Owl and Pussycat launch RoolaBoola

Pictured at the official opening of The Owl and the Pussycat to launch RoolaBoola by artists Cathy Hack and Gráinne O’Reilly in the Linenhall Arts Centre; Castlebar, from left: Maura Connolly, administrator, Linenhall Arts Centre and her nephew Peter Northime, (Belfast); Con Naughton and Orla Henihan, arts access officer Linenhall Arts Centre. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Pictured at the official opening of The Owl and the Pussycat to launch RoolaBoola by artists Cathy Hack and Gráinne O’Reilly in the Linenhall Arts Centre; Castlebar, from left: Maura Connolly, administrator, Linenhall Arts Centre and her nephew Peter Northime, (Belfast); Con Naughton and Orla Henihan, arts access officer Linenhall Arts Centre. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Two of the best known newlyweds in literature arrived in town to launch this year’s RoolaBoola children’s arts festival at the Linenhall Arts Centre last Friday evening. No strangers to launching things, the Owl and the Pussycat docked their beautiful pea-green boat in Castlebar after a monumental journey back from the land where the Bong-tree grows, stopping off in Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, USA, Italy, Spain and Achill — we know, we’ve seen the postcards they’ve been sending to the Linenhall over the past weeks.

The two literary celebrities were given an enthusiastic welcome by a large number of excited young visitors to the Linenhall from schools in the area, as the fairytale characters became the focus for a charming exhibition based on Edward Lear’s much-loved poem, ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, which runs in the Linenhall for the month of October. The exhibition of prints, paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Mayo artists Gráinne O’Reilly and Cathy Hack also heralds the official launch of RoolaBoola, the Linenhall’s annual arts festival for young people: a week of shows, workshops, and more taking place from October 19 to 26, and culminating in three days of mayhem, fun, and entertainment with something for everyone over the October Bank Holiday weekend.

Celebrating its 12th birthday this year, RoolaBoola is offering a typically top-notch line-up of the very best of top-quality shows for young people, their families and the young at heart: Circo Ridiculoso’s surreal comedy Lighter Than Air; Spaghetti, a fun-packed mix of clowning and theatre with Denmark’s Theatergruppen Batida; The Musician, a spellbinding retelling of the Pied Piper by Cahoots theatre company; PigNut’s Ahhh!!, for the very young; Branar’s heartwarming puppet tale An Seanfhear Beag; From Ile-Ife to The Liffey, a live mix of Breton, Irish, and Nigerian live music; the visual night-time experience of The Magician’s Garden; and two of the finest animated short films of recent years, Lost and Found and Peter and the Wolf.

And there’s more. Twenty four arts workshops over the October Bank Holiday weekend offer hands-on experience in a wide variety of disciplines from drama to drumming, painting to puppet-making, and singing to samba. Plus a whole bunch of drop-in activities for those ‘in-between moments’ and the ever-popular RoolaBoola stories room. And of course there is a full schools’ programme (tickets still available ) running during the week to give young students a great arts experience.

So there’s RoolaBoola: a magical, fun-filled, brew for young people and the rest of the family too. Full programme details available in the vibrant RoolaBoola brochure, available to view on www.thelinenhall.com website or from the Linenhall Arts Centre.

(Please note: Pre-booking is essential for RoolaBoola shows and workshops. RoolaBoola booking office telephone 094 902 8886. )

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