Tag Archives: Youth

‘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)


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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An educational programme that uses drama to explore different aspects of communication. The programme starts with a meeting with the school to discuss aims and objectives and to explore what may be beneficial for participants.

This is followed by an Introductory Workshop with the class or group to determine group needs and dynamics.

Group drama session with Transition Years

The First Session looks at sharing leadership, active listening and ends with an improvisation circle. This session introduces drama elements and works on group dynamics.

The Second Session focuses on subtext and communication.  After warm-up exercises participants work with scripts to explore how tone can change the meaning of what we say. 

Young person makes a facial expression

The Third Session looks at non-verbal communication.  What are the elements of non-verbal communication? What non-verbal messages do we get from others?  What non-verbal messages do we give off? There is exploration of emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger and fear; how we portray them and how we recognise them.

The Fourth Session looks at status; personal and societal status. Some topics explored are: how do we recognise status; how do we show status; what is the difference between personal and societal status and how does status effect our relationships?  The methodologies used are drama exercises, feedback and script.

Drama Session in The Barn

The Fifth Session looks at spontaneity as an element of communication as we are not always able to control our environment or our impulses.

Communication Through Drama first took place with the Transition Year Students at Duiske College, Graiguenamanagh in November and December 2012.

For more information on this programme contact Anna Galligan, Outreach Officer. Tel. 056 7751266



….. an exciting and innovative outreach theatre project which was the result of a month’s intensive investigation, development and rehearsal with a group of local teenagers in 2007.

Outreach Officer Ronán MacRaois, worked with diverse groups in the city and county over a 6-month period, and through open workshop/auditions selected eight of them to develop a theatre performance based on teenage stereotypes.

Over a month the young actors created the original piece of theatre through a daily routine of drama/theatre workshops involving games and exercises, the development of performance & improvisational skills; and exploration of themselves, their own opinions and ideas.

“This is an opportunity for local young people to create new and refreshing theatre – we won’t just be putting this performance on a standard stage, we will be experimenting with public spaces and challenging people’s expectations” said Ronán.

Nerd, Goth, Blond, Skanger, Bully, Bitch

Stereotypes - The Cast

STEREOTYPES (a.k.a NERD GOTH BLONDE SCANGER BULLY BITCH) was performed on Aug 31st and Sept 1st in The Barn with a cast of eight.


Tom Barry, Hannah Frister, Culan Furey, Rosey Hayes, Lynsey Moran, Jake Moylan, Sinéad Phelan, Chantelle Walsh

Director:                    Ronán Mac Raois
Stage Manager:        Dror Zur
Lighting operator:    Ray Barrett




Pupils at St. Grennan's School

'I remember...'

In May 2005, Barnstorm and the Transition Year students of Grennan College, Thomastown in Couty Kilkenny presented Forward Through The Past, a devised one-act play.

This was an inter-generational community project. The play was the culmination of an eight-month project that introduced the students to theatre and drama and encouraged dialogue/ connections with the senior citizens in the community.

Initially students were introduced to theatre through a range of drama workshops, during which they learned drama skills as well as developing interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and self-confidence.  The students then interviewed senior citizens in the community- family members, friends or neighbours- to find out what life was like when they were teenagers.

Using the results of their research, and working under the guidance of playwright Ken Bourke, the students developed a script around the similarities and differences between the experiences of their elders and their own lives as teenagers.  The result was a thought-provoking and honest comment on the changing and the prevailing values and concerns in today’s society.

Forward Through the Past was presented in the Community Hall in Thomastown to an audience made up of the the older citizens who fed into the project, the students & teachers of the Grennan College, families, friends and the general public. Performances were 14th & 15th May 2005.

The Outreach Programme received generous support from the Irish Youth Foundation in 2004-2005.




The Antigone Project was a 21st century re-working of Sophocles’ famous Greek Tragedy.  It was part of Barnstorm’s Bring it Home 2004 programme. This was a drama programme with Kilkenny teens, run by two former Barnstorm members, who were studying drama at college.

This particular project culminated in three sell-out performances of The Antigone Project at Ormonde Multi-Storey car park during KAF.)

The aim of Bring it Home was to encourage and nurture the skills and talents of young Kilkenny people who had worked with Barnstorm in the past and to encourage those who were now pursuing a career in theatre production to share their skills with others in Kilkenny.  The programme was led by local Kilkenny people Medb Lambert and Liz Fitzgerald. Medb and Liz were both studying drama at Trinity College at the time.

Medb is from Kells, and is one of the Lambert family, well-known throughout the country for the Lambert National Puppet Theatre.  She had written a number of plays – Catch a Butterfly, Counting Chickens, Mahogany Birds – and adapted Sophocles’ original Antigone for this project.

Liz hailed from Watergate and was formerly an actor and a stage manager with Barnstorm.  She had been involved in theatre for many years.

Having met in college, Liz and Medb decided they would like to create more opportunities for young people in Kilkenny to get involved in theatre.

In July 2004 twelve young people answered the call to take part in a summer programme of drama/theatre workshops and rehearsals, with the aim of creating an exciting play to be performed in unusual and unconventional space during the Kilkenny Arts Festival.  Using Medb and Liz’s skills of theatre, adaptation and multimedia and the groups own talents in the areas of video, costume and graphic design, the group created a piece to be performed in Ormonde Street Car Park.  The car park location echoed Greek theatre’s traditional performance space, the amphitheatre.

The Antigone Project was performed from 10th – 12th of August with a cast of twelve young people.