One of my favourite Baboró memories is a surprise flash-mob performed by 16 children to “Thriller” in Seapoint during the Silent Disco in 2012. The ever persuasive Teenagh Cunningham and Lali Morris convinced my husband, Kenneth Kennedy, and I, that this was exactly what Baboró needed to round off the festival. So having only two sons ourselves, we cajoled friends and relations to lend us their children to make up a troop of monsters, vampires, ghastly elves and ghouls to take to the floor and entertain the masses. Even now, I’m not sure how we were talked into it, but seeing these kids, many of whom had never danced or performed before, come alive as performers, proved just how essential the creative arts are to young minds and lives. Baboró, a fantastic and fun festival for and about children, encourages creative thinking and provides access to the arts for children regardless of any economic, social, cultural status. This is why Galway Water and Clada Group has been delighted to be involved with the Culture for Schools programme with Baboró since 2014.
I think Baboró is an important festival for Galway because it affords children the opportunity to engage in great cultural activities on our own doorsteps – the programme of events travels to many locations around the city and also Clifden Station House Theatre. As a festival, Baboró encourages creative thinking from an early age, inspiring children to engage with the world around them through the arts. The call to arms for corporate sponsors this year asks us to be passionate about our community and take on the mantle of Hero or Superhero – without having to wear a cape! So why not do something epically heroic and introduce more children to the arts through sponsorship of the festival?
I’m really looking forward to this year’s Baboró Festival because of the return of Theatre Lovett and their production - intriguingly entitled “A Feast for Bones”. Set under the twinkling lights of a charming French cafe, in the shadows of the First World War, a waitress sits polishing her knives while one cunning customer is about to be served a meal he will never forget. A deliciously dark retelling of Henny Penny, the magical way in which this troop mingle slapstick, song and theatricality, I think that audiences young and not so young are going to be wined and dined by this production. Even the programme is a menu!
All children have the right to access culture and Baboró has the unique remit of providing that access. My wish for Baboró over the coming years and under the leadership of Jennifer Ahern and Aislinn Ó hEocha, is that they continue in bring even more magic into the lives of the children of Galway city and county.
Ursula Owens is a Director of the family run Clada Group Ltd. , a mom, a theatre enthusiast and for this year a Baboró Super Hero [minus the cape of course!]