AUTUMN IS upon us once more, season of mist and mellow fruitfulness...and Baboró. Details of this year’s festival were unveiled at a packed reception in Il Vicolo on Monday evening and October will see Baboró embark on a fantastical journey of flying suitcases, dancing feet, vanishing queens, wild adventures, curious giants and toe-tapping tunes.
Offering a feast of treats for children big and small, plus grown-ups, this year’s festival, which runs from October 17 to 23, features thrilling shows from Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, and Britain. Over seven days of theatre, dance, music, puppetry, film, animation, exhibitions, talks, and workshops, Baboró will enchant young and old alike in venues throughout Galway.
Programme highlights include a beautifully tender story from one of Europe’s most exciting theatre companies, Kopergietery from Belgium. The Queen Has Vanished features live music and illustration that speaks to children and adults alike about the power of hope, when it seems that all is lost. Dream City from De Dansers in Holland is a high energy live music and dance show inspired by the fairgrounds of Dream City, Iraq; an exhilarating and thought-provoking ode to children in war zones, where the ability to dream is essential to survival.
It is interesting to see Baboró shows like Dream City, Gold Digger, and A Feast of Bones touching on ‘grown up’ themes such as war and migration which impinge so often on our modern headlines. “I think it is really important the festival can do that,” says Baboró director Aislinn O’hEocha. “The news is everywhere and children have access, even inadvertently, to those images. You can’t ignore them. For me that is one of the wonderful things about the arts, for adults and particularly children, they open up these conversations and create a safe space to explore the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of life.”
Other highlights of the festival include Whoosh! from Alle Hoeken van de Kammermuziek in Holland, a charming introduction to the power of live music, featuring three wonderful musicians. I Pack My Bag from Theater Nuu in Austria is a playful show full of humour, dance, movement and song exploring fantasy, imagination, and the simple games children love to play.
Ailie Cohen from Scotland presents an immersive puppet show packed with wit where we join Larry as his world gets turned upside down in The Secret Life of Suitcases. Aston’s Stones from Teater Pero in Sweden reminds us of the joy that the simplest things, even a little stone, can bring to our lives. Closer to home, Galway’s Branar present a new bi-lingual show developed especially for babies and toddlers. Set in a soft tactile environment, The Shape of Things is an interactive story told through puppetry, object theatre, music, and sound.
Youth Ballet West have created a show filled with drama, acrobatics and high energy dance in Alice Underground; a modern interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice tales. This year also sees the welcome return of Theatre Lovett with their wonderful musical fable, A Feast of Bones while Monkeyshine are back with Voyage, an electrifying new play inspired by Gulliver’s Travels.
Artists Deirdre Rogers and Orla Kelly hold court at Baboró’s Creative Lab at NUI Galway; a place to invent, create and build using a wealth of unusual materials from tubing to foam gleaned from Recreate’s Warehouse of Wonders. Elsewhere, Robotic Adventures from Colmac enables children to be creative and innovative while learning skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering, maths, and computer programming.
“One of the areas I was looking at was creative engagement,” says festival director Aislinn O’hEocha. “Alongside all the wonderful shows, we are giving children the opportunity to ‘get their hands dirty’ through getting involved in the festival. We always had workshops but I wanted to augment that, last year we had the Happy Heart Zone with artists Orla Kelly and Deirdre Rogers, one of whom specialises with early years kids and the other has worked with schools and outreach programmes.
"We partnered with Recreate last year and are doing so again this year. Baboro’s creative lab is an open area where you can experiment and it’s all about free expression all guided by Orla and Deirdre so I’m very excited about that. Then there’s Robotic Adventures which will include a lot of cutting edge materials and they will encourage the kids to build to their hearts’ content.”
Other events in the wonder-packed Baboró programme include exhibitions, readings, film, storytelling and even talks for grown ups. Get browsing and get booking! Full programme details available at www.baboro.ie