Tag Archives: childrens theatre Kilkenny


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.

Photo of children's fairy-folk designs pinned on wall

Montage of children’s fairy-folk designs

As part of The Ice Child design team Costume Designer Catherine Fay’s job is to bring the characters of the fairy-folk to life.

Children from local schools were invited to send in their ideas of what Irish fairy-folk might look like in Ireland of 2014. For research, children were advised to talk to relatives at home about folk tales and stories they might have heard growing up.

A big thanks to Ms. Lowry and all of 3rd Class St Michael’s NS, Holy Cross, Thurles for this selection!

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A new Irish fairy-tale by Mike Kenny.

“a quirky thought-provoking modern fairy tale, it was undoubtedly a highlight of the Belfast Children’s Festival” –  Belfast Telegraph, March 2014

“Spellbinding performances in The Ice Child”- Kilkenny People, March 2014

The fairy-folk bell chorus

The fairy-folk bell chorus

You can’t trust the fairy-folk. They stole the baby and left the Ice Child in its place.

The Ice Child is not like other children. He’s lost in a world that doesn’t understand and doesn’t welcome him.

The Ice Child can’t be hugged, can’t be cuddled. He’ll melt. How do you love a child that can’t be touched? And what is love anyway – when you come right down to it?

This is a tale of growing up different. It’s a fairy story – a story told by the fairies about people. And it’s a love story – a story about love.

Using sound, real-time video and live performance, a motley band of contemporary sídhe (Irish fairy-folk) enact a dazzling once-upon-a-time tale about people.

Commissioned and produced by Barnstorm, the world premiere will take place at the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny on 27th February.

Family Performance on Saturday 1st March at 7.30pm. Bookings: 056 7761674

A play for children aged 8+

Running time: 55 minutes approximately

Tickets: €10 / €7 for school groups

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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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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 Mike Kenny

“(The cast).. maintain a breathless momentum using a series of economical theatrical devices that call for the imaginative collaboration of the audience.” – Irish Theatre Magazine

Naz (Paul Curley) and Mum (Céire O'Donoghue) (Photo: Dylan Vaughan)

Boy with a Suitcase - Naz (Paul Curley) and Mum (Céire O'Donoghue) (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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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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