Tag Archives: youth theatre

Three of many writers were chosen to develop their ideas with support and guidance from Barnstorm and to ultimately produce the plays in 2024. For Cruinniú na nÓg 2023 young people will explore elements of the three scripts in a process to support the development of the young writers’ plays.

On Saturday 10 June we will work with  3 plays  3 workshops   8-15 young actors   2 facilitators  +  you

Each session will work on one of the plays from the Triptych

Where: Barnstorm Studio, 3 John’s Quay, Kilkenny R95T382

Session 1             11:00 – 12:00

Session 2             14:00 – 15:00

Session 3             17:00 – 18:00

Phone 0567751266 to book a place to observe or contribute to the play development process

This project is funded by the Kilkenny Creative Ireland Programme 2023.



‘Barnstorm has been one of the best experiences of my life and I will forever treasure the laughs, the shows, the workshops and the incredible friends I made. The confidence and acceptance you gain from being part of this group is unparalleled’ Stephanie (member 2018 to date)

‘Coming out of lockdown and working with such a lovely, fun and talented group of people, getting to know them and work with them, has been amazing. Barnstorm is a place where we can all come and be ourselves, as loud and as mad as we want without being judged, and I am very grateful for it.’ Ruby, 16 (member 2019 – to date)

‘The Youth Theatre is one of my favourite organisations in Kilkenny. Through it I managed to make friends and enjoy myself immensely.’  Matthew (member 2016 to date)

‘’ …thank you so much for all your hard work and effort over the past two years and I can honestly say that those two years have benefited me tremendously….’  Eimear, 17

How do I join Barnstorm Youth Theatre?

Fill in your Expression of Interest BYT September 23 – May 24

Barnstorm Theatre Company has three youth theatre groups:

    Senior (SYT) for those at least 14+ yrs,

    Middle (MYT) for those in 1st and 2nd year

    Junior (JYT) for those in 5th and 6th class

Barnstorm Youth Theatre (BYT) runs from September to May/June and takes in new members each September.  The closing date each year for applications is the 31st of August.  Those interested can express their interest by using the link above.

Where groups are over-subscribed, open workshops are held during the first full week in September when the ways we work is demonstrated and an informal Question & Answer session about the youth theatre is held.

We to make room for everyone who is interested, this is not always possible due to resources and numbers.  If there needs to be a selection of new members, it is based on the gender, geographical and age breakdown of the current group and the applicant’s reason for joining, and their participation in the open workshop.

Senior Youth Theatre

Tuesday from 5.30 – 7.30pm.  The annual production takes place in the week following the Easter school holidays.  There is an additional time commitment expected for rehearsals, however consideration is given to other commitments e.g. exams, school etc.

Middle Youth Theatre

Wednesdays from 4.30 – 6.00pm.  The year comes to an end in May with a performance for family and friends.  There may be some extra tie commitment around the time of production which takes place on weekend in May.

Junior Youth Theatre

Thursdays from 4.00 – 5.30pm.  The year finishes in summer with a performance showcase for parents and friends, usually at a weekend in June.  There is no or minimal additional time commitment expected.


The annual membership fee is €250. This includes a registration fee of €70 to secure a place & the balance of €180 is due by December.  There is a discount of €25 per sibling and there are a limited number of scholarships available. Just ask Rosey rosey@barnstorm.ie

About Barnstorm Youth Theatre (BYT) in Kilkenny

Founded in 1991, BYT’s main aim is to produce theatre by young people for young people.  The youth theatre is child and young person centered and concentrates on drama and theatre skills.  There is no previous experience or a wish to have a career in theatre required.

The programme includes weekly workshops during the school year and one production a year.  

The workshops are facilitated by Rosey Hayes.  Rosey was member of a youth theatre, has trained and worked as a professional actor and director.


Macbeth by William Shakespeare (2023)
XIV Fourteen by Droichead Youth Theatre (2022)
Alice in Wonderland adapted for stage by Anna Galligan (2019) – new production
There is Only Now by Anna Galligan, devised with SYT (2018)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (2017)
The House of Oedipus by Anna Galligan (2016)
Alice in Wonderland adapted for stage by Anna Galligan (2015)
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (2014)
KoHL devised by Droichead Youth Theatre with Sharon Cromwell (2013)
Gormanghast by Mervyn Peake, adapted by John Constable (2012)
Paving Paradise by Richard Conlon (2011)
A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini (2010)
Burying Your Brother in the Pavement by Jack Thorne (2009)
The Exam by Andy Hamilton (2008)

Us and Them by David Campton (2022)
(Note: MYT was formed in 2019 and due to the pandemic did not put on staged productions)

Us and Them by David Campton (2022)
Scattered by James Butler (2019)
Don’t Shoot the Messenger by John Morton in collaboration with JYT (2018)
The Girl with The Golden Hair by Anna Galligan, devised with JYT (2017)
Trapped devised by Physically Phishy written by Geraldine O’ Neill (2016)
Grandad’s Diary devised by JYT with Anna Galligan (2015)
School Lockers three one acts designed and directed by JYT (2014)
In Quest of a Play devised by Physically Phishy written by Geraldine O’ Neill (2013)
Don’t Shoot the Messenger by John Morton in collaboration with the JYT (2012)
Beowulf devised by JYT, written by Anna Galligan (2011)
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare – abridged (2010)
Mythika devised by JYT (2009)
The Dahl Project devised by JYT (2008)



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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oedipus-Jocasta and Oedipusoedipus-Creonoedipus-Elders


oedipus2_Lose your stubbornessoedipus2_worthless son


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.

barnstorm-present-romeo-and-juliet-8-wp barnstorm-present-romeo-and-juliet-15wp barnstorm-theatre-present-romeo-and-juliet-18wp barnstorm-present-romeo-and-juliet-16wp

'Clean livin' don't happen in a dirty town'

In their sixth production since restarting in 2007, KYT took on the genre of Film Noir in the guise of ‘KoHL’ – originally devised by Droichead Youth Theatre with Sharon Cromwell in 2008.

The Youth Theatre travelled back in time to New York during The Prohibition: gangsters, molls, illegal booze, a private eye with integrity and a newshound thirsty for a story.

Mia Swan, who has been looking desperately for her beloved sister, turns to Max Cole, a private investigator. She admits ‘I can’t say I’ve had the world’s greatest family background’ and fears for her sister’s life. The Prohibition has been in situ, to Leon Antonelli’s greatest advantage, for seven years.  He runs a ‘regular theatre’ with dancers and a show for his customers but Julia Stone, a fearless News Reporter, knows the real game. All she needs is evidence. As she goes undercover and Max seeks out Mia’s sister the story of this underworld unfolds.  Who knew what could happen in a dirty town?

The confines of the genre and the presence of stereotypes pushed the young actors in a new direction and also provided much laughter in rehearsals as the cast and director teetered between depth and superficiality.

With a cast of sixteen young people, KoHL performed to packed houses at The Barn on the 11th-13th of April and was directed by Anna Galligan.

KoHL was performed with the permission of the NAYD as part of their New Stage programme.  Kilkenny Youth Theatre is a proud member of NAYD. More info at www.nayd.ie.

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Photos: Ross Costigan Photography



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 Richard Conlon 

Paving Paradise

Cast - The Tree, Students and Protestors

Chris has a headache, a migraine, he’s off form and now he has to work with the ’geeks’ of the school on an Environmental Project, you just know it’s not going to be his week…or is it? He becomes the centre of attention not only of his peers but of local and international media, and all he wanted to do was pick up some litter at the park…Life is never goes the way you think, especially when you have a headache!

Following on from the incredible success of Burying Your Brother in the Pavement by Jack Thorne and Moira Buffini’s A Vampire Story, Kilkenny Youth Theatre chose a vibrant and thought-provoking play that asks us what is our responsibility in taking care of our world.

The play jumped between the real world of school and the unreal stories of the students’ imaginations.  They battle with working together as a team and getting a job done. Chris, always on the outside of the group, struggles more than others. He says he’s ill but is he just a layabout?

In the end Chris’s difference provides the solution to the others problem of getting the job done.

Directed by Anna Galligan, Paving Paradise ran at The Barn from the 15th – 17th April 2011 with a cast of sixteen young people.



By Moira Buffini

A Vampire Story

A Vampire Story

Following on from the incredible success of Burying Your Brother in the Pavement by Jack Thorne, Kilkenny Youth Theatre chose a tale of the gothic and the everyday: A Vampire Story.

Two young women arrive in a nameless British small town. Their names are not their own. They don’t declare their ages. Are they sisters as their assumed identities declare? Or are they mother and daughter? Are Ella and Claire vampires? Or are they troubled young women on the run?

Ella tells Frank she has qualms about killing people and frequently goes hungry. But her so-called sister has no conscience. Frank, also an outsider, thinks she’s delusional but fascinating. And while he tries to get to the bottom of her delusion, things start to fall apart, people start to disappear and her class mates begin to believe it could be true.

Written by multi-award winning playwright Moira Buffini (born in England to Irish parents), in 2011 A Vampire Story was in the process of being adapted for the big screen under the title Byzantium, with irish actress, Saoirse Ronan in the role of Ella.  In a recent interview with CultureNorthernIreland.org about A Vampire Story Moira says she writes plays for young people and wants them to be able to stage them with absolutely minimal resources. ‘All you need is a potato peeler,’ the playwright smirks. ‘A potato peeler and a pint of blood.’

And there was plenty of both when Kilkenny Youth Theatre performed Moira Buffini’s A Vampire Story to full houses from April 15th to Saturday 17th at The Barn, directed by Anna Galligan with a cast of eleven.

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By Jack Thorne

Burying Your Brother

Tom and the pavement

ilkenny Youth Theatre had been developing a reputation for its innovative choice of plays and excellent production standards! Having carefully chosen the script for their main production in 2009 the KYT senior members (13-18 year olds) chose Jack Thorne’s Burying Your Brother in the Pavement, a vibrant and provocative play about grief, family, love and growing up.

Tom’s brother Luke is dead, killed by a broken bottle to the neck. They were never friends. It’s an odd decision to try to bury Luke in the pavement… at the point where he was brutally murdered.

Directed by Ronan MacRaois it ran in The Barn from 22 – 25 April 2009