Baboró International Arts Festival for Children has announced its full programme details for the 24th annual festival, taking place from Monday 5 until Sunday 18 October.
Galway-based Baboró is Ireland’s international arts festival devoted exclusively to young audiences, their families and schools – and this year’s innovative programme won’t disappoint.
It will feature live performances, visual art installations and interactive digital experiences to children, their friends and families over an extended two week period.
Festival highlights include live performances of Birdboy by United Fall, Paul Noonan’s The Electric Kazoo, The Dig by Paul Curley and Bewley’s Café Theatre’s Wilde Garden Adventures.
An emphasis has been placed on live performances for children with additional needs with two of the country’s most celebrated artists working in this area, Phillida Eves and Anna Newell, adapting shows to safely meet this important audience in outdoor spaces.
Local artist Jojo Hynes has created a stunning body of work inspired by the myth and mystery of once-revered female water deities from across the world.
Artists across Ireland and the world have innovated to create interactive online performances to be enjoyed in your living room or classroom, including Cahoots NI who have created an entirely new way of presenting theatre in The University of Wonder and Imagination.
Children and young people will be celebrated as artists in their own right as Symphonic Waves and The Barceló Brothers bring two unique concerts to stages across Galway. So, no matter your taste, there’s plenty to choose from at Baboró this year.
Speaking about this year’s programme, Aislinn Ó hEocha, Executive Artistic Director, said: “This year’s festival acknowledges the bravery of our incredible children who have journeyed with us through this bizarre time.
“Together with our generous partners, supporters and artistic community, we have worked to create a programme that recognises how vital our young people are to our communities, how healing the arts can be and how creativity can help us all to make some sense of this world.
Baboró will be an opportunity for families to celebrate together, to find creative expression for the upheaval of the past few months and most importantly, to have fun!”
Paul Noonan Presents: The Electric Kazoo is a live event from the acclaimed frontman of Bell X1, premiering this autumn.
Audiences are invited to bring their best teddy and favourite grown-ups along to this mini-concert for both big and little ears to hear tunes made with the help of children, treasured stories made into songs, as well as experiencing all the hits.
In A Piece of You, award-winning Scottish composer and cellist Greg Sinclair will be offering private concerts for families, creating and performing music inspired by the audience members’ own thoughts and feelings.
This live, intimate and interactive experience will offer a unique opportunity to co-create a bespoke piece of music, all about you.
In Symphonic Waves – Meet the Strings! 14 members of the string section of Symphonic Waves Youth Orchestra will offer a veritable feast of some of the greatest music for string orchestra in an interactive, informative and fun concert specially designed for children and their families.
The Barceló Brothers is a vibrant band that dives into the explosive and electric sounds of Zydeco Music, Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Funk, and brings them back to their home at the banks of Lough Corrib.
Comprising of two young brothers and their father, they will be singing their own heartful songs infused with instrumental virtuosity, impromptu dance moves and a contagious ‘joie de vivre’.
Paul Curley performs The Dig, a heart-warming tale about archaeologist Mac and his Grandmother, with live shows for children aged 6+ at the Mick Lally Theatre.
Performer and writer Paul Curley is amongst Ireland’s most experienced theatre artists for young audiences.
The Dig is his second collaboration with designer Ger Clancy, and follows their first co-creation Bake! which played all across Ireland as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Bewley’s Café Theatre has been delighting families in gardens around the country since May with Wilde Garden Adventures, a presentation of two of Oscar Wilde’s best loved stories – Michael James Ford’s acclaimed version of The Happy Prince alongside a new production of The Selfish Giant co-starring actress Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and three charming puppet children.
Both shows are accompanied by the music of Prokofiev and Saint-Saëns performed by violinist, Philip Dodd.
Mountain Goat Mountain from Australian theatre company Threshold is an invitation to a magical place, a chance to explore tunnels, lava pits and underwater caves without ever leaving your home.
Mountain Goat Mountain is an audio-led theatre experience for families to enjoy together, with guided activities that help families set up and step into their own shared imaginative world.
Mountain Goat Mountain has been made specifically for this time, created during ‘lockdown’ with artists collaborating entirely over Zoom, and designed to build a framework to empower families to build their own theatrical world.
The University of Wonder & Imagination will be broadcast live into homes and schools from Cahoots NI’s purpose-built set in Belfast.
The mysterious Professor Bamberg will send participants on a self-navigated quest where nothing is quite as it seems, to interact with the liveliest of lecturers, enter themed rooms and encounter all kinds of problems and puzzles, unlocking their magical powers as they go.
This brand new type of event will be directed by its audience, with their choices shaping their unique experiences, and is presented by Cahoots NI, who are at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and the leading professional theatre company producing work for children in NI.
Birdboy from United Fall and choreographer Emma Martin is one the festival’s highlight live events.
Full of fun and sorrow, this kaleidoscopic show tells the story of a boy who wished he was a bird, so he could fly away and be free of all his worries. Celebrating the power of imagination, Birdboy offers a vision of hope and connection from this award-winning dance theatre company.
Emma Martin will be familiar to Galway audiences from her opera directing debut, in a co-production with Irish National Opera, of Orfeo ed Euridice (Galway International Arts Festival 2018) and her work in Arlington (Galway International Arts Festival 2016.)
Jojo Hynes’ exhibition She Crashes In and Fizzles Out at Galway Arts Centre will explore the myth and mystery of once-revered female water deities from across the world.
Film, sound, painting and drawing will offer the opportunity to be immersed in the magic and mysteries beneath the surfaces of rivers and seas. Exhibiting also are young artists who took part in virtual workshops facilitated by Jojo during Cruinniú na nÓg Galway.
They have invented their own new myths about their locality and from these have manifested artworks surrounding these stories. Jojo will also lead live workshops at Galway Arts Centre.
These Local Legends Laboratories will take inspiration from local stories and waterways to devise new myths and legends, using physical theatre and improvised storytelling activities to create fantastic new fables to share with family and friends.
Look out for colourful art installations made by families in parks around Galway City as part of Colour My Life: Brighten Your Day.
You’re invited to join Toodlelou art activities at home, online, throughout Galway City or wherever you are in the world.
They will be making a colourful rock garden full of painted rocks; hanging messages in a wishing tree; and creating art in the park with materials found in nature.
Toodlelou encourages children to make art at home and then put it on display for their whole community to enjoy, using colour and encouraging messages to brighten people’s days, both around the city and around the world though online channels.
FOR CHILDREN WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS
Sing Me to the Sea is an intimate magical watery adventure for children with Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulties and their families.
This interactive theatre experience is from theatre director Anna Newell, whose work together has been seen on 6 continents in collaboration, with composer David Goodall.
Sing Me to the Sea was originally made for hydropools but the dryland version has toured successfully to driveways and doorsteps around the country in recent months.
In Galway it will play for families and school children in the beautiful gardens of The Ardilaun Hotel.
In Brigit’s Garden, Phillida Eves invites families with young children with additional educational needs to Go Wild with Art in a multi-sensory art experience taking inspiration from the beautiful gardens.
For children on the autistic spectrum, with learning disabilities or with sensory needs Phillida will present Hear Our Voice!, an intimate, interactive theatrical experience with live music and multi-sensory fun that re-creates the experience of camping under the stars.
Scéalta ó Baboró is a series of readings for young children by Irish authors broadcast on TG4.
The readings will be filmed at iconic spots around Galway in a collaboration between Baboró and TG4, bringing a sense of the festival into homes around the country. Scéalta ó Baboró will be broadcast the week of the 12th of October on Cúla4 Ar Scoil.
Children’s Books Ireland will host a series of their incredibly popular Book Clinic sessions online.
This is a chance for young readers who are looking for a new series to delve into to have a consultation with an expert “Book Doctor” over Zoom and get a prescription for their next book to take to their local bookshop or library.
SNEAK PEEKS: WORKS IN PROGRESS
Bombinate Theatre, the award-winning creators of Half Light and Susie and the Story Shredder, will present a joyful new work Goodnight Egg, which is in the final stages of its development. Live performances in the Mick Lally Theatre will offer audiences aged 3-6 an early chance to see this new production, all about how hard it can be to get to sleep.
Meet Luke is a hilarious, moving and interactive piece from infamous man about town Luke, Mairéad Folan’s mobility aid.
Sick of being uncredited as a supporting actor, and not seeing members of his community as lead characters, this production tells the stories of Luke’s journey through life, from surviving the Irish educational system to the perils of dating. It also questions how we perceive ourselves and others.
Baboró’s mission is to inspire children to engage with the world through their experience of the creative arts, and the festival is grateful for the support of its family of funders, sponsors, donors and partners who, more than ever, have made it possible to deliver on this mission.
This year’s festival is supported by Medtronic, TG4, The Ombudsman for Children’s Office, and the businesses and venues of Galway City. Baboró is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland and Galway City and County Councils.