Baboró ambassador – Ger Power

We’re halfway through the 19th Baboró International Arts Festival for Children but there’s still lots more to see, right up until Sunday. Every year, thousands of school children from all around Galway city, county and further afield come to Baboró. This week as part of our Baboró Ambassador series, we meet Ger Power – a Primary School Teacher and a Baboró enthusiast.

Ger Power.

Ger Power.

One of my favourite Baboró memories is:

I have brought many different classes to Baboró from junior infants to sixth class over the years and each visit has delivered some fantastic memories. The excitement of the children prior to the show, and watching the enthusiasm and delight on their faces during the performance, is very rewarding for me as a teacher. A precious memory is when a child who is struggling academically comes to life and partakes in the show. Afterwards a fresh enthusiasm for school is developed. At last year’s show,“The Elves and the Shoemaker“by Fidget Feet, I witnessed wonder, belief and innocence expressed by the infants who were constantly engaged by the performance. A personal favourite of mine is any production by Theatre Lovett; Louis Lovett’s delivery is always worth watching and you’re guaranteed a laugh.

I’m honoured to be asked to be an ambassador for Baboró. I have enjoyed bringing children to a variety of shows and seeing their reactions to the various performances since the late 1990s. 

I think Baboró is an important festival for Galway because:

Galway is very fortunate to have Baboró in its festival calendar. It brings a variety of high calibre, national and international performances to the children of Galway.  As a city steeped in culture, it’s important to instil a love of the arts in children. The festival offers a group rate for schools and subsidises the bus cost which renders it great value for money. The free workshops are also a huge benefit to the children and Baboró also provides stewards to escort the children from the bus to the venue which is a wonderful help.

The Schools’ Liaison Officer, Fiona Lawless, is always on hand to lend advice in selecting the performance to meet the needs of your class. In my experience, even if a class doesn’t get their first choice, they always enjoy the performance and enjoy the day out so it’s always worth the effort. It’s important to expose the children to the arts at an early age as it teaches children empathy. Storytelling and puppetry are still as effective; if children are exposed to live theatre and the arts when younger they may be more willing to get involved in these activities as they get older. The success and excitement associated with the festival is attributed to the vision and helpfulness of the staff, past and present.

The young people in our Galway schools are very lucky to have such a gem of a festival in their midst.

What I’m really looking forward to at this year’s festival:

Congratulations to Fíbín on their recent IFTA nomination for “Saol Faoi Shráid“. The magic of those puppets is never ending. I am bringing the infant classes to see “Guess How Much I Love You” and the countdown has started in earnest. The children are giving me great reports of “Paper World” and “Bake“, while others have also booked weekend performances. I’m sure to get updates well into next week.  

The highlight for me for this year’s festival is that my nieces Aisling 8, Cara 6, and Sinead 4 are coming from Clare to stay; it’s their “birthday weekend”. This is a relatively new tradition in the family where the children get to choose a performance of their choice for their birthday. This year we are going to the interactive exhibition in Galway Arts Centre, “A History of Play”, a puppetry workshop with the Mermaid theatre company and the highlight for me will probably be reliving my childhood when I see CoisCéim’s “The Wolf and Peter”.  I’m really interested to see what the wolf has to say for himself! We will no doubt, as other years, create a weekend of family memories and have many a laugh to remember for years to come. 

BIOGRAPHY – Geraldine Power

Ger Power is originally from Limerick and has now settled in Galway.  She’s a primary school teacher and has taught in special needs and mainstream education for many years. An ardent drama producer for children since her teens, she has a keen interest in drama and has witnessed the positive impact of the arts in the educational environment. Consequently this positive impact from Baboró prompted Ger to undertake a Master’s degree in Education through the Arts.  Ger fulfils her art interest by volunteering as a performer for Macnas where she has learned from the professionals. 

The 19th Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is now on and runs until Sunday October 18th. To book tickets and for the full programme see baboro.ie or call 091 569 777.

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