Tag Archives: senior youth theatre



oedipus2_I have no natural craving for the name of king

If a person commits a crime but does not know it is a crime, are they guilty?

Barnstorm’s Kilkenny Youth Theatre presented an epic tale of Greek tragedy, ‘The House of Oedipus’, a story of one man’s family doomed from the beginning.  Following on from the success of the ultimate tale of star-crossed lovers, William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Alice’s absurd journey into Wonderland, Kilkenny Youth Theatre took on the world of gods and men.

‘The House of Oedipus’ had a cast of 18 young Kilkenny people who presented this tale of Oedipus,  a man who kills his father and marries his mother with dire consequences.  It was adapted by Anna Galligan from four Greek tragedies, ‘Oedipus Rex’, ‘Oedipus at Colonus’ and ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles and ‘Seven at Thebes’ by Euripides.   Following a workshop programme designed to introduce theatrical elements of Greek chorus work, it was a challenge that the group were ready for.

Brian O’Hanrahan, who played Oedipus, said, “Playing the role of Oedipus was both a new and familiar experience for me.  Having played a leading role previously, I had some idea of what to expect, though Oedipus’s interesting character progression was a fresh and enjoyable challenge.”

David Collison playing Eteocles, Oedipus’ son. He said “being part of the Greek Chorus was a new experience for me and the prospect of my fellow actors and I working as one was both challenging and entertaining.”

Anna Galligan, Barnstorm’s Outreach Officer and Director of the play said “Last year we looked at a play of a small world, where everything took play inside one character’s head.  This year it’s the exact opposite, three generations of family, two countries, murders, war, and one of the great law questions – if you do not know you were committing a crime when you committed it, are you guilty? The Greeks didn’t do ‘small’!’

‘The House of Oedipus’ ran from Thursday 7th – Saturday 9th April, with a matinee on 9th April, at The Barn, Church Lane, Kilkenny.

photos by Ken McGuire

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Barnstorm_AliceInWonderland_ForWeb-1104‘I am not a child, I am nearly thirteen!’ – Alice

Barnstorm’s Kilkenny Youth Theatre presents Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  Over the years there has been the love and death of Romeo and Juliet, the twisted Gormenghast and a theatrical take on film noir, KoHL,  Kilkenny Youth Theatre now look forward to taking one of the most loved childhood stories and adapting it for the stage.

Adapted for stage by Anna Galligan, KYT’s Alice is 12 and ½ years of age and it bothers her to still be thought of as a child.  Why do all these other people get to make the decisions, confuse her and boss her? After all, she is nearly thirteen.

Alice In Wonderland has a cast of 21 young people from all around Kilkenny county. The production’s costume and set design takes its influence from the steampunk genre, a suggestion from KYT members, where the design and look incorporates technology with 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery, which lended itself perfectly to the madness of Wonderland.

James Kennedy, who plays the Cheshire Cat, says that he enjoys working on Alice in Wonderland and that “it is a unique magical world that takes you away from reality”. James loves being part of Kilkenny Youth Theatre and “feels that the connection has grown so strong that it now feels like a family.”

Orla McGovern plays the Gryphon. She says that bringing something so well-known to life is very challenging and it is great as an actor to find new ways to present such familiar characters. She said the youth theatre “lets you learn lots of new skills in a fun and interesting way” and that things are taught so that it feels like “the skills and knowledge simply sweep in”.

Anna Galligan, Barnstorm’s Outreach Officer and director of the play, says “Alice in Wonderland has seen many adaptations, from Disney to Burton. We remained true to Lewis Carroll’s original books, especially Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  The main change is that Alice is now 12 and ½ years of age; as Humpty says ‘a most uncomfortable age’.  It is a time when we begin to leave childhood and enter our teenage years. Most of our group have recent experience of this, so we thought it would be interesting to do. There are also great opportunities to work as an ensemble, especially in the larger scenes of the Queen’s Garden and the Knave’s Trial. It is an insane story so it presented us with challenges as to how we could see what is theatrically possible.’

Update: Alice In Wonderland ran to full houses from Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th April at 7.30pm, with a matinée on 18th April at 3pm, at The Barn, Church Lane, Kilkenny (behind St. Canice’s Cathedral).  It saw some of our youngest audience members yet!


Photos: ross@rosscostiganphotography.ie

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Phone: 353 86 7733391 Email: ross@rosscostiganphotography.ie

Barnstorm_AliceInWonderland_ForWeb-1007 Alice poster final



Love, hate, death, youth, kissing, fighting – Shakespeare, now he knew how to write a play!

For their seventh production Barnstorm’s Kilkenny Youth Theatre presented the ultimate tale of star-crossed lovers, William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Following on from the success of the twisted Gormenghast and the noir KoHL, Kilkenny Youth Theatre look forward to taking on The Bard.

‘Romeo & Juliet’ had a cast of 14 young Kilkenny people who presented this tale of woe, of joy, of love and hate, youth and age, life and death. In true Kilkenny Youth Theatre fashion, the production took the twist of taking influences from Japanese Manga to inspire costume and props whilst maintaining the richness of Shakespeare’s language.

Alannah Canton, 17, played Lady Capulet. She said she was excited about acting in Romeo & Juliet and says ‘It is good to see how it translates onto the stage’, and that performing in the play ‘makes it easier to see the relationships between the characters’.

Emily McGee, 14, who played Benvolio, hadn’t started to study Shakespeare in school and was nervous the language would be hard to understand but says ‘Shakespeare is much easier to understand by acting it out’ and thinks that ‘playing it first and watching it will make it easier for anyone who hasn’t studied it yet.’

The reason Kilkenny Youth Theatre chose ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was most people loved the play and some where about to study it.  When most young people first encounter Shakespeare, it is usually in the context of language and study, rather than live performance.  It was hoped that this experience would change that for the group and the young people who came to see it.

‘Romeo & Juliet’ is ran to full houses for four performances – Thursday 1st-Saturday 3rd May at 8pm, with a matinee on 3rd May at 3pm –  at The Barn, Church Lane, Kilkenny.

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Steerpike and the twins Photo: Redbird Photography

Steerpike and the twins Photo: Redbird Photography

For their fifth production since restarting in 2008, Kilkenny Youth Theatre told the story  of Gormenghast.  This production was based on the legendary trilogy of books by Mervyn Peake and the stage adaptation was written by John Constable.

Amongst the dark and cold, granite walls of Gormenghast Castle an heir is born, Titus Groan, the 77th Earl of Groan.  The son of ineffectual father and a distant mother, who are bound by iron laws, dead rituals and traditions that have been obeyed for generations and must be obeyed by the generations to come.

As Titus Groan becomes a young man, he wants nothing more than to go beyond the Iron Gate into the free world and to leave behind the chains of ritual and rules that bind him.  He wants to be free.

In the depths of the crumbling castle, a kitchen boy sees himself as more than his ghastly beginnings.  He wants Gormenghast. At each given opportunity he raises himself up through the ranks of the castle and he will stop at nothing: coercion, seduction, murder.

In the half-lit corridors, we see how their lives entwine and their destinies collide, until the very existence of Gormenghast is shaken to its core.

This production was very well received and pushed the boundaries of design and performance for Kilkenny Youth Theatre.  It was chosen to show how the seemingly impossible was possible using theatre language  and form.

Gormenghast ran from 19th –  21st April at The Barn, featuring a cast of sixteen young people from Kilkenny city and county was directed by Anna Galligan.

Photos by Redbird Photography

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By Andy Hamilton

The Exam

The Exam

Kilkenny Youth Theatre (KYT) was re-launched in September 2007, providing a vibrant programme of theatre workshops and activities to 13—18 year olds on a weekly basis.

The Exam was KYT’s first annual performance of its return.  The production was specifically chosen for both its great comic writing and relevant themes that reflect young people’s lives. This was in keeping with KYT’s policy of “theatre for young people and by young people”.

The Exam followed three sixteen year olds battling through the ordeal of a high-pressure exam: Bea, nicknamed “Two-Brains”,  imprisoned by other people’s expectations of her cleverness; Chas, a popular and chaotic underachiever, who invents his own slang; Andrew, a frenetic worrier, who is starts to think and talk like a middle-aged man and has an ulcer to prove it! They must come to terms with themselves, their peers and parents. They were joined onstage by worryingly well written examples of disastrous parenthood, some seriously self-obsessed teaching staff and “Ex”, the disembodied voice of the exam!

The Exam was written by the award winning author Andy Hamiliton – the genius behind British TV comedies “Not the Nine O’ Clock News” and “Drop the Dead Donkey”.

Directed by Ronan MacRaois with a cast of 12 (and one cat!), The Exam ran for four performances from 22nd – 24th May at The Barn.