Theatre companies are gathering in force for the beginning of RoolaBoola Children’s Arts Festival, taking place all next week at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar and culminating in a weekend of fun and excitement for young people and their families over the October Bank Holiday. The annual festival kicks off in truly spellbinding style next Monday October 19 with The Musician, a darkly thrilling piece of musical theatre by Northern Ireland’s Cahoots, purveyors of world-class children’s theatre. The Musician is a new opera for children that tells the story of the child who became the best known flautist of them all… the Pied Piper.
Actor, writer, magician, conjuror, illusionist, and Cahoots’ Director Paul Mc Eneaney (who would seem to have all the right qualifications for his job! ) explains his love of making theatre for young people. “I get great joy from watching young audiences believe in the magic of theatre. Children, unlike most adults, don’t need to be convinced that anything can happen on a stage and therefore as an audience can be transported anywhere.”
The Musician is an exciting show full of atmosphere and visual surprises. A tale of a young boy and his enchanting musical powers, it is a highly imaginative retelling of the classic Pied Piper story, in a production full of magic, dance, narrative and superb live music, written by award-winning composer and musical dramatist Conor Mitchell. In true Halloween spirit, it tells a story directly inspired by classic children’s fairytales such as those of the Brothers Grimm. As Paul confirms, his goal is “to entertain and inspire the children and families in our audiences with work that represents the best of children’s theatre both here and internationally.” The Musician certainly fits that bill. Suitable for ages of nine years and over, the only public performance of The Musician takes place at 8pm on Monday October 19. Prepare for chills and thrills!
As a complete contrast, how about a comically offbeat show based around a pot of pasta that gets cooked right there on stage? Then look no further than Spaghetti, a heart-warming show by Teatergruppen Batida.
Batida is a Danish theatre company that has been delivering top children’s theatre since 1985. “We have travelled the world, bridging cultural differences through a wealth of theatrical exchange”, they say, and have performed internationally in over 20 countries. The busy and innovative company has developed its own style in which words, music and movement create clear, often humorous and grotesque images and stories “that delve into life’s great questions” - but with a light touch. ”We perform for the vivacious and the curious”, they say with great enthusiasm.
The plot for Batida’s latest show? Two lanky lads get busy cooking the aforementioned repast but discover that their short, rotund neighbour wants to join in the feast. Spaghetti is a fun-packed mix of clowning, theatre and live music written by Søren Ovesen, a charming, heart-warming story about irreconcilable opposites that manage to see eye to eye in the face of all obstacles. Suitable for ages of four years and up, the public performance of Spaghetti takes place at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Wednesday October 21 at 8pm.
Full programme details available in the 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 Tel: 094 9028886. )