Tag Archives: Kilkenny Arts Festival

Barnstorm Bench Tales – The world premiere of three new exciting plays in a series of open-air performances on park benches as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival. Clandestine meetings and chance encounters – the socially-distant audience ‘spied’ on the drama from afar in a unique theatre experience.

Bench Tales – There is Always Tomorrow by Joe Bergin A chance meeting between a young woman and an older man on a park bench may not be all that it seems.  Why has she come here and what is she looking for?  As she attempts to uncover the truth, is she fully prepared for what she might find?

Bench Tales – Pink Makes the Boys Wink by Julie Sharkey A comic, full of heart story about getting old. How time can creep up on us and take us by surprise. A story about three women. One woman’s compassion. One woman’s fear and one woman’s joy in Hello magazine.

Bench Tales – The Last Trip to Tipp by Gemma Creagh It’s 1994. Lorraine, Emma and Mairead are three friends heading in very different directions. Well not literally. Right now, they are all on their way to Féile – and with a line up like Crowded House, Primal Scream, The Prodigy, The Cranberries, Björk, and Blur – the craic will be fierce. With one mouldy tent, ancient sleeping bags and a fine slab of Lindon Village cans, they wait on a lift from their flaky friend, Suzanne – who’s late as usual.

Event details

DatesMon 14th to Sat 19th Aug 2023
Times11:00, 13:00 (lunchtime) & 15:00
Running timeapprox. 80 minutes
Ticket prices€20 (€17 concession)
Where3 locations in Castle Park (check with KAF)

… 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)