thank you for bringing Festival in a Van to Mooorehall Lodge Ardee. From when Gemma, the van, crew and Gavan arrived it was like our Residents and staff got a new energy - a new life. The whole event  from start to finish was just so uplifting. the Residents watching the crew set up, not knowing what was coming next and then Gavan starting to sing: you could hear a pin drop, just class. Festival in a Van was the topic of conversation at lunch times and for days afterwards with everyone. We, as staff spoke together about the event to try and describe feeling everyone came away with, and we said it was an energy, new beginning, new hope. After 12 months of Covid 19, that feeling that yes, we are going to be fine! It was a lovely feeling".

Frances @ Moorehall (Event: Gavan Ring, Co. Louth, April 2021)

"I just wanted to let you know how impressed everyone was by the Festival in a Van company and production. Everything  happened so efficiently (thanks Anthony) without any hiccups and the students (sixth years in particular) were thrilled to see King Lear come alive on the school grounds, with real actors! It was great to see them ask so many questions afterwards! And the actors were very happy to oblige!"

Teacher at Our Lady of Mercy College, Beaumont (Event: King Lear (in a Van), May 2021)

"From the moment the van pulled up this morning you could feel the excitement grow at school today. 
Some pupils were hanging out the window to see what was going on and how a normal van was supposed to transform into a magical stage - I nearly didn't know how they did it even though I watched the whole thing unfold in front of my eyes! Magic in itself. 

Suddenly we were at a festival - with a stage, a secure area for around the stage - everything you would expect to see at any venue was there - no attention to detail spared. 

We got the green light to start at 10am on the dot and by 10:01 there were 73 children and 40 Staff dancing together at a music festival! It was genuinely amazing. Joyce and Steve played together beautifully - his husky voice complemented by her powerful traditional singing. An incredible experience. 
Our school community needed a lift like this - it was amazing. Thank you"

Sarah McGinley, Principal, St. Josephs Special School, Galway

"Once again, I wanted to congratulate the team on the incredible work you are doing. It was such an honour to play for the people at Citywest. There was a powerful moment when just after my performance, a little Ukrainian girl of around 9/10 years old walked over to me and handed me a picture she'd drawn of me performing. She didn't have any English but through the help of an adult we had a little chat, and I gave her a CD of mine. It was a moment I won't forget."

KIRRU, Musician
(Event: Shared Music Sessions, November 12th, Citiwest, Dublin)