THE PROGRAMME of the 17th Baboró International Arts Festival for children and families, which takes place from October 14 to 20, was unveiled at a reception on Monday morning at Il Vicolo café on Augustine Street.
The programme features superb work from Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, and the USA. Audiences, young and old alike, will be captivated by the very best in theatre, puppetry, music, silent disco, exhibitions, literature and arts and science workshops.
Baboró 2013’s line-up features Collapsing Horse Theatre Company’s acclaimed Human Child inspired by Yeats’s poem ‘The Stolen Child’ and the Abbey Theatre’s Me, Mollser which tells the story of Mollser, from O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars.
Catherine Wheels Theatre’s Lifeboat tells the amazing true story of two young girls who survived the sinking of a torpedoed ship in WWII. Frozen Charlotte’s Paperbelle is a world of black and white that gradually transforms into spectacular colour; Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker’s curious cloud expert Cloudia goes in search of the Cloud Man; Theater Papilio’s visually arresting Dot presents a universe of music and images using simple shapes and lines; and there will be Róisín Beag’s (the Róisín Dubh ) zombie and vampire fancy dress Silent Disco.
Festival favourites La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi perform two delightful shows, the Wall-E-like character Spot whose emotions are reflected through technology and Cappuccetto Rosso (Red Riding Hood ) which reflects the imaginary games of childhood with some great rock music.
C’est dans la Poche (It’s In The Pocket ) is an enchanting introduction to theatre for very young children by Cie Jardins Insolites. Singer, songwriter and three-time Grammy winner Tom Chapin returns and will also tour to the Mall Theatre in Tuam; while Galway’s Moonfish Theatre invites you into a sinister world in bilingual show Tomluí Phinocchio (Pinocchio - A Nightmare ). Theater Lejo’s hit show Hands Up!, a sequence of short sketches using simple puppets, is guaranteed to have audiences laughing hysterically.
The introduction of the Festival’s Relaxed Programme features performances specifically for parents or teachers who may have concerns about bringing children to a public event. The programme aims to provide a comfortable and relaxed space for children to enjoy the show. This year there will be four performances in the Relaxed Programme, Dot, Paperbelle, Hands Up!, and Tom Chapin.
This year also sees the return of the Above and Beyond Award which recognises inspiring individuals, organisation, or communities that create opportunities for children to access the arts.
This year’s award goes to the creator of and the participants in Foxes and Donkeys, a documentary film inspired by the 1937 National School Collection. The story-gathering project, involving adults from St Brendan’s Nursing Home and children from St Brendan’s Boys’ School and St Ita’s Girls School in Loughrea, was developed and led by writer, director and actress Eileen Gibbons.
Free events at Baboró include The Exploratorium, a specially created temporary Festival Activity Centre featuring arts, technology, and science. This drop-in activity centre is open to families and schools and artist Róisín Coyle will create a unique space where children can explore their own creativity.
There will be a range of free activities from making creations with cardboard or recycled materials to computer programming original music without an instrument in sight. The centre will also run video footage of the ongoing environmental projects primary schools are participating in and report the progress they have made to date, as part of Baboró’s environment, arts, science, and technology project, BEAST! The project began two years ago, in collaboration with NUI Galway and key funders supporting intense engagement with primary school children.
Another significant free event features Pictiúr presented in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland and Galway Arts Centre. During Ireland’s 2013 EU Presidency the work of 21 leading Irish children’s book illustrators were showcased to international audiences and for the very first time in Ireland an exhibition of this work will be open to the public during Baboró until October 31 at Galway Arts Centre.
The exhibition comprises 42 artworks by 21 illustrators written in English and as Gaeilge. It is curated by Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey and features her work alongside that of PJ Lynch, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Oliver Jeffers, Oisín McGann, and others. Oisín McGann, author and illustrator of the Forbidden Files and Mad Grandad series, will also read at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Saturday October 19 and at the Pictiúr exhibition later that afternoon.
Commenting on the programme, Baboró’s artistic director Lali Morris stated: “There are so many amazing productions being created for young audiences that sometimes it is difficult to select the programme for Baboró. We have an exciting line-up this year from Europe, the US and not to mention three fabulous Irish productions. Anyone of these are a must see, even if you don’t have a child to accompany you.”