The 21st Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is just around the corner and kicks off this Monday October 16. As we continue our Baboró Ambassador series, we meet Tracy Bruen.
One of my favourite Baboró memories is... bringing one of my class groups to see Under A Different Light in 2011. I work with pupils with special educational needs and the annual trip to a Baboró show is now the cornerstone of the start of each new school year. 2011 was my first year teaching in a special school and I was nervous about bringing my group - how would they cope with the large crowds? What about the darkened theatre? Would it be too loud or too bright? Would they experience a sensory overload? Would they be able to sit for the duration of the show? If not, how difficult would it be for them to leave? Would their need to vocalise, distract the performers or the other audience members? I needn’t have worried - long before we ever took our seats in the theatre, all of my fears had been abated by the dedicated Baboró team, who, taking all of my questions into account, chose the perfect show, in the ideal location for us. As I have now come to expect, the team of volunteers on the day were superb, escorting our group to our specially designated seats, allowing us to settle before all the other classes came in. No need was left unattended nor question left unanswered. The pupils adored it. Together with the pupils from all the other schools, they laughed, clapped and shouted all sharing in the magic of the Baboró theatre experience.
Baboró is important for Galway because it celebrates the young, and the young at heart. In catering for and attending to the differing needs of Galway’s young theatre goers, it ensures that no differences are felt under the Baboró roof - only joy, love, excitement and warmth. It is beautifully fitting that Galway city and county, with its vibrant and dynamic arts scene also has a dedicated arts festival for the young at its very heart; for indeed our city’s legacy lies in the hands of those who follow us.
I’m really looking forward to this year’s Baboró Festival because Tom Chapin is in town again! Many of our classes will take to the Town Hall Theatre this October to relive the joy-filled musical experience that Tom brings. I’m in awe of his music and his ability to keep a full theatre of young people utterly enthralled and entertained. The show I’m most excited for is What does Red do on a Thursday? in An Taibhdhearc. Having watched clips, I am already hooked on its use of paint, colour, music and sound to create a truly visually arresting piece.
Tracy Bruen is a teacher with St Joseph’s Special School in Galway, and a musician, winning Galway Advertiser’s Solo Artist of the year in 2015. She released her debut album Mirror in June 2017. Tracy also acts and directs with Fregoli Theatre Company, recently composing the original music for their production of You Could Be Us. Tracy has acted and toured with Decadent Theatre Company and Macnas and you can also find her hosting one of Ireland’s most successful Open Mics, together with Steven Sharpe, every Sunday evening in the Róisín Dubh.
Baboró International Arts Festival for Children starts this Monday October 16 and runs all week until Sunday October 22. See Baboro.ie for full details.