Tag Archives: childrens theatre


Barnstorm is delighted to present a new play, Monday’s Child by Brendan Murray

Monday's Child by Brendan Murray

Monday’s Child by Brendan Murray

What’s it about?

This sensitive and exciting play tells a simple poetic story of the unique bond between an old woman and a young girl. It explores how we make and store memories, and how these shape who we are as we discover the world around us.

Monday’s Child incorporates elements of both music and dance, two characters play joyously with a treasure trove of spurious memories which perhaps ultimately belong to them both. Commissioned by Tutti Frutti, the original production has just completed a highly successful tour in the UK.

Who’s it for?

This is theatre created especially for children of 4 years and up, and their families and teachers. Schools performances take place daily at 10am and 11.30am.

Bookings are now open! Tel 056 7751266.

Monday 6th October to Friday 17th October, daily at 10:00am and 11:30am. Tickets €5.00 for school & pre-school groups.

Saturday 11th & Saturday 18th October, at 2:30pm and 4:00pm. Tickets €6.00; Family of 4: €20.

Monday’s Child tours to Mullingar Arts Centre and Mill Theatre, Dundrum later in October.

By Sarah Argent, in collaboration with Barnstorm Theatre Company


Bucket & Henry take a drive

Bucket & Henry take a drive (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)


What is friendship? What happens when it goes wrong?

What do you have to do to make it work?

Barnstorm Theatre Company’s national tour of its insightful new play for children aged 4 and older, commenced at Draíocht on Monday 8th April. The Bockety World of Henry & Bucket looks at friendship through a day in the life of two friends who live in a bockety world of discarded objects.

Responses to its World Premiere in Kilkenny have been resoundingly enthusiastic – comments included ‘pure theatre’, ‘visually imaginative’ and ‘…they haven’t stopped talking about it since.’

Written and directed by Sarah Argent, based on a collaborative devising process with Barnstorm, The Bockety World of Henry & Bucket is humorous and rich in visual antics. Through Henry and Bucket’s relationship we can examine what friendship is, what goes wrong and how you fix it.

Their friendship reflects the bockety world they inhabit – there are wobbles and shakes, and it’s not quite level all the time but it works! How do friends reconcile when they’ve had their battles, got on each other’s nerves, and even stooped to telling lies…?

This is an entertaining, thought-provoking exploration of friendship for young children and their families.

A play for children aged 4 and older.

Running time: 40 minutes


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By Mike Kenny

‘…the fluidity of narration, combined with the simplicity of the settings allows the story to flow seamlessly…The Barnstorm ensemble, both in acting and production, has a consistency and continuity that contributes greatly to a house-style that is lucid and engaging, not only for the target audience, in this case 4-5 year-olds –  but also the adults who accompany them’. Irish Theatre Magazine

Puppet Josh in The Song from the Sea (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Puppet Josh in The Song from the Sea (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Listen! Can you hear it?

Our captivating new show The Song from the Sea, by Mike Kenny, focuses on a young boy’s struggle to find his place in his family, and in the wider world. Blending storytelling, performance, puppets, music and a beautiful song from the sea, this show is a sensory treat.

Playwright Mike Kenny’s writing shows great empathy with young children. He will be familiar to Barnstorm audiences as the author of Big Sister, Little Brother and Jack.

With its blend of magic and realism, and an emphasis on shared storytelling The Song from the Sea is an encouraging and uplifting show for young children.

A play for children aged 4 and older.

Running time: 35 minutes

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Two years ago Barnstorm realised a long-held aspiration when we formed our Acting Ensemble – three actors who worked and trained with the company in the development, devising and realisation of theatre productions for our various audiences but in particular children & young people.

Olivier award-winning author Mike Kenny

Olivier award-winning author Mike Kenny

In exploring ‘how’ we tell stories in these productions we engaged with other artists and developed a new play based on the original Hansel & Gretel tale. The team involved in the process were our three actors Paul Curley, Sarah Johnson and Shane O’Reilly, writer Maeve Ingoldsby, visiting actors Will Pinchin and Ben Samuels, Designer Carol Betera, our Outreach Officer Anna Galligan and Artistic Director Philip Hardy. And after working on the ideas at various stages throughout 15 months we invited Mike Kenny to script the piece. Mike is a prolific writer in children’s theatre and indeed Barnstorm has a long relationship with him – we have produced six of his works to date.

A Murder of Crows is the result, and it is appropriate that this world premiere of a new script by Mike Kenny is produced by Barnstorm in celebration of the company’s 20th year serving young audiences throughout the country.

There are six actors in this production and final auditions are now complete. The design team includes Carol Betera (set), Mark Galione (lighting), Harmless Creatures (costume), Alé Mercado (graphics) and Pól Brennan (music). Rehearsals begin on 5th September.

The production will open in the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny on 11th October and runs until 19th October, and will tour nationally in the Spring of 2012. There will be a showcase performance of A Murder of Crows in the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Trinity College, Dublin on Saturday 22 October.

By Mike Kenny

Boy with a Suitcase - Naz (Paul Curley)

Boy with a Suitcase - Naz (Paul Curley) Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Boy with a Suitcase is the story of a 12-year-old war refugee, who undertakes a long and dangerous journey to find asylum in Ireland. He carries with him only a small suitcase and a treasure of stories from his childhood.

Like his hero, Sinbad the Sailor, who undertook many perilous voyages in search of his fortune, Naz must travel half-way around the world to reach the safety of his brother in Dublin. Naz teams up with Krysia, a young girl in similar circumstances, who helps him dodge soldiers and find safe passage over mountains, across seas and through the mire of a city slum. With the help of Krysia and his stories, Naz finds his way to Dublin and his brother. But is it the ‘heaven on earth’ that he expects….?

A ripping yarn of adventure and stories, Naz’s journey also throws a spotlight on the real dangers faced by children in other parts of the world, beyond the relative security of life in Ireland. You’d imagine there’s not much room for laughter in this production but writer Mike Kenny has elevated this story with humour and spirit.

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Audience-led development of theatre

Create A Story Project The objective of the Create a Story project was to engage with our audience and include their creative input in the creation of a piece of Children’s Theatre alongside Barnstorm’s company of actors, musician, playwright, designer, facilitator and director.

The project was initiated in 2009 in partnership with Poetry Ireland’s Writers-in-Schools Scheme which is one of the longest running arts-in-education programmes in the country, marking its 30th anniversary recently. But this was the first time it teamed up with Ireland’s leading children’s theatre company to devise and produce a piece of professional theatre. In times of economic uncertainty it is hands-on, proactive partnerships like this that will keep the art of theatre and storytelling alive for children.

All primary schools in the region were invited to apply to take part  in Create a Story and four were eventually chosen to work directly with the project. The four participating schools were St Canice’s National School, Kilkenny; Marymount National School, The Rower, Co Kilkenny; Scoil Naomh Bhríde, Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny and Scoil Bríde, Paulstown, Co Kilkenny. And Barnstorm would like to thank all the schools who applied for the project.

In Spring 2009, two writers were engaged as Writers-in-Residence in the four schools to explore the art of writing and develop student’s individual skills. After a series of initial workshops the participating students (then in 4th and 5th class) were each asked to write their own story based on a specific theme agreed on by the writers, Barnstorm and the class teachers. The themes given were a Brother and Sister, Lost and Forest.

Barnstorm’s company of actors, musicians, playwright, dramaturg and director read the stories carefully and they proved to be a rich source of ideas.

Originally Barnstorm proposed to create a script from the children’s stories and to present a promenade production in a forest in Kilkenny in summer 2010. But with the cuts in funding to the arts in Ireland it was impractical to mount such a production.

LOST IN THE FOREST was the title given to the final phase of the project which involved a presentation of the script developed from the pupil’s work in the previous months.

For our presentation we did not pick any one of the 95 stories! Instead using the characters, ideas and events in the originals we created a ‘final story’ to form the basis of further exploration and devising.

For three weeks in April 2010 the actors worked with a designer, playwright, musician and director to devise a theatrical presentation based on this new story. In order to give the children a fuller insight into play-making, the company’s designer spent several sessions working with each school on theatre design and mask-work. The children’s ideas further informed the design of our presentation and each child’s work was displayed as the audience entered the theatre.

Lost in the Forest was the fruit of all of this work and was presented in The Barn on April 29th and 30th 2010 to the participating students and their teachers.

HERE’S THE TEAM WHO WERE INVOLVED IN CREATE A STORY…

The pupils who took part:
5th Class St. Canice’s Co-ed N.S Granges Rd. Kilkenny
5th and 6th classes Marymount N.S. The Rower, Co. Kilkenny
5th and 6th classes Scoil Naomh Bhríde Ballyragget Co. Kilkenny
6th class Scoil Bhríde, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny

Their teachers:
Martin Hanrick &  Eilís Delahanty, in St. Canice’s;
Brid Moloney & Anne Marie Butler in Marymount N.S.;
Martina Kennedy, Mary O’Neill & Claire Dunne in Scoil Naomh Bhríde
Mary Holden & Olive Sheehan in Scoil Bhríde

From Poetry Ireland’s Writers-in-Schools Scheme:
Jane O’Hanlon: Education Officer
Writers:  Martina Murphy & Terry McDonagh

For Barnstorm:
Actors: Sarah Johnson, Ita Morrissey, Shane O’Reilly, Will Pinchin.
Actor/Musician:            Serena Brabazon
Playwright:                    Maeve Ingoldsby
Designer:                        Carol Betera
Outreach Officer:          Anna Galligan
Company Manager:      Vincent Dempsey
Artistic Director:            Philip Hardy

Also: Paul Curley (actor) and Ben Samuels (actor/musician) who were involved in the early stages of the project.

 

By Jay Manley, Gill Robertson & Annie Wood

Goose and Martha (Rita Hamill)

Goose and Martha (Rita Hamill) (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Martha doesn’t like anyone.

She’s a grumpy reclusive woman living in a hut on the beach.

She scares people away with her sharp tongue and her “Keep Out” signs, but she doesn’t bank on meeting an endearingly cheeky goose who can’t read and understand “No”.

The battle that ensues is full of fun and pathos and leads to a friendship that re-kindles in Martha a warmth towards those around her.

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By Maeve Ingoldsby

“In a highly entertaining manner, Silly Bits of Sky teaches us all a few valuable lessons for life” – The Irish Times, February 28th, 2007

Deggsie (Gus McDonagh) and Petey (Niall McDonagh)

Deggsie (Gus McDonagh) and Petey (Niall McDonagh) (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Lanky Murphy hates being teased about her height. Deggsie is fiercely sensitive to being slagged about his family circumstances. When his boast of having a brand new sleeping bag with a hood is challenged by Spider as “spoof” the lies snowball and Deggsie realises he will have to produce the sleeping bag or be found out.

Deggsie’s desperate efforts to part-borrow, part-earn the money he needs lead him to doing some work for Lanky’s granny, a feisty but insightful woman with whom he forges an unlikely friendship. But with his light-fingered and spacey brother Petey causing chaos wherever he goes and his mother’s failure to understand how important the sleeping bag is to him, Deggsie’s plan go awry. The only solution to his problem would mean betraying the trust of the one person who understands him…

A play for children aged 7 to 11 years.

Running time: 80 minutes.

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By Shaun Prendergast

World Première

“…offers plenty of activity, pace, scene-change and character…” – The Irish Times, March 13th, 2006

The Biggest Adventure in the World

The Biggest Adventure in the World (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Jonty has moved to a new area. His parents are overprotective and confine him to the back garden. When Mickser comes over the wall en route to a fair, Jonty gets the whiff of adventure. At the fair the boys meet Nadia, who is also there without permission. The three adventurers go treasure-hunting on a half sunken boat but when they find the remains of Captain Flint, things get hairy!

That’s the trouble with adventures; they often turn out to be darker and more dangerous than you ever expected and when Jonty is accidentally stabbed in a crocodile incident, Mickser and Nadia have difficult choices to make…

A play for children aged 8 -12 years.

Running time approx 80 minutes.

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By Medb Lambert,

Devised by Barnstorm Theatre Company

Dandelion, Country Mouse (Jody O'Neill)

Dandelion, Country Mouse (Jody O'Neill) (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Spike (Town Mouse) is a city slicker. He loves the fast pace of life, the bright lights and the noise and bustle of the town. Dandelion (Country Mouse) prefers the open spaces, the quiet and the simpler life of the country. What happens when they suddenly find themselves in the unfamiliar surroundings of each other’s very different worlds?

Based on Aesop’s fable, Town Mouse, Country Mouse takes the audiences on a magical journey into the world of the mischievous mice, while gently exploring themes of culture, diversity and understanding.

A play for children aged 4 – 6 years.

Running time approx 40 minutes.

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