… the excellent performers each enlist the audience on their side…

The Irish Times review 7th June 2022 by Sara Keating

A grumpy old man is digging a hole for his cello in the forest floor. He’s terrible at digging, it’s not his forte. A young boy is blasted into his path, interrupting his impossible task. The boy is on a journey that he didn’t choose, to a place he has never been.

From this skittish fracas an unlikely duet takes shape; one person supporting the other to perform their triumphant finale.
Swansong is a heartfelt and comic exploration of a once in a lifetime encounter between two strangers. This new play for young audiences by Shane O’Reilly playfully and sensitively engages with the mythical notion of the swansong; a final gesture or performance.


Theatre Workshops

For County Kilkenny schools, classes attending a performance can book two workshops in their school, a session on visual literacy in advance of the performance and a second workshop on critical analysis in the days following their visit to the theatre – there is limited availability and will be provided on a ‘first-come’ basis.

Teachers’ Resources

A digital resource pack is available to participating teachers. Linked to the SPHE syllabus, the pack provides a focus for exploration and discussion of themes raised through the play.

Download Teachers resource pack here

The Author

Shane O’Reilly is an actor and a writer. Swansong is his first time to write for Barnstorm Theatre Company.
Shane’s recent theatre writing work includes: windowpane (The Abbey Theatre; Dear Ireland); Gold in the Water (Coming in 2023); The Water Boys (Equinox Theatre); Näher…closer, nearer, sooner (Liz Roche Company); FOLLOW, FARM and CARE (co-created with WillFredd Theatre); The Matador (Show in a Bag) The Genealogy Project (development showing at The Abbey Theatre, 2017)


Paulstown Community Hall

Venue Location: R95 NY93


Tickets School Group Rate €10 (Teachers free)