Eighteen and loving it — Baboró

Baboró International Arts Festival will be celebrating a big birthday when it kicks off this weekend. It is 18 years since the first festival in 1997, and Baboró continues to create unforgettable moments of awe and wonder for children and families in Galway and beyond.

Looking back to 18 years ago, Artistic Director, Lali Morris recalls that, “the Festival started with the needs of the children and that is the absolute constant through everything we do.” Now that the festival has come of age, Baboró is inviting everyone to the party “bring yourself, bring a child. Please join us in celebrating this wonderful milestone in Baboró’s history.”

Every 18th birthday deserves an extra special surprise and starting this Saturday, October 11, Baboró kicks off with one of its highlights, Amococo. For the entire nine days of the Festival, the Spanish Arch will be reimagined with this spectacular inflatable structure.

Suitable for all ages from 0 – 100, Amococo invites you to enjoy a magical, one-of-a-kind sensory experience of light, colour, sound and design. Sponosored by Medtronic, and presented in partnership with Galway City Council, there will be a host of activity around the Spanish Arch throughout the festival.

During the Amococo experience, prepare to be entranced by the beauty of this amazing structure; the radiance of the daylight, transmitted through the colours of the luminarium, makes a direct impact on the senses – you may never want to leave! This is an experience at the Spanish Arch like you’ve never had before. It’s one for all the family – don’t miss it!

Festival organisers, Lali Morris and Teenagh Cunningham, are looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of those who’ve come to Baboró down through the years, and also invite newcomers to take part in the celebrations this year.

This year’s jam-packed programme has already proven to be very popular with lots of advance bookings for shows. For younger audiences there are still tickets available for a wonderful dance show especially made for young audiences - Flying Cow, from De Stilte in The Netherlands, is a real treat and full of fun and imagination (ages 4-8 ). The much loved Scottish puppeteer and regular visitor to Baboró, Shona Reppe, will lead the audience into a hidden world of wonder with her award-winning show, The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean (ages 7+ ), and Your Man’s Puppet’s will present The Musical Menagerie at The Mall Theatre, Tuam as part of ‘Baboró on Tour’; a toe-tapping musical journey with great puppets, loads of humour and a chance to sing along (ages 7+ ).

For a slightly older audience, there’s the USA’s Experiential Theater Company with something totally different - The Odysssey Experience offers a journey unlike any you’ve ever experienced before with dynamic actors pulling everyone into this theatrical story (ages 8+ ); The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy, from Australia’s Slingsby, and written by Finegan Kruckemeyer, touches down in Ireland after travelling all over the world and winning numerous awards (ages 9+ ). Closer to home, the Festival is delighted to welcome back Galway duo, The Gombeens, with their insightful Stories of a Yellow Town, which tells the true personal stories of the Brazilian and Irish people living in Gort, Co. Galway (ages 10+ ).

In addition, Baboró’s Talking About…. Series, will focus on the subject of ‘Training for Theatre in Ireland’. Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan, and Loughlin Deegan, Director of The Lir, Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art, at Trinity College Dublin will discuss new opportunities for students of theatre and how both organisations are responding to this need.

Free events

Running alongside a great programme of shows from home and abroad are a number of free events for everyone to enjoy. Baboró, in partnership with KBC Bank, present the Irish Premiere of a groundbreaking exhibition, ‘Citizens of the World, Now’ at the KBC Hub in Eyre Square. Inspired by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the exhibition presents 18 cultural principles illustrating the rights of all children, all over the world, to enjoy art and culture. This is a beautiful exhibition not to be missed.

Other free events include a Sea Science Exploration Zone at Galway City Museum, and next door in Ard Bia at Nimmos you can check out an exhibition from artist and children’s book illustrator, Kamila Slocinska.

The Festival’s Relaxed Programme will continue to feature performances specifically for parents or teachers who may have concerns about bringing children to a public event.

Full programme details are available at www.baboro.ie The Festival offers performances for both the general public and schools. Please note that the school performances are also open to the general public. Baboró runs from Saturday October 11 – to Sunday October 19.

Box Office Bookings, Town Hall Theatre, Galway on 091 569777 or book online at http://tht.ie or www.baboro.ie

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