Today marks the launch of the 24th annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, with young Galway audiences set to enjoy two weeks of music, theatre, dance, art, and a wild ride of fun for the imagination.
The festivals runs from Monday October 5 to Sunday 18, and among the highlights will be Bell X1’s Paul Noonan presenting his children’s show The Electric Kazoo; the Bewley’s Café Theatre’s Wilde Stories; Cahoots NI’s new way of presenting theatre in The University of Wonder and Imagination; and live performances for children with additional needs.
“This year’s festival acknowledges the bravery of our incredible children who have journeyed with us through this bizarre time,” said Aislinn Ó hEocha, Baboró executive artistic director. “We have worked to create a programme that recognises how vital our young people are to our communities, how healing the arts can be and how creativity can help us all to make some sense of this world.”
Music and concerts
In Paul Noonan Presents: The Electric Kazoo, the Bell X1 front man is asking Galway children to bring their best teddy or stuffed toy, and their favourite adults, along to this mini-concert to songs tunes made with the help of children, stories, and of course, Bell X1 hits.
Scottish composer and cellist Greg Sinclair will be offering private concerts for families in A Piece of You, where he will creatie music inspired by the audience members’ own thoughts and feelings. Staying with classical music, Symphonic Waves – Meet the Strings! Will see 14 members of the string section of Symphonic Waves Youth Orchestra perform some of the greatest music for the string orchestra repertoire in an interactive, fun, concert designed for children.
The Barceló Brothers - two young brothers and their father - will perform Zydeco, R’nB, Blues, Soul, and Funk by the banks of Lough Corrib.
Theatre and performance
A heart-warming tale about archaeologist Mac and his grandmother, Paul Curley’s The Dig [pictured above] is a live show for children aged six and over, at The Mick Lally Theatre. Curley is amongst Ireland's most experienced theatre artists for young audiences. The Dig is his second collaboration with designer Ger Clancy.
In Wilde Stories, Bewley’s Café Theatre will present stage versions of two of Oscar Wilde’s greatest stories for children - Michael James Ford’s acclaimed version of The Happy Prince, and a new production of The Selfish Giant starring Bairbre Ni Chaoimh. Both shows are accompanied by the music of Prokofiev and Saint-Saëns performed by violinist, Philip Dodd.
Australian theatre company Threshold present Mountain Goat Mountain, where Galway children can explore tunnels, lava pits, and underwater caves without ever leaving their home. This is an audio-led theatre experience, specifically for this time of social distancing. It was created during the lockdown with artists collaborating entirely over Zoom, and designed to empower families to build their own theatrical world.
The University of Wonder & Imagination will be broadcast live into homes and schools from Cahoots NI’s purpose-built set in Belfast. Prof Bamberg will send participants on a self-navigated quest where nothing is quite as it seems, and where they will be able to interact with lecturers, enter themed rooms, and encounter all kinds of puzzles, unlocking their magical powers as they go.
Birdboy from United Fall and choreographer Emma Martin, tells the story of a boy who wished he was a bird, so he could fly away and be free of his worries. Emma Martin will be familiar to Galway audiences from her opera directing debut, in a co-production with Irish National Opera, of Orfeo ed Euridice (Galway International Arts Festival 2018 ) and her work in Arlington (GIAF 2016 ).
Jojo Hynes’ exhibition She Crashes In and Fizzles Out at the Galway Arts Centre will explore the myth and mystery of female water deities from across the world, through film, sound, painting, and drawing. Also exhibiting are young artists who took part in virtual workshops facilitated by Jojo during Cruinniú na nÓg Galway, who have invented their own myths about their locality.
Jojo will also lead live workshops, entitled Local Legends Laboratories, at the Galway Arts Centre, with children taking inspiration from local stories and waterways to devise new myths and legends, using physical theatre and improvised storytelling to create new fables.
Look out for colourful art installations made by families in parks around Galway as part of Colour My Life: Brighten Your Day. There will also be the online Toodlelou art activities at home. Toodlelou encourages children to make art at home and then put it on display for their community to enjoy, so participants will be making a colourful rock garden full of painted rocks; hanging messages in a wishing tree; and creating art in the park with materials found in nature.
For children with additional needs
Sing Me To The Sea is a magical, watery, adventure for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and their families, from theatre director Anna Newell, with composer David Goodall. It will play for families and school children in the beautiful gardens of The Ardilaun Hotel.
In Brigit’s Garden, Phillida Eves will invite families with young children with additional educational needs to Go Wild With Art, a multi-sensory art experience taking inspiration from the gardens. For children on the autistic spectrum, with learning disabilities or with sensory needs Phillida will present Hear Our Voice!, an interactive theatrical experience with live music and multi-sensory fun to create the experience of camping under the stars.
Scéalta ó Baboró is a series of readings for young children by Irish authors broadcast on TG4. The readings will be filmed at iconic spots around Galway in a collaboration between Baboró and TG4. It will be broadcast the week of October 12 on Cúla4 Ar Scoil.
Children’s Books Ireland will host a series of its popular Book Clinic sessions online. This is a chance for young readers, looking for a new series to delve into, to have a consultation with an expert ‘book doctor’ over Zoom and get a prescription for their next book to take to their local bookshop or library.
Sneak peeks: works in progress
The award winning Bombinate Theatre, will present Goodnight Egg, which is in the final stages of its development. Live performances in The Mick Lally Theatre will offer audiences aged between three and six, a chance to see how hard it can be to get to sleep.
Meet Luke is a hilarious, moving, and interactive piece from Luke - Mairéad Folan’s mobility aid. Sick of being uncredited as a supporting actor, and not seeing members of his community as lead characters, this production tells the stories of Luke’s journey through life, from surviving the Irish educational system to the perils of dating.
The full programme can be viewed on www.baboro.ie Tickets will be on sale at 10am Monday September 14.